September 10, 2016

"Isn't there some classic rule, 'Underboob or underbutt, not both'?"

From the comments, here.

"'In a series of swing-state appearances this week, Mr. Clinton unleashed an impassioned self-defense, by turns sarcastic and almost pleading.'"

"Sarcasm and pleading: The twin keys to electoral success!"

ADDED: The quote in the headline is from the NYT, and the line below that is Instapundit. And now, let's think about sarcasm — who uses it and who gets credit for it and from whom. Let's remember that just a few weeks ago Donald Trump not only used sarcasm, he got treated as if he'd just said something incorrect, and then when he was criticized for that, he came out and explained it, saying it was "sarcasm," and even after that his critics couldn't accept it. So it's very funny to see Bill Clinton's speech puffed and promoted by the NYT calling it sarcasm.

To refresh your recollection: Trump had called Hillary and Obama the "founders" of ISIS. When some people purported to think he was just wrong, he tweeted: "Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) 'the founder' of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON'T GET SARCASM?" And his critics acted like they couldn't understand the explanation. For example, Josh Marshall said: "This is not the first time Trump backers have tried to write off one of the candidate's inflammatory comments as a joke."

Who was that woman in a Playboy T-shirt clamped in a 4-way embrace for the camera with Bill Clinton and Donald and Melania Trump?

That was Kylie Bax, a swimsuit model, in that breasty, chesty photo from September 2000.
"Unbelievable that im now a 'random woman', no one was random in that Tennis Suite/corp box," Bax wrote.... Bax said she recalled Clinton dropping by Trump's box at Flushing Meadows. “I actually think Bill was in another box and he came by to say hello to Donald," she said. "Melania is also a friend and we all went to tennis together and had a great day ... Donald was always a good host and close friend. And his wife Melania is equally as kind."...

In interviews last month, the New Zealand native said she would vote for Trump if she could. "It may be scary for people to think of him as being the President, but I think he will do an outstanding job," Bax told Fairfax Media. "He'd take his friends to the tennis, for example, the US Open - he had a box there....When we'd go through Spanish Harlem or one of the poorer areas, if anyone recognized him they'd all yell, wave. They love him. The poorer communities are very supportive of him."
The Clinton Presidential Library released a set of pictures of Bill with Trump. There's this one too:

Somehow the funniest thing in that picture — to me — is Bill Clinton's left hand. It's hard being a man, isn't it?

AND: Meade found something funnier in that second picture: the white circular mark on Bill's shirt right that seems to be right where Melania's breast was -- an imprint or impression of some kind.

"The reason men resort to the ‘nuts and sluts’ defense is because it may be the only way to undermine the credibility of a woman who is not, in fact, telling the truth."

Said Susan Estrich, defending Bill Clinton in 1998. Estrich — a prominent lawprof politico — had herself coined the term "nuts and sluts" back in 1991 to characterize attacks on the woman who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Estrich is now defending Roger Ailes. Does that add up?

Here's Alessandra Stanley in the NYT with "The Curious Case of Susan Estrich":
For many years, Ms. Estrich was a lively liberal commentator on Fox News... Ms. Estrich described Mr. Ailes...  as a close friend.

“In the 18 years I was at Fox News, Roger has never told me what to say, what to do or what to wear,” Ms. Estrich said. “He kept me on the payroll for seven months when I was too sick to work.”...

Ms. Estrich, a partner in the Los Angeles office of the litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, said that she first heard the allegations against Mr. Ailes on her return from London, and that by the time she got to her apartment there were 10 messages from her old friend on her home voice mail. She didn’t hesitate to take the case, aware that some feminists say that she sold out.

“It is painful, but at the same time I am a lawyer: Once she takes on a case she stands by her client,” Ms. Estrich said in a phone interview. “Roger needs someone to help him through this extremely difficult process. The last thing any client needs is a lawyer sitting in judgment.”
She's a lawyer. A lawyer and a politico and a media personality and a feminist. It's hard doing all these things. But when you do them all, you lose the ability to leverage your status as a feminist to vouch for somebody. If you want to stand aloof from the fray so you can palm off your judgments as cruelly neutral, you can try to do that. It's a different kind of life. Nothing really "curious" about these choices.

Maybe I shouldn't be putting off buying a new car in the hope that there's about to be a self-driving car.

"In a retrenchment of one of its most ambitious initiatives, Apple has shuttered parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees, according to three people briefed on the move who were not allowed to speak about it publicly."

"At Brown, we were taught 'Assume good intent, name impact, own impact.'"

"So if someone says something offensive, assume they didn’t mean it, tell the person the impact the words had on you, and then the person who said the offensive thing needs to own the impact they had even if it wasn’t their intention."

Video of Sonia Sotomayor's appearance at the University of Wisconsin Law School.


Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters a "basket of deplorables."

"To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the 'basket of deplorables'. Unfortunately there are people like that, and he has lifted them up."

Half of them. Just half of them. And some, I assume, are good people. (The italicized words should be familiar. If not, here.)

By the way, is a basket of deplorables anything like a binder full of women?

ADDED: Why "basket"? Because of "basket case"? From the (unlinkable) OED, "basket case" originally referred to soldiers in WWI who had lost both arms and both legs. (A 1919 U.S. government bulletin said: "The Surgeon General of the Army... denies... that there is any foundation for the stories that have been circulated... of the existence of ‘basket cases’ in our hospitals.") Later, it had come to be used quite casually to refer to mental breakdown caused by stress, like this, from 1953: "By New Year's, 1935, after three months in the new house, I realized I'd wind up a basket case if I didn't take a vacation."

AND: As long as I'm in the OED, "Deplorable" means "To be deplored or lamented; lamentable, very sad, grievous, miserable, wretched." I've noticed that "sad" is getting used a lot in this year's political discourse. Trump uses it. It's very tweetable, being only 3 characters long. But "deplorable" is a good word for speech. It makes you seem lofty, which is good for looking down on people. To "deplore" is, according to the OED, "To weep for, bewail, lament; to grieve over, regret deeply." But in speech these days, it's used quite casually. You don't really need to be wailing and weeping. It's more just frowning imperiously. That's how I see it.

I did a search of my blog archive for "deplorable." I think I've only called something "deplorable" 3 times in the 12 years of this blog: 1. "resistance to the workings of the criminal trial ," 2. some political attack ads, and 3. the "'wall of text' approach to argumentation."

It's not really one of my words. And I've never used it, even as an adjective, to refer to a person, as in "X is deplorable." Hillary used it as a noun. To call a person "a deplorable" is dehumanizing. We should just be grieving over these people, our fellow Americans.


September 9, 2016

"Ohio police have released a graphic photo of a couple overdosing on heroin with a four-year-old boy in the car."

"We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess. This child can't speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody."

"Democrats wonder and worry: Why isn’t Clinton far ahead of Trump?"

Headline at The Washington Post for a piece by by Anne Gearan, Jenna Johnson and John Wagner.
With Election Day less than two months away, Democrats are increasingly worried that Hillary Clinton has not built a formidable lead against Donald Trump despite his historic weaknesses as a national party candidate.

Even the Democratic nominee’s advisers acknowledge that she must make changes, and quickly....
Panic. What to do?
One new goal for Clinton now, aides said, is to spend more time trying to connect directly with voters by sharing a more personal side of herself....
That's a "new goal"? That's exactly what she purported to be doing when she announced her candidacy in spring 2015. I don't think there is a more personal side.
Some changes in Clinton’s operation are already in evidence on the campaign trail. Among them: More interaction with the press; a series of policy speeches that Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, said are “more about her than about him;” and a shift back toward positive messages in television advertising and efforts to present positive elements of her biography elsewhere.
It must be utterly confounding that attacking Trump doesn't work.
Clinton also played to the cameras and showed a flash of irreverent humor Friday... “Every day that goes by, this just becomes more of a reality television show,” she said. “It’s not a serious presidential campaign. And it is beyond one’s imagination to have a candidate for president praising a Russian autocrat like Vladimir Putin and throwing his lot in with him,” Clinton said.
Well, that is attacking Trump. And what bad luck to do it like that on the very day when the Obama administration is announcing that it is throwing its lot in with Russia on Syria.

"The View from Trump Tower."

A nice cartoon riff on the famous Steinberg New Yorker cover — by Tom the Dancing Bug.

What's wrong with a uniform rule at Facebook banning all photographs of naked children?

If you make one exception...
“An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our community standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography,” Facebook said in a statement on Friday. “In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.”
So the political use of a child is what gets the exception? I have a particular problem with the use of children in politics, and I see the value of general rules with no exceptions. But here, submitting to pressure, Facebook has made ONE exception. The picture is so famous. It was powerful in its political effect. And this one particular naked girl — in her helpless suffering, with no consent to being seen naked — has been displayed to the world, to millions, for decades. She's the one naked child who must be seen again and again, damn the general rules, because her suffering speaks again for the purposes of a Facebooker who has found one more occasion to use her.

And I'm saying this as someone who has repeatedly stressed the importance of Facebook respecting freedom of expression.

New Yorker article about a female piano prodigy keeps talking about her sexy clothes...

... and I'm listening to the audiobook version, which is narrated by a male. It feels so awful to me, stuff like this...
What is one to think of the clothes the twenty-nine-year-old pianist Yuja Wang wears when she performs—extremely short and tight dresses that ride up as she plays, so that she has to tug at them when she has a free hand, or clinging backless gowns that give an impression of near-nakedness (accompanied in all cases by four-inch-high stiletto heels)?...

"You're not supposed to give any credit to Trump, he's supposed to be crazy, but..."

ADDED: Here's the post back in January where I prod Glenn Loury with the suggestion that he is, secretly, a Trump supporter.

Questions I wasn't asking.

"Why Are People Snorting Raw Chocolate at European Clubs?"

Um, how the hell do you know?

"Does body language really give Trump insight into intelligence operatives’ thoughts? Um, no."

Says WaPo's Peter W. Stevenson, using the infuriating — and taboo on some websites — intro "Um."
When NBC's Matt Lauer asked Donald Trump on Wednesday night about the classified intelligence briefings he now receives as a major-party candidate for president, Trump was careful not to divulge anything he's learned so far. But he did say he learned one thing that surprised him: That the intelligence officials briefing him "were not happy" because "our leaders did not follow what they were recommending."

How did Trump come to that conclusion? By reading the body language of those intelligence officials.

"You know, I'm pretty good with the body language," he assured the audience. Um, what?
Um, consider the possibility that you are the stupid one. Oh, the supercilious elite! How about trying to understand why Trump has been successful? Do you really think people don't have aptitude — varying aptitude — for reading other people and knowing what they are really thinking?

Do some people pick out clothing with a state of mind that's like the way other people pick out a pet?

"Dramatic and larger than life in exceptionally fluffy faux fur, this whimsical, oversize coat expresses the beautiful oddness of the Spring 2015 Collection."

If I were looking for something exceptionally fluffy to express beautiful oddness, I'd be shopping for a dog.

"I want to get the conversation away from my sexuality, and I hope that by the end of the year that will be the conversation we are having."

"I think other people tend to focus on it, but it is one small part of who I am and the work that I do. It is just as important for people to realize I am not one dimensional."

Said the lesbian Miss America contestant, Miss Missouri, Erin O'Flaherty.

I completely agree with the sentiment in that quote, and I want to confess that when I chose to blog it and copied it, I was under the delusion of having misread it as: I want to get the conversation to be about my sexuality, and I hope that by the end of the year that will be the conversation we are having.

I thought that idea — that idea that arose only in my own mind — was terrible.

Wrecking the duckbill.

"A six-second clip posted online shows three men jostling the precarious rock sandstone pedestal, known locally as 'the duckbill,' which it resembles. Someone, apparently a witness, swears at what he sees; the rock tumbles to the ground with a thud; someone else screams, 'Got him!'... After the rock fell, [the video-maker] and his friends confronted the group. The group apparently felt they were doing a public service: A friend had broken a leg on the formation; it was a safety hazard, they said."

Link to NYT.

"Nobody likes you, Politifact."

I'm recording a Bloggingheads episode soon (with Bob Wright). He wants to talk to me about Trump.

I really don't want to be on the receiving end of a bill of particulars about Trump. I'm at my worst when I'm bored.

"If Donald Trump had made Gary Johnson's Aleppo gaffe, he would have said it's just an 'Arab name.'"

Says John Althouse Cohen, presenting this clip...

... which I watched and then said:
Are we supposed to know the names of the current leaders of ISIS? I only notice these names when I read the news that we killed one. Well, now that one's gone, so I can forget that name. I guess there's another that I'll hear about when I read he was important and now he's dead. This has gone on for so many years.
That is, Trump says things ordinary people think:
"Hugh was giving me name after name—Arab name, Arab name, Arab—and there are few people anywhere, ANYWHERE, that would have known those names. I think he was reading them off a sheet."
My chief resistance to Trump is that he's so weird, but one way that he's weird is that he's ordinary.

"My favorite view was looking at Nino making faces. I try not to emulate him, but, I must say, it was fun to watch."

"Or the big smile that would come before he was going to lay into a lawyer."

Said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, speaking at the University of Wisconsin yesterday. She said Justice Scalia's death left "a big hole in the court."

I chose not to attend. Why? Because there were limited tickets available, and I wanted to allow one more person to have the opportunity to experience something that might be very exciting and inspiring for them.

ADDED: From the AP report:
She said her experiences as a Hispanic and a woman are only pieces of her thinking when she considers cases. She said she considers herself a human being first and "there isn't one piece of me that takes control in judicial decision-making."

She lamented that people see the court as a mystery, saying that if they understood that the justices are human beings with experiences and backgrounds and a passion for the law it would help change the perception of the court as a "distant and unknowable institution."
Here's the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report. And here's the Badger Herald:
Sotomayor said she has always tried to be a “citizen lawyer” and understand that someone’s win is also someone else’s loss.

“Never forget that justice has a price,” Sotomayor said. “Whenever you’re happy about one of the outcomes think about the other side.”

September 8, 2016

I finally got a chance to watch the whole Commander-in-Chief forum.

Here's the full video:

Trump won the coin flip and got to choose to go second. Matt Lauer offered a ground rule, that neither candidate should use his/her time to attack the other. Clinton broke the rule in the end, and Lauer called attention to that, both to Hillary and at the beginning of Trump's turn. She was a fool to open the door, and Trump walked right through it.

Lauer was harder on Trump, interrupting and getting harsh with him. But Trump didn't let that faze him, and compared to Hillary, who was ploddingly severe and robotic, he was very good.

50 years ago today: The TV show "Star Trek" premiered.

Lots of tributes and memories around the web today — links collected here.

I was extremely interested in new TV shows in 1966, but this one didn't reach me. I was more of a "Twilight Zone" person. I was up for science fiction, but I wanted more interesting ideas, more mysterious phenomena, not campy adventure. To see the same cast of characters in their tight-fitting outfits might have worked on me if I'd perceived Kirk or Spock as virtual boyfriends. But they were not. Too old. And their hair was too short. For cute boys, I was watching "The Monkees."

Here are the TV listings from half a century ago. "Twilight Zone" wasn't on anymore, but "The Monkees" were. I know I gave "Star Trek" a chance, but can see that it had to compete with "Bewitched." I'm sure I watched "Bewitched" (and "That Girl"). I'd still choose "Bewitched" over "Star Trek" if I had to watch one of them right now.

Was Hillary wearing an earpiece at the Commander-in-Chief forum last night?

It looks so in this photograph.

But be careful. I once thought I saw an earpiece in Obama's ear during a debate — and I posted my own screen shot here — but I was wrong.


You've got to look at different shots and angles. Why would she wear something visible? Unlike men, women can completely cover their ears, and an earpiece can be made invisible.

Oh, Gary.

The dream is over.

Gary said "What's Aleppo?"
Mr. Johnson expressed disappointment about the lapse in a brief follow-up interview that was broadcast on MSNBC and canceled some of his other scheduled interviews planned for later in the day.

“I’m incredibly frustrated with myself,” he said. “I have to get smarter and that’s just part of the process.”
I've watched Gary Johnson in a number of debates and consider him famous for saying "I don't know." In the past, I've been able to admire him for that. But now... I don't know.

Insane carbon-footprint hypocrisy on Midway Atoll.

It took 3 NYT reporters to write this love letter to Obama's dedication to climate change not to see the problem. The opening paragraph is the height of absurdity:
Seventy-four years ago, a naval battle off this remote spit of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean changed the course of World War II. Last week, President Obama flew here to swim with Hawaiian monk seals and draw attention to a quieter war — one he has waged against rising seas, freakish storms, deadly droughts and other symptoms of a planet choking on its own fumes.
I'm imagining the writers — Julie Hirshfeld Davis, Mark Landler, and Coral Davenport — believed they'd constructed a perfectly beautiful and not at all risible sentence. And, by the way, I love the name Coral Davenport, especially in the presence of an atoll...

... to the point where I'm almost ready to forgive. But I can't. The Hawaiian monk seals are just too much. "President Obama flew here to swim with Hawaiian monk seals...." Obama didn't flap his own personal wings. He flew in an immense fossil-fuel-guzzling jet plane. Just for a backdrop and another vacation — a luxury jaunt of a kind none of us even dreams of. You may go to Florida and swim dolphins, you peasant, but he went to Midway and swam with Hawaiian monk seals.

Did he literally swim with them? These are endangered animals, not tourist toys. But perhaps if only Obama swims with them, it's okay. It's an honor for them, swimming with the President of the United States. Maybe he just went swimming in what is known to be the endangered mammals' habitat —
if you read on you'll see that he was expanding the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument — and the NYT writers threw the seals into their purple-prose sentence to warm things up for readers who love animals. We love those animals. Aw. Seals. And these are very special seals. Obama seals.

How can Obama expect to convince us that we must cut back carbon emissions — make real sacrifices in our little lives — when he emits like mad even when he's trying to alarm us about climate change? It's not merely hypocrisy, it's insanity. How can you expect us to believe when you make a vivid, extravagant show that you yourself do not believe?

But maybe you didn't notice the carbon emissions problem with that sentence because you were distracted by the comparison between Obama's "war" and the Battle of Midway.

"Lauer’s attempt to press Trump was the completely ineffectual technique of asking repeatedly if he is ready to serve as commander-in-chief."

Writes Jonathan Chait in a column titled "Matt Lauer’s Pathetic Interview of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Is the Scariest Thing I’ve Seen in This Campaign."
Lauer probably believes the answer is no, but nothing about this question would drive home Trump’s extraordinary lack of knowledge. Instead it allowed him to performatively demonstrate his confident, alpha-male reality show character as a prospective chief executive.
I think Lauer thinks he has what it takes to performatively demonstrate his confident, alpha-male TV show character. I've only watched clips from the forum, and I found it off-putting, because Lauer was so disrespectful — interrupting and bullying — and the difference in how he treated Trump and Hillary makes his lack of professional journalistic gravitas glare.

Why did he decided to act that way instead of adopting a neutral demeanor and working through serious, substantive questions that would expose Trump's limitations? Maybe:

1. Lauer doesn't have the wit and heft to play the role of serious journalist on TV.

2. Lauer genuinely believed he could win a round of that old TV game show "Quien Es Mas Macho?"

September 7, 2016

"Here’s What You Missed in the Presidential Forum."

Hey, you're right.

I did miss it. Despite monitoring the news continually, I did not notice there was an event to be watched on NBC tonight. I guess it wasn't different from other TV interviews except that one candidate appeared right after the other. The moderator was Matt Lauer.

Based on the above-linked article (in the NYT), nothing new and notable was said.

"Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed, but at the same time..."

"... they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways, there is no difference."

Said Bob Dylan, making a 26-foot-by-15-foot gate for the MGM National Harbor hotel and casino.

I believe gates come up 5 times in Bob Dylan lyrics. I like them all, but I'll rank them because I know you like rankings, they let the opinions enter and flow and in the end, there's really no difference:

5. "My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums/Should I leave them by your gate/Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?"

4. "There are thousands in the phone booth/Thousands at the gate/Ev’rybody wants to make a long-distance call/But you know they’re just gonna have to wait."

3. "Relationships of ownership/They whisper in the wings/To those condemned to act accordingly/And wait for succeeding kings/And I try to harmonize with songs/The lonesome sparrow sings/There are no kings inside the Gates of Eden."

2. "Well, your clock is gonna stop/At Saint Peter’s gate/Ya gonna ask him what time it is/He’s gonna say, 'It’s too late'/Hey, hey!/I’d sure hate to be you/On that dreadful day."

1. "While preachers preach of evil fates/Teachers teach that knowledge waits/Can lead to hundred-dollar plates/Goodness hides behind its gates/But even the president of the United States/Sometimes must have to stand naked."

IN THE COMMENTS: Mel brings up "Absolutely Sweet Marie," which the search function chez Dylan failed to dig up. The song begins:
Well, your railroad gate, you know I just can’t jump it
Sometimes it gets so hard, you see
I’m just sitting here beating on my trumpet
With all these promises you left for me
But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?
Where would I have put that in the rankings? I think #6, because what kind of railroad gate does Marie have anyway? A chastity belt? I assume "beating on my trumpet" is Bob Dylan masturbating. How could you not? That's easy, easier than Arabian drums in song #5, and I once got into a long discussion of the phrase "My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums," much of which was premised on the way, in the recording, it sounds like "My warehouse ass." Carry on!

"It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone – Commerce, Education and the um, what’s the third one there?"

The department that Rick Perry forgot — in his infamous "oops" moment — was Energy.

I'm thinking of this today because Donald Trump might be going after the same 3:
At a private meeting of conservatives in Cleveland this summer, Donald Trump’s senior economic adviser, Stephen Moore, said the candidate planned to pay for his costly proposals by eliminating the departments of Commerce, Energy and Education.... Together, these agencies employ an estimated 150,000 people, and they oversee things ranging from nuclear security to federal student loans to the U.S. patent system.

“I’m going to press as hard as possible to [eliminate the agencies],” Moore said. “We’re putting a budget together right now that is going to not only pay for the tax cut, but balance the budget in six or seven years. And to do that, you’ve got to make very significant cuts in those kinds of programs.

“I mean, my God, why do we need an Energy Department?” Moore asked, semi-exasperated. “All the Energy Department has done in the last 25 years is make energy prices more expensive!”

In an interview Friday, Moore said he has spoken to Trump about eliminating the Energy Department. “I don’t know if he’d shut it down, but there’s a good chance the energy subsidies are going to be on the chopping block. I haven’t talked to him about the Education Department, so I was speaking for myself. As for Commerce, I call it the department of corporate welfare, and I know Trump has been specific about ending the crony corporate welfare systems.”
(Via Instapundit.)


From out of nowhere.

"Bend It!"

Thinking about Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich this morning.

Bend it!

It's a dance! And look at their pants!

That was 1966 — September, half a century ago.

Oddly enough, this post did not grow out of looking back to 1966 2 posts down. It grew out of the previous post, about the recognition of the 6th taste, "Starchy." If anyone can guess my train of thought, which involved some conversation with Meade, I will give you the official Althouse blog prize known as "front-paging."

A 6th taste joins the group that became 5 when "umami" got official recognition.

The new one is — I am not kidding — "starchy."

If you'd told me, before today, that a familiar group has acquired a new member called "starchy," I might have guessed The 7 Dwarves. He's a little man who is stiff, unbending, conventional, formal, prim, and stuck-up.

But no. Starchy is not a cartoon character. It's just a taste. Feel free to say, quite seriously, "Mmm. Tastes starchy!"

"The fury of a guilty person who, short of argument, is talking nonsense."

50 years ago today:

"If we stop FGM, we will need strong men and we don't have men of that sort."

"He said it was therefore better for women to undergo FGM 'to reduce a woman's sexual appetite' - an act, he argued, that would encourage women to 'stand by their man.'"

The words of an Egyptian politician named Elhamy Agina, as reported and (I think) translated by a website called Egyptian Street. Even if he said it — and, obviously, it's a horrible thing to say — I find it hard to credit the translation with the phrase "stand by their man," which I think only came into common parlance through the Tammy Wynette song, "Stand By Your Man." And yet the phrase from the song was virulently propagated — criticized by feminists, scorned by Hillary Clinton — so maybe it took root in Egypt to the point where it could be part of everyday political chatter.

Chipotle desperately tweets "How many burritos?" with the possible answers "69" and "420."

It's desperate and moronic and sad, but it's viral.

I think it's... free polls

How animal-expert cat owners justify letting their cats out to roam the neighborhood and kill songbirds.

Here's WaPo's "Cats are bird killers/These animal experts let theirs outside anyway." (Via Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.) It's not just about cats and birds. It's about the human mind and what I think is the single most pithy thing you can say about it: People believe what they want to believe. It's fascinating to see this process at work in such an elaborate, blatant context.

IN THE COMMENTS: David Begley said:
"People believe what they want to believe."

That insight was stated by Christian Bale in the movie, "American Hustle." Screenplay by David O.Russell.

That's really true in this election.
I'll bet "People believe what they want to believe" is said in a lot of movies. Kind of like "Let's get out of here," which we used to insist was said in every movie. Trying to figure out who first said "People believe what they want to believe" is like trying to find who first said "It takes one to know one" or "To each his own."

But I gave it a bit of a try and ended up on a page of quotes for the proposition "willful ignorance." It lets people "like" the quotes and the most-like one comes from Plato: "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."

There's an Ayn Rand one for you Ayn Rand folks: "The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see." I like the Benjamin Franklin: "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid."

Begley connected it to the election (as did I, to myself, writing the post), so let me feature the Isaac Asimov quote:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
And here's Ray Bradbury:
But you can't make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can't last.
ADDED: That afraid-of-the-light quote isn't really from Plato. I thought it sounded un-Plato-y. Here's a list of things Plato didn't say.

How Edward Snowden escaped.

"Summoned by his immigration lawyer in the late evening of June 10, 2013, Ajith (last names of the refugees in this story have been withheld), a former soldier in the Sri Lankan military, was told the unidentified man was 'famous' and needed 'protection.'"
“I was very happy to help him,” Ajith recalled during a recent interview with the National Post in his small windowless room in Kennedy Town, on the western tip of Hong Kong Island. “This famous person was a refugee too, same as me.”...

“Nobody would dream that a man of such high profile would be placed among the most reviled people in Hong Kong,” recalled Tibbo, a Canadian-born and educated barrister who has practiced law for 15 years. “We put him in a place where no one would look.”...

Snowden’s stay with Supun and Nadeeka was without incident. He ate mostly McDonald’s food and loved sweets, especially cake. His legal team limited their presence at the tiny apartment, but dispatched interns to deliver cakes and sweets embedded with USBs as a way to communicate with him.
Kennedy Town (named after Arthur Edward Kennedy, who was governor of Hong Kong in the 1870s)(photo from Wikipedia):

September 6, 2016

Smokestack rainbow.

Meade sent me that from out on his campaign (mountain biking).

Made me think of this song that mesmerized me in my youth:

Greta Van Susteren is leaving Fox News... immediately.

Announced the same day as Fox News's settlement of the sexual harassment case filed by Gretchen Carlson. The case was about things done by Roger Ailes, and Van Susteren had defended Ailes.
Van Susteren was said to be one of the FNC on-air talent who had a clause in their contact to walk if Ailes left the net....
Does that mean she quit or was fired? We're only told that contract negotiations stalled. Opaque.

Brit Hume takes over the show, beginning tonight.

"The Summer of Hate."

An excellent coinage by Rush Limbaugh:
[Trump is] up by two points [in a new CNN poll]... This is stunning when you consider the firepower in what I call the Summer of Hate. The Summer of Hate, the hatred directed at Trump, when you look at all of the firepower from everywhere that you could find, every sector of the Drive-By Media has been launching one salvo after another at Trump....
And so many of those salvos were about how hateful Trump supposedly was. I hate hate, but I heard a lot more hate against Trump than from him. 

WaPo's Chris Cillizza says Hillary's health is a "totally ridiculous" issue "and one that if Trump or his Republican surrogates continue to focus on is a surefire loser in the fall."

Why so hysterical, Mr. Cillizza? Maybe he needs a doctor to check that out. Look at that botched syntax:
This is a totally ridiculous issue — for lots of reasons — and one that if Trump or his Republican surrogates continue to focus on is a surefire loser in the fall.
What's he trying to hide? Why is he so sure this is a bad issue? Hypothesis: He's not. He's afraid it's a good issue. What are those "lots of reasons" that make the issue patently ridiculous?
Let's start here: Clinton has released a detailed letter from her personal physician attesting to her overall good health — and making specific reference to her 2012 fall...

So, to believe that something is seriously wrong with Clinton, you have to a) assume her doctor lied and b) that her coughing, which often happens when someone catches a cold or spends a lot of time speaking publicly, is a symptom of her deeper, hidden illness....

The simple fact is that there is zero evidence that anything is seriously wrong with Clinton....

Every second he or his surrogates spend talking about Clinton's health is a lost moment for his campaign. And with 63 days left until the election, he simply can't afford that.
1. The doctor's letter is from July 2015. There could be a new problem.

2. Last week, the media was probing into the credibility of Donald Trump's doctors. Do we think doctors never lie? And quite aside from lying, they can stretch the truth and frame the facts to favor the interests of their client.

3. Cillizza switches to what it would take "to believe that something is seriously wrong with Clinton," but the issue isn't whether it is correct now to believe the something is seriously wrong with her. The issue is only whether something is seriously wrong with her. Is it appropriate or "totally ridiculous" to want to investigate?

4. The coughing is so prolonged and chronic that it is worrisome. If that were your mother coughing like that, you'd take her to the doctor. We're not diagnosing her as having something wrong, just observing a symptom and wanting to know: Is something wrong? It's like Cillizza is playing dumb.

5. "Zero evidence"? Evidence is anything that makes a fact in issue more or less likely to be true. Of course, prolonged, chronic coughing is some evidence of a serious health problem. If I found myself coughing like that, I'd worry enough to go to the doctor. I might want to say oh, that's nothing, but if I kept it up, my husband and sons would all say, no, you don't know it's nothing. You have to go to the doctor. This is how normal life works, and I'm sure Cillizza knows that, so why is he dancing about so insistent on demanding that we see things in an abnormal way? It makes me more suspicious.

6. Cillizza purports to be giving good advice to Trump, but who can read the article and think he's interested in helping Trump? He doesn't want Trump to lose a moment that could be used hitting Hillary with other issues? Yes, he does. If he had a rathole that would suck up Trump campaign time and money, he'd point to it eagerly. Come on, check out this rathole! Ugh! You can see how badly the media have squandered their credibility in this election go-round. I can't believe anything.

"I just didn’t have another sex position in me."

Says the editor of Cosmopolitan, sniffing at the product she's used as leverage to a better (I don't want to say) position.
Cosmopolitan under [Joanna] Coles has not lost its sizzle, and its pages are filled with the relationship advice and sex tips that have made it a popular guide for young women for decades. But it has also taken on heavier subjects, including women’s health and politics...

Though she was tight-lipped on her plans, she said she had two projects she has been working on with other Hearst brands....
What does Cosmopolitan look like these days? Sex, health... politics... isn't that what women's magazines have been for the last nearly half century? I'm speaking from experience, because before I went to law school, back in my painterly period, my day job was reading magazines — reading them, coding them, for a marketing research firm. I read all the women's magazines — and plenty of other magazines — for something like 2 years. Cosmopolitan in the 70s. I remember it so well. That was back when every cover screamed "sex!" but the word "sex" never appeared on the cover.

I go to the Cosmopolitan website now, and the very first thing I see is a picture of Donald Trump.

I have to read through 2 Trump things before I get to "Sex Poses" — but "Sex Poses" are not sex positions, just the beginning of "Sex Poses Different Risks for Men and Women as they Age." Or maybe my computer — I'm on my old computer — isn't displaying that correctly. I think the "Donald Trump Is Right to Go After Hillary Clinton" was supposed to be up there in that empty top left corner, and not on that man and lady in bed together. It is funnier in the botched up way.

Clicking through, I see that "Donald Trump Is Right to Go After Hillary Clinton" is written by the familiar feminist writer Jill Filipovic. She says:
This election has set a know-nothing blowhard eager for attention against a seasoned, savvy, and somewhat cynical politician who is simply not being pressed on anything substantive.... Disturbingly, what some people appear to want is spectacle of anti-intellectualism and impotent rage.... When we lose the emphasis on ideas and devolve into a contest driven by ever-more-outrageous insults, grandiosity bordering on delusion, and a dogged commitment to going lower and lower still, it's not politics. It's poli-tainment. And it's not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton who will lose. It's all of us.
I agree with some of that, but it still gets my tag "civility bullshit" (which signifies my belief that calls for civility are always bullshit (because people only want to get their opponents to tone it down)).

And now I'm distracted by the "Most Popular" list in the sidebar: "13 Things That Make Guys Irrationally Horny," "10 Things Guys Actually Want In A Wife," and "What Blow Jobs Really Feel Like According To 12 Guys." Cosmo readers seem to like numbers — 13, 10, 12 — would it kill you to give me an 11? Oh, here, I found one: "11 things your boobs could be trying to tell you." And: "11 things you never knew about your boobs/Your breasts can have orgasms, people." Apparently, 11 is the boobs number at Cosmo.

Anyway, sail on Ms. Coles. You've done your time in the lady trenches.

"You know how Trump is always saying inappropriate and violent-sounding things?"

"Most people see that type of language as offensive and even dangerous. The exception is people who grew up in New York. We see it as 'talking.'" 

ADDED: Can we have a President from New York City? "New York" in the quote above, means New York City. People from NYC say "New York State" when they mean the state. We've had some Presidents from New York State already. But were they from NYC?

1. Martin Van Buren. No. He was from Kinderhook, New York, which is near Albany.

2. Millard Fillmore. No. He was from the Finger Lakes region.

3. Grover Cleveland. No. Born in New Jersey, some childhood time in upstate New York, and an upstate New York career, including mayor of Buffalo.

4. Chester A. Arthur. Not really. Born in Vermont, later lived in lots of different New York towns — York, Perry, Greenwich, Lansingburgh, Schenectady, and Hoosick. "The family's frequent moves later spawned accusations that Chester Arthur was not a native-born citizen of the United States." Eventually practiced law in NYC.

5. Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eh. He was born in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, but he subsequently lived in NYC, in a high-society setting.

6. Theodore Roosevelt. Yes! Born on East 20th Street in New York City. What did he sound like? Listen:

Thanks for that picture of my memories, Facebook.

That's about what they look like, my memories.

ADDED: "Your memories on Facebook" — reminiscent of "Your brain on drugs."

It's post-Labor Day. The campaign, at last, begins in earnest.

Looks like the contestants are taking their marks, beginning at the same point.  No one has a head start. Right? Hard to believe that after all this time, after all we've been through, that the 2 candidates are exactly balanced. Isn't that strange?

"'I’d like to burn you at the stake!' growled Betty Friedan at Phyllis Schlafly during a public debate over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) at Illinois State University in 1973."

"Friedan and other feminists were unnerved by Schlafly. She was as sophisticated and accomplished as they were, but profoundly antifeminist. They tried everything to pass ERA and defeat Schlafly, from bribing state legislators to using witchcraft, but to no avail."

Did Friedan really growl or was that humorous hyperbole? I need the video or at least the whole context, which I can't get from the New York Times either, where I first saw this burning-at-the-stake business:
On the left, Betty Friedan, the feminist leader and author, compared her to a religious heretic, telling her in a debate that she should burn at the stake for opposing the Equal Rights Amendment. Ms. Friedan called Mrs. Schlafly an “Aunt Tom.”
I'm reading that today because Phyllis Schlafly has died — after a long public life and at the age of 92. Let's keep reading:
Mrs. Schlafly became a forceful conservative voice in the 1950s, when she joined the right-wing crusade against international Communism. In the 1960s, with her popular self-published book “A Choice Not an Echo” (it sold more than three million copies) and a growing legion of followers, she gave critical support to the presidential ambitions of Senator Barry Goldwater, the hard-right Arizonan who went on to lead the Republican Party to electoral disaster in 1964, but who planted the seeds of a conservative revival that would flower with the rise of Ronald Reagan....

Many saw her ability to mobilize that citizens’ army as her greatest accomplishment. Angered by the cultural transformations of the 1960s, beginning with the 1962 Supreme Court ruling prohibiting state-sponsored prayer in public schools, her “little old ladies in tennis shoes,” as some called them, went from ringing doorbells for Goldwater to serving as foot soldiers for the “Reagan revolution.” 
Little old ladies in tennis shoes... that really was a standard expression, the contempt of the time for the little people, who were openly called little. Back when older women could be frankly minimized as "old ladies." But we still sort out women according to their shoes. And it's less meaningful to be caught wearing sneakers.

According to William Safire's "Political Dictionary," the term "little old ladies in tennis shoes" was "coined in 1961 by Stanley Mosk, then the Democratic Attorney General of California, in a report on right-wing activity." It was then used to attack supporters of Barry Goldwater, specifically the "resolute, intensely dedicated women's group — Western (or at least not Eastern urban), unsophisticated, often white-haired and wearing rimless eyeglasses. They were called 'the little old ladies in tennis shoes' with considerable disdain." Safire tells us that that in 1966, when Reagan was campaigning for governor in California, he recognized the "sexism and ageism" in the phrase and flipped it into a joke, addressing crowds with "Gentlemen — and 'little ladies in tennis shoes.'"

Anyway, goodbye to Phyllis Schlafly. I wasn't on her side in most of this, but I respect the hard work and the strong voice throughout so many decades in the ongoing debate about the kind of America we want.

Nobody says "handsome woman" anymore.

Yesterday on this blog, we were talking about Milo Yiannopoulos. If you listen to the video over there, you'll see that he's pressured inordinately about all the fun that was made of the "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones, but the main thing he said about her was just that she looks like a man. I got to wondering: What's wrong with a woman looking like a man?

It occurred to me that no one uses the expression "handsome woman" anymore, and if my long observation of American culture can be trusted, the sequence was:

1. "Handsome woman" was once a standard expression, used as a genuine compliment for a particular kind of woman. Ah, here's something from 1783, "The Distinction Between Words Esteemed Synonymous in the English Language":
"By a handsome woman, we understand one that is tall, graceful, and well-shaped, with a regular disposition of features; by a pretty, we mean one that is delicately made, and whole features are so formed as to please; by a beautiful, a union of both."
2. Because "handsome" was the standard word to refer to a man's appearance — you wouldn't call him "pretty" or "beautiful" — calling a woman "handsome," it was too easy to sound as though you were saying that the woman looked like a man, and nice people started to feel inhibited about saying it.

3. Only not-so-nice people were left saying it. We laughed watching "Seinfeld," when Elaine said — about George's girlfriend who looked like Jerry — "she's quite a handsome woman." And here's Captain Kirk in 1966:

4. The joke/insult use died off because the original, serious usage no longer existed. You have to have the reference point to make it funny, and the envious deployment of an incomplete compliment doesn't leave you unscathed if you use a word that nobody nice ever uses.

5. Here we are in the present, where the word "handsome" could be revived. And why not? There should be no stigma in a woman looking good in a way that tends toward the masculine. And it shouldn't be bad for a woman to look good in a way that doesn't highlight sexual accessibility. That's the look many woman like and might seek to enhance rather than to overcome.

September 5, 2016

"Obama Cancels Meeting with Philippines President Who Called Him ‘Son of a Whore.'"

There's a headline.

ALSO: Obama looked at Putin.

Hillary has an incredibly long coughing fit.

Today, in Cleveland:

She tries to turn it into a joke: She's "allergic" to Trump. But this was painful.

IN THE COMMENTS: Marty Keller said:
Inexplicably, she keeps coughing into the mike....
I can explicate it... 3 ways:

1. She doesn't understand electronic devices and mishandles them... as we have seen.

2. She'd like you to think she doesn't know how to handle electronic devices. Bolsters her story.

3. She wanted to exaggerate the coughing fit: She's looking for a way out.

"If you asked me who the greatest rock singer of all time is, I'd probably think for about one second before saying..."

"... Freddie Mercury."

Had he lived, he would have been 70 years old today.

Ant and bee in the saffron crocus.


ABC's Nightline goes after Milo Yiannopoulos and I've never bothered with this guy one way or the other...

... but this ham-handed effort to cut him down made me side with him. Why is the ABC reporter sneering and yelling at the person he's interviewing?

"I think America's had enough of nice manners. If my rudeness provokes conversation, if my rudeness provokes people into, first of all, into saying 'Oh! What a monster!' and blah blah blah and then 20% of the people talk about what I was actually saying, I will consider my career to be a terrific success."

"They’re snooping and snarking around campuses, pouncing on 'politically correct' utterances and protocols in their effort to de-'liberalize' liberal education..."

"... which they’re claiming to save from 'The New Intolerance of Campus Activism,' as Friedersdorf’s headline writer put it sloppily. (He probably meant to write 'in,' not 'of' — a Freudian slip, perhaps.) But the freedoms of speech that conservative pundits are touting so passionately against 'liberal' totalitarianism on campus mean little if moneyed interests have the megaphones and the scapegoats, while most ordinary citizens have laryngitis from straining to be heard."

Wrote Jim Sleeper in Salon last year, which I'm reading now because Greg Lukianoff  pointed it out as an example of "Sleeper’s weird diatribes." Lukianoff is powerfully outraged at Sleeper for an op-ed that appeared in the NYT yesterday.

Did you hear that the Spanish media about the election involves astrology?!

Yesterday's "Meet the Press" had a panel discussion that began with the moderator Chuck Todd asking about criticism from "some Latino leaders" about the Clinton campaign's lack of outreach to Latino voters. There has been no Spanish language advertising. Todd turned first to Maria Teresa Kumar, the president and CEO of Voto Latino. "Are they slow? Are they behind?" This ensues:
MARIA TERESA KUMAR: The fact that Trump, is the Republican candidate, has actually given the Hillary campaign tons of media and Spanish media, so much so is that we have--

CHUCK TODD: The free media trumps everything--

MARIA TERESA KUMAR: The free-- no, but I mean to really crystallize it, there is a Latino astrologist named Walter Mercado that we've all grown up with, listening to in Spanish media. He has gone after anti-Trump. So the fact that she is so much media buy in the Spanish languages is good, it's fantastic. But her challenge is actually going to get the Latino millennials, the ones that are English dominant that may not be turning it on....
What?! Astrologist?!! We had to rewind. That just flew by, and she never elaborated her point. I'm going to assume that "go[ing] after anti-Trump" means going anti-Trump/going after Trump. What is this astrology going on in Spanish media? What on earth is the discussion in Spanish? I'd heard that it's different from what we're hearing in English, but... astrology? Oh, my. I hadn't heard about astrology in politics since the Reagan era.

The news from 1988:
President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are both deeply interested in astrology, the White House spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, said today, and two former White House officials said Mrs. Reagan's concerns had influenced the scheduling of important events.... Mr. Fitzwater said Mrs. Reagan is particularly worried about the impact astrological portents can have on her husband's safety. But he declined to say exactly how Mrs. Reagan had used astrological information. And the President, answering a question at a photo-taking session, said, ''No policy or decision in my mind has ever been influenced by astrology.''...

Marcello Truzzi, a professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University, said he has collected evidence over many years documenting the Reagans' interest in astrology. ''I don't think Reagan is a truly avid astrological person, but I think if all things are equal, it has some impact on him,'' said Mr. Truzzi, who also heads an independent institute, the Center for Scientific Anomalies Research.... Professor Truzzi noted that President Theodore Roosevelt was an astrology buff, and that President Franklin D. Roosevelt quoted horoscopes....
Back to the present. Who is this Walter Mercado?

Oh! What did I see there:

Bill Clinton!

So what did Mercado say about el señor Donald Trump?

I'm sorry I'm having trouble understanding that. Plus, it's a year old. Here's an article from July in The Miami Herald: "Walter Mercado says Trump presidency would bring ‘total destruction’ of the world."
“I did a chart about what I see in the future and the present of this monster, this backwards person that can lead not only the United States, but the world, to total destruction,” Mercado said in Spanish. “He has no knowledge of politics and no knowledge of any type of diplomacy. He is a person that thinks money can buy anything and thinks that you can buy the conscience of all of humanity. The conscience cannot be bought with these policies that are so insulting and offensive to the human race.... I am totally, completely and absolutely in favor of Hillary, and astrologically, she is the better prospect,” he said. “God willing, the stars will align so that we will have the right president.”

NYT: "Young Blacks Voice Skepticism on Hillary Clinton, Worrying Democrats."

A NYT article by Jonathan Martin observes the problem — which will, presumably, be pointed to as an explanation if Clinton loses — that young black people lack the motivation to turn out to vote.
Mrs. Clinton’s difficulties with young African-Americans were laid bare in four focus groups conducted in Cleveland and Jacksonville, Fla., for a handful of progressive organizations spending millions on the election: the service employees union, a joint “super PAC” between organized labor and the billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, and a progressive group called Project New America. The results were outlined in a 25-page presentation by Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster, and shared with The New York Times by another party strategist who wanted to draw attention to Mrs. Clinton’s difficulties in hopes that the campaign would move more aggressively to address the matter....

[According to a poll from earlier in the summer:] In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, 70 percent of African-Americans under 35 said they were backing Mrs. Clinton, 8 percent indicated support for Mr. Trump and 18 percent said they were backing another candidate or did not know whom they would support. In 2012, Mr. Obama won 92 percent of black voters under 45 nationally, according to exit polling.
And that is how Hillary loses the election, isn't it? Those are the swing states, and she needs the black vote to which her party feels entitled.
Part of Mrs. Clinton’s problem, said Symone Sanders, a former top aide to Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign, is that the candidate is overly cautious and is conducting an outdated style of black outreach. Ms. Sanders has begun taking matters into her own hands. She said she was working with other young activists to recruit black celebrities for a millennial mobilization tour through Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

“Black churches and an H.B.C.U. tour is just not going to cut it in 2016,” said Ms. Sanders, referring to historically black colleges and universities. “The Clinton campaign has to be willing to get out of what’s comfortable and get on the streets.”

[Addisu Demissie, Mrs. Clinton’s voter outreach and mobilization director,] said the Clinton campaign’s efforts were more expansive, pointing to voter registration efforts already underway in barbershops and salons as well as sneaker and video game stores.
When I first read that, I thought there was a plan to get Hillary Clinton into those places, but it's only a voter registration effort. (By the way, isn't that list of 4 places to find black people a little disrespectful?) Sanders — Symone, the former aide to Bernie — seems to be talking about Clinton herself getting out "on the streets" where she is not "comfortable." When is the last time Clinton went somewhere where she's uncomfortable? I'm sure part of the rising panic in her campaign lies in the suspicion that if she were to go where she isn't comfortable, she'd only make it worse.
Today’s young African-American voters are less likely to be found in black churches and more likely to be found in schools, loosely organized activist groups and online....
Not sneaker and video game stores?!
Not only are younger black activists reached in different ways, they also have far higher expectations on leaders, dismissing boilerplate pleas for racial equality and justice as insufficient.
She has that and the contention that Donald Trump is a racist. Meanwhile, Trump has his "What do you have to lose?" approach. The NYT article quotes a Democratic politician who calls that question "disrespectful to the black community" but then tells us that the millennials in the focus groups did not respond to a photo of Trump with the line "We have to beat the racists." So the Clinton campaign knows it needs to come up with something better... and that the election depends upon it. 

September 4, 2016

At the koi pond...




Today, in Allen Centennial Gardens.

College kids are saying their parents won't let them major in liberal arts.

According to WaPo business and economics writer Steven Pearlstein, who is also a Public Affairs professor at George Mason University.
For me, there’s nothing more depressing than meeting incoming freshmen at Mason who have declared themselves as accounting majors. They’re 18 years old, they haven’t had a chance to take a course in Shakespeare or evolutionary biology or the history of economic thought, and already they’ve decided to devote the rest of their lives to accountancy. It’s worth remembering that at American universities, the original rationale for majors was not to train students for careers. Rather, the idea was that after a period of broad intellectual exploration, a major was supposed to give students the experience of mastering one subject, in the process developing skills such as discipline, persistence, and how to research, analyze, communicate clearly and think logically.
4 thoughts:

1. Why are they 18 years old? Why not mature a little by doing something valuable or stupid for a few years? Start hemorrhaging money after you know yourself well enough to decide what you want to do in life.

2. In the old days, the days of the "original rationale," only an elite set went to college. It was a good bet that the degree would leverage your success, and in your secure elitism, you could indulge in the professor's dream that you were rounding yourself out.

3. It's not the student's mission to keep from depressing the professor. Have your own list of things you want for yourself because you know yourself. It would be weird if you put not depressing professors on it.

4. Of course, it's not all about pleasing your parents either, but at least your parents love you, probably. But feel free to continue to use your parents as you explain to professors why you don't think it's such a good idea to major in the field they are struggling to preserve as an ongoing operation.

"You know, I speak with people inside her circle, and one of the reason why they don't like her in large groups or to do press conferences is because she doesn't play well there."

"She's not comfortable in that position. That's only going to make her look more staged, more strategic and less authentic. And so, it's a purposeful strategy why she's not doing press conferences, because that will only add to her unfavorabilities. Look, the email thing, is just terrible, in my opinion, especially when you start looking at the rationale. You know, Matthew and I were joking. She thought the 'c' was to help her put things in alphabetical order. But there's no 'a,' there's no 'b,' and there's no 'd.'"

Said ABC news contributor LZ Granderson today on ABC's "This Week," after the host Martha Raddatz asked him whether Hillary Clinton is "doing enough" about her problem of her favorability rating being at "an all-time low among registered voters, now on par with Donald Trump at 59 percent and 60 percent respectively." Granderson began his answer with: "Well, I they think what they're doing is not adding to the problem."

That is, Hillary is being kept under wraps, because if we see her, we'll only like her less.

And then ABC News chief political analyst, Matthew Dowd attempts to do gender politics:
[Hillary] is judged -- she is judged a little bit, I have to say, all of the controversy surrounding her and they're both -- Donald Trump and her, she's judged a little bit on a Ginger Rogers standard, which is, is that the bar is so low for him. I mean, Ginger Rogers, the famous like she did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in heels.
Suddenly, Trump is the Fred Astaire, judged by an easier standard when what his opponent/partner is doing is actually harder?

Obama used the old "backwards and in high heels" line at the Democratic convention last month. He was trying to help Hillary... even though Hillary used "backwards in high heels" against him in 2008:
She said Obama had noted that she looked rested since she ended her campaign against him for the Democratic nomination, and she told him she’d been exercising for a change.

“During the campaign … Barack would get up faithfully every morning and go to the gym. I would get up and have my hair done,” she said as she introduced him. “It’s one of those Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire things.”
She can't use that getting-my-hair done line in 2016, Trump's hair being what it is. (And by the way, what is it?)

Anyway, the political use of the old Ginger Rogers line goes back to at least 1988, when the future governor of Texas, Ann Richards, gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention: "[I]f you give [women] a chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels." (The pre-political use came not from Ginger Rogers herself, but from Frank and Ernest.)

But, I'm sorry, I sure don't see Hillary getting judged by a tougher standard than Donald Trump. It's the other way around. It's quite obvious. So it's a cliché, which is another reason not to say it. But it doesn't even serve your purpose, Matthew Dowd, because it's patently inapt and only draws attention to the fact that the backwards here is the bending over that the media have been doing for Hillary.

Now, let's see if Donald Trump can dance like Fred Astaire:

"There’s also a twelve-step aspect to improv’s appeal..."

"... the notion that, at the end of all the regimentation and rule-following, you may be not only a funnier performer but also a better person. U.C.B. alumni I spoke with likened the effects of classes to immersion therapy, meditation, and 'creative cross-training.' Others credited improv with helping them to overcome shyness and writer’s block, learn how to listen, and hone their skills in hitting on women."

From "HOW THE UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE IMPROVISED A COMEDY EMPIRE," by Emma Allen in The New Yorker — which I also just cited at the end of the previous post, the one about the dipshit revolution at Burning Man.

But isn't the whole thing a vacation from sense? If you create another world, then what sense flows from that?

"Mob justice at Burning Man: Luxury camp that lets guests pay to skip the complex logistics of attending desert festival is vandalized by a 'band of hooligans' who cut power lines and glued doors shut."
'What happened last night should be known on social media,' [White Ocean Camp] wrote in a post on its Facebook page.  'A very unfortunate and saddening event happened last night at White Ocean, something we thought would never be possible in OUR Burning Man utopia. A band of hooligans raided our camp, stole from us, pulled and sliced all of our electrical lines leaving us with no refrigeration and wasting our food and, glued our trailer doors shut, vandalized most of our camping infrastructure, dumped 200 gallons of potable water flooding our camp.... We have felt like we've been sabotaged from every angle, but last night's chain of events, while we were all out enjoying our beautiful home, was an absolute and definitive confirmation that some feel we are not deserving of Burning Man... We actually had someone from the organization tell us that in paraphrase "it makes sense that you have been sabotaged as you are a closed camp and not welcoming."'
Well, of course, it makes sense

But isn't the whole thing a vacation from sense? Nonsense gives rise to new sense. If you create another world, then what sense flows from that?

"If this unusual thing is true, what else is true?"/Si Haec Insolita Res Vera Est, Quid Exinde Verum Est?" That's the motto of the improv organization Upright Citizens Brigade, which I happened to be reading about (in The New Yorker) when I encountered this dipshit revolution at Burning Man.

"I think, perhaps, we may have some difficulty in calling her St. Teresa..."

"... Her holiness is so near to us, so tender and so fruitful, that we continue to spontaneously call her Mother Teresa."

Said Pope Francis at the canonization ceremony.

ADDED: From the archive:
She tried her best to believe. Her atheism was not like mine. I can't believe it and I am glad to think that it is not true, that there is a dictator in the heavens. So the fact that there is no evidence for it pleases me. She really wished it was true. She tried to live her life as if it was true. She failed. And she was encouraged by cynical old men to carry on doing so because she was a great marketing tool for her church, and I think that they should answer for what they did to her and what they have been doing to us. I think it has been fraud and exploitation yet again....
ALSO: To clarify the previous quote, which is (obviously?) from Christopher Hitchens, here was the news from 2007:
The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, "neither in her heart or in the eucharist."
That made me think of:
I'd like to conclude with a passage from 1 John, Chapter 4. You know it? See, most groups I speak to don't know that. But we know it. If you want, we can say it together: "No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." And that is so true.