August 16, 2017

At the Late-Night Questionable Artwork Café...

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... I'm soliciting opinion on the possibly deplorable politics of this image. I think there are a lot of suspicious details here, and we may need to raise an outcry.

Or talk about anything you want. It's a café post.

More on the artwork later. I just thought opining on the political correctness of artwork was the order of the day.

Consider supporting my inquiry into questionable artwork by using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

ADDED: Here's the card (from the wall at the Indianapolis Museum of Art):



What a manipulative card! Eerily... disquieting... detached... separation... loneliness... transience... anonymity... Can't I have my own feelings? Are the older couple really so alienated from each other? Is the older woman not looking at the man? They don't look happy, but to me, they seem engaged.

Perhaps they're in town for a funeral. They've got their coats. They're going somewhere or they just got back. Something's up, something related to the world beyond this weird room. The young woman with the book is engaged with reading. Reading entails connection to another human being, the writer. Perhaps the young woman represents the youth the older couple have lost. Now, the older couple seem poised, tarrying, at the edge of the grave, represented vertically by the doorway to the dark restaurant. They're on the menu, food for worms.

The lobby the antechamber of death. Outdoors is only a picture on the wall. There's no going back. The green line of life leads in from the left corner. The old lady has plopped into the chair and planted her prim little toes on the line. She looks with anxiety at the man who, one foot on the green line, lamely explains that they've got to keep going. The line turns a sharp corner, into the coffin/desk and the undertaker/desk clerk waits almost invisibly under the half-shown clock where their time is running out.

The Spotted Cheetah — the for-real Cheetos restaurant.

"The menu — which includes Cheetos meatballs, Cheetos crusted fried pickles, and Flamin’ Hot and White Cheddar Mac n’ Cheetos — was created by celebrity chef Anne Burrell. Each of the eleven items range in price, from $8 to $22."

"I bethink me that you may have no objections to hear something of my whereabout and whatabout."

Wrote Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1841. Did you ever think about the word "whatabout," corresponding to "whereabout"? We usually see "whereabout" in the plural — as in "I was right glad..to learn of your whereabouts and whatabouts."

I found both of those sentences in the OED as I was looking up "whataboutism" in the OED. "Whataboutism" isn't there — nor is "whataboutery" — but I'm seeing the word "whataboutism" a lot this week. It's in reference to Trump, of course. Trump famously referred to the "alt-left" when asked about the "alt-right," and there's some very heated criticism of that form of argument, which really is very annoying when you're criticizing someone and you don't want to hear that there's a corresponding — and smaller!!! — criticism against you.

One problem is that very few people are willing to give up that form of argument when the tables are turned. In other words, what about your whataboutism?

"Fremont's Lenin Statue Is Currently Under Siege By Trump Supporters and An Alt-Right Troll."

The Stranger reports.

"[Stephen] Stills may be hobbled by arthritis—backstage he bumps fists rather than shakes hands with fans..."

"... he has carpal tunnel and residual pain from a long-ago broken hand, which affects his playing—and he is nearly deaf, but his performance life has continued. Drugs and alcohol may have dented him somewhat, forming a kind of carapace over the youthful sensitivity and cockiness one often saw in the face of the young Stills. Some might infer by looking at the spry James Taylor or Mick Jagger that heroin is less hard on the body than cocaine and booze, which perhaps tear down the infrastructure. ('Stills doesn’t know how to do drugs properly,' Keith Richards once said.) But one has to hand it to a rock veteran who still wants to get on stage and make music even when his youthful beauty and once-tender, husky baritone have dimmed. It shows allegiance to the craft, to the life, to the music. It risks a derisive sort of criticism as well as an assault on nostalgia."

The novelist Lorrie Moore writes a book review (NYRB) for a biography of Stephen Stills

I'm interested in reading the review because Lorrie Moore wrote it. I don't particularly care about Stephen Stills, but if Moore wants to describe him, I'm up for hearing about his carapace and his infrastructure. And I do love this one song...



... which I believe somebody brought up in one of the comments sections this morning. Let's see. Ah, yes. Here it is: pacwest said:

At the Questionable Artwork Café...

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... you tell me if this is okay.

Or talk about anything you want.

I'll provide more background on the artwork later. I just thought opining on the political correctness of artwork was the order of the day.

It's midmorning break time for me. Perhaps it's time for shopping. If you're shopping, I encourage you to support this blog by using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

ADDED: Here's the wall card from the Indianapolis Museum of Art:

The NYT gives its readers definitions for "alt-right" and "alt-left."

In the transcript (NYT) of yesterday's press conference, we see Trump talking about the "alt-right" and the "alt-left" and challenging a reporter to give a definition:
REPORTER: Senator McCain said that the alt-right is behind these and he linked that same group to those that perpetrated the attack in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: Well, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. I’m sure Senator McCain must know what he is talking about. When you say the alt-right. Define alt-right to me. You define it. Go ahead. No, define it for me. Come on. Let’s go.

REPORTER: Senator McCain defined them as the same group —

[cross talk]

TRUMP: What about the alt-left that came charging at — Excuse me — What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? [cross talk] Let me ask you this: What about the fact that they came charging, that they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. So, you know, as far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.
Define your terms — it's a way of slowing down an interlocutor who's letting labels do too much of the work. Trump combines the demand for a definition of one thing that is said with calling attention to what is unsaid: You've got a label for one side but not for the other side.

Perhaps reacting to that demand for definition, the NYT has "Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language" (by Liam Stack).

First up is the definition of "Alt-Right," and I think this definition pushes the word into a much uglier zone than some of the people who have popularized the term deserve:

Apparently, we're in a time to break down, a time to cast away stones.

"To everything... There is a season... And a time to every purpose, under heaven... A time to build up, a time to break down/A time to dance, a time to mourn/A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together...."

Remember that Donald Trump destroyed sculptures.

"In 1979, when he was a relatively unknown New York real estate developer (the mind boggles), a 33-year-old Trump acquired the historic Art Deco Bonwit Teller building, only to demolish it a year later to build what would become Trump Tower. He promised, however, to save two 15-foot-high bas-relief panels that adorned the Teller building and donate them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art should he be able to remove them. Despite his word, the 'pieces that had been sought with enthusiasm by the Metropolitan Museum of Art…were smashed by jackhammers yesterday on the orders of a real estate developer,' as the New York Times report from the time tells it."

From "How Real Estate, Violence, and Public Protest Destroyed These Iconic New York Artworks" (which includes the story of "Tilted Arc," a sculpture people hated because it was massively in the way.)



Trump said at the time that the sculptures were "without artistic merit":
In the New York Times the PR spokesman identified himself as ‘John Barron’. In the Associated Press story the same publicity man called himself ‘Donald Baron’ and was quoted as saying that ‘the merit of these stones was not great enough to save them.’ Both ‘John’ and ‘Donald’ were Trump. ‘What do you think? Do you think blowing up the sculptures has hurt me?’ he asked Vanity Fair a decade later.
Who cares? Let’s say that I had given that junk to the Met. They would have just put them in their basement. I’ll never have the goodwill of the Establishment, the tastemakers of New York. Do you think, if I failed, these guys in New York would be unhappy? They would be thrilled! Because they have never tried anything on the scale that I am trying things in this city. I don’t care about their goodwill.

"Statues dedicated to Confederate heroes were swiftly removed across Baltimore in the small hours of Wednesday morning..."

"... just days after violence broke out over the removal of a similar monument in neighboring Virginia. Beginning soon after midnight on Wednesday, a crew, which included a large crane and a contingent of police officers, began making rounds of the city’s parks and public squares, tearing the monuments from their pedestals and carting them out of town." (NYT).



Have you ever woken up in the morning to find your city had changed during the night? There's a dystopian edge that called to mind "Dark City"...



And that old Pretenders song with the overly familiar intro, "My City Was Gone":



IN THE COMMENTS: iowan2 said:
I have seen a tag line of late, something about darkness, just can't put my finger on it,

Oh here it is. Washington Post."Democracy dies in darkness"

Prescient I guess
Matthew Sablan said:
There's a way to go about removing the monuments. Doing it with force of arms and threatening the city with violence is not the way.
And doing it under cover of darkness suggests that it's something shameful that needs to be hidden. If you can't do it proudly, by daylight, you're not ready to do it.

"Emad Mishko Tamo was only nine years old, sobbing and reaching out for his mother when ISIS militants captured and separated them..."

"... as the pair attempted to escape the besieged town of Sinjar in northern Iraq, where thousands of Yazidi men, women and children were murdered or abducted. For nearly three years, Mihlo Rafo — who came to Winnipeg along with four of her children in January as government-sponsored Yazidi refugees — knew nothing of Emad's whereabouts...."

Winnepeg Free Press: "'Take me to Canada to my mom,' boy pleads after liberation from ISIS."

The sarcastic meaning of "Hello" is traced to "Back to the Future": "Hello, hello? Anybody home? Hey! Think, McFly. Think."

In the Oxford English Dictionary:





Why am I researching the word "hello" at 4 in the morning? I started out writing something — it will be up next soon — about Trump's press conference, which I wanted to call "hairy." But I wasn't sure "hairy" really is used and understood anymore — "hairy," not in the sense of covered with hair (though with Trump that alternative meaning distracts us), but in the sense of difficult, rough, wild, frightening. It was common slang years ago, enough that The New Yorker had a cartoon in 1971 with the caption "And do you, Elizabeth, take this man, John, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, until the going gets hairy?"

To check for currency, I looked up "hairy" in the Urban Dictionary, and one thing I found was "Hey do you have the hairies on that?," which got me clicking through to "hey," one of the great English language words that you use all the time but don't think too much about. Years ago — back in the 50s and 60s — many adults would correct you if you thought you could get their attention with "Hey." Often they'd deploy the corny riposte "Hay is for horses." I think these were the same adults who would tell you "A kid is a baby goat" if you were crass enough to refer to a human child as a "kid."

Hey, kids...



... I wanted to track down the origin of "hey." "Hey" is such an old word that the OED's oldest use is unreadable: "Hei! hwuch wis read of se icudd keiser!" (a1225). Unreadable, except that we get the meaning of "Hei!" Even 200 years later, it's hard to understand. This is a line in a Christmas carol: "Hey, hey, hey, hey, The borrys hed is armyd gay." I'm just going to guess that there's some excitement about the presentation of a boar's head.

Anyway, "hey" got me thinking about "hi" — a great word that I'll do a separate post about sometime — and then "hello." I thought "hello" had been invented for speaking on the phone, but "hello" — the interjection defined by its use ("Used to attract attention") — goes back to 1826 in the Norwich (Conn.) Courier: "Hello, Jim! I'll tell you what: I've a sharp knife and feel as if I'd like to cut up something or other." And then in 1833, "Sketches & Eccentricities Col. David Crockett":
"I seed a white man walking off with my plate. I says, ‘Hello, mister, bring back my plate.’"

The first telephone-related "hello" comes in 1877 from Thomas Edison: "I do not think we shall need a call bell as Hello! can be heard 10 to 20 feet away. What you think?" I think you are wrong, Mr. Edison. We need a bell!

Did you know that it was Thomas A. Watson, not the man with the name Bell, who invented the bell for the telephone:
It is impossible to say exactly how vital Watson’s role was in the invention of the phone, but he was certainly far more than a mere assistant. During the seven years he worked for Bell, he secured sixty patents in his own name, including one for the distinctive ringing bell that was for decades an invariable part of every phone call made. Remarkably, before this, the only way to know if someone was trying to get through to you was to pick up the phone from time to time and see if anyone was there.
That's from Bill Bryson's "At Home: A Short History of Private Life." I don't know if you had to pick up the phone. It seems as though Edison's idea was that the phone would be left off the hook — if the hook was even part of the phone — and if you were calling you'd say "hello!" and if the person on the other end was within 10 or 20 feet, you'd get their attention, just as if you were there in person trying to get their attention with a "hey!" And why not "hey"? Apparently, "hello!" carries farther.

When shouting from a mountaintop or into a cave — or into a hollow skull — you always choose "hello":

August 15, 2017

Trump won't concede that he was wrong to talk about "many sides," because "before I make a statement, I like to know the facts."

The NYT reports on "a long, combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower."
Mr. Trump repeated that assertion on Tuesday, criticizing “alt-left” groups that he claimed were “very, very violent” when they sought to confront the nationalist and Nazi groups that had gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park. He said there is “blame on both sides.”
Here's a part of today's statement, in which he is explicit that he did not condemn everyone on the non-counterprotester side.



"I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch... Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. This week, it is Robert E. Lee and this week, Stonewall Jackson. Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

ADDED: Some people thought his remarks yesterday represented a backing off from his much-criticized "many sides" line, but I was not one of them.  I think what he said Saturday, yesterday, and today was basically all the same thing.

"Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death/How a rally of white nationalists and supremacists at the University of Virginia turned into a 'tragic, tragic weekend.'"

This is the kind of newspaper article I'm looking for, detailing what happened in Charlottesville, and I wish I felt more confidence that The Washington Post would tell it straight. Maybe this is straight, but how can I know? What trust has been shot to hell in the last few years of journalism! I'm still reading this, because it's the closest I've come to the kind of careful report I want.

Excerpt:

At the Southern Statue Café...

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... can we all get together?

(Photograph first posted here in 2012.)

Scott Adams — wearing his Pope hat to make a moral ruling — says that the Confederate statues should come down.

The brand is "America" and it's working against your brand — even if only 20% of the people are feeling offended and excluded. It doesn't matter that you think it doesn't.



He didn't really need his Pope hat for that, because he's not talking about his own moral vision. He's taking a businesslike, corporate view, discussing a branded product called America and noticing the moral opinions of the consumers of the product.

There's also some interesting discussion in there about the internment of persons of Japanese descent during WWII and whether statues of FDR should come down. If I understand Adams's standard correctly, if 20% of Americans are offended — based on serious reasons — then Americans as a group should want to update the American brand and remove the monument, which is just decoration.

ALSO: Pope-hatted Adams makes the moral ruling that the mob's pulling down of a statue of a Confederate soldier is "a moral gray area." There was no violence against persons, only property, and it "comes very close to free speech." It's destructive, but only of "a racist symbol." I'll give this post the "civil disobedience" tag. Adams doesn't use that term, but he briefly acknowledges that the destruction is against the law and that the protesters probably need to be arrested and prosecuted and given a light sentence. In standard civil disobedience thought, the disobeyers accept the legal consequences.

AND: Adams is very funny talking about the notion of gathering America's Confederate statues in a museum: "It would be the world's worst museum." You'd be saying "There's a statue of Robert E. Lee" and then "There's a statue of Robert E. Lee," etc. I'd just note that the sculpture was designed to fit in a park, so how about something outdoors, something like Grūtas Park (AKA "Stalin's World)(discussed in this post of mine from last May (about the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue in New Orleans)).

AND: Let me repeat something from that May post, this image "The Sons of Liberty pulling down the statue of George III of the United Kingdom on Bowling Green (New York City), 1776":

Scaramucci on the Colbert Show.

Worth a watch:



Most interesting thing: He comes right out and calls Steve Bannon a leaker and says if it were up to him Bannon would be gone.

Colbert is kind of annoying for 2 reasons: 1. He's straining too hard to get Scaramucci to do what makes comedians love him while at the same time trying to step on all of Scaramucci's jokes and claim all punchlines for himself, and 2. The audience over-screams with laughter any time Colbert gets off any kind of line, which really spoils the experience for me, watching at home. I want to decide what's funny, not have a bunch of sycophants continually informing me which of 2 men in a man-to-man interview they're rooting for.

I liked the way the band played the "Scaramouche, Scaramouche" section of "Bohemian Rhapsody" as Scaramucci walked on. The song choice is the complete opposite of surprising but I liked the way they played it. Just a cool variation on an old theme.

Oh, wait. There's a Part 2, after the break...



ADDED: Scaramucci doesn't know if Bannon is a white supremacist, but he doesn't like Bannon's toleration of white supremacists.

About to start law school, Tiffany Trump Instagrams from a colorfully surrealistic pool environment.

A post shared by Tiffany Ariana Trump (@tiffanytrump) on


I saw that at The Washington Post, where the headline is: "Tiffany Trump is starting at Georgetown Law next week. Here’s what to expect." What to expect? Another young person goes to law school. Is there anything to see? I've read the article for you. Answer: No. Other than that her Instagramming will be from Washington, D.C.

By the way, I wonder where one buys a pool float with Eldorado breasts like that? You know what I'm talking about, Eldorado? Here's a picture I took a few weeks ago:

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"The hunt for survivors of a devastating mudslide on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital has continued, with 270 bodies recovered so far...."

And "thousands missing" — The Guardian reports.

Advance warning of the violent propensities of James Alex Fields Jr.

WaPo reports:
James Alex Fields Jr. was barely a teenager in 2010 when his mother — who uses a wheelchair — locked herself in a bathroom, called 911 and said her son had struck her head and put his hands over her mouth when she told him to stop playing a video game, according to police records....
In the 2010 call, Bloom... said her son was taking medication to control his temper...

In October of the following year, Bloom called 911 to say that her son was “being very threatening toward her” and that she didn’t feel “in control of the situation,” according to a dispatcher’s notes.

And in November 2011, police were asked to come to the house because Bloom was said to want her son to be assessed at a hospital, according to the records. He had spat in her face, said the caller, whose connection to the family is not clear in the records.

The previous night, Fields had stood behind his mother with a 12-inch knife, the caller reported. “Scared mom to death not knowing if he was going to do something,” the dispatcher’s report continued.
Does this make the organizers of the Unite the Right less responsible? Maybe. But you always know mentally unstable, violent people are out there. You should not act like a magnet for them. You should not draw them into a phantasmagoric environment and pump them up with confusing, exciting, chanted words.

I remember the Wisconsin protests, I was worried about the mental health of some of the lost souls who gravitated to the scene. On March 1, 2011, I wrote:
There are young people in the Wisconsin Capitol who have been there, sleep deprived, for 15 days and are truly suffering.

I just watched video Meade brought home, and I am not going to put it on line. But I can tell you, there is at least one person there who has lost his mind from (apparently) sleep deprivation.

Someone needs to go around to everyone who is still there and check them for mental stability. Somebody needs to find the people who need to leave and don't know how to leave. If you are encouraging people to stay, to hang on and remain tough, you need to know that there are some truly sad people there who need to be told that they've done enough and must leave now.

Please, for the love of God, go around to the human beings who are there and talk to them individually. I know you believe in your cause, but there is at least one person among you who needs love and needs to be saved!

In Durham, North Carolina, protesters pull down a statue of a Confederate soldier... videoed by sheriff's deputies who do not intervene.



The Herald Sun reports:
Sheriff’s deputies recorded the event but did not intervene as a protester climbed a ladder and slipped a yellow, bungie-like cord around the soldier’s head and arm and a group pulled the cord....
Protesters are seen kicking the wrecked object, an image of the soldier, who doesn't seem to have been a particular individual but a generic example of — as the monument put it — “the boys who wore the gray.” The crowd — "more than 100 people" — is said to have circled the monument, chanting “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!”

The Herald Sun names 5 groups that it says took part: Triangle People’s Assembly, Workers World Party, Industrial Workers of the World, Democratic Socialists of America, and the antifa. It quotes a woman  —  Eva Panjwani — that it says is from the Workers World Party Durham:
“Tactics are changing, which means that our strategies need to change, our unity needs to escalate and our demands to fight back and resist domestic terror needs to escalate"...
I think that's a terrible mistake.  Just as violence on the right captures the headlines and great stress is put on the need to single out right-wing extremists and to criticize the President for condemning violence on "all sides," you think it's a good idea for the left to call attention to its willingness to get destructive?
Alissa Ellis, of the Workers World Party Durham branch that was a participant in the Charlottesville protest, said people need to embrace multiple tactics because that is what kept her safe. “We need to shun passive, white liberalism” that elevates whites voices over black and brown voices, she said.
Do I understand that correctly? Is she saying the nonviolence approach to activism privileges white people and violent tactics are needed to be inclusive toward nonwhite people? Isn't that racist?

Most important: Why did law enforcement do nothing?  ADDED: That is, nothing but make a video. It's as if they're journalists and have an ethic against becoming part of the news.

Misdoxxing.

"Amateur Sleuths Aim to Identify Charlottesville Marchers, but Sometimes Misfire" (NYT).
After a day of work at the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas, Kyle Quinn had a pleasant Friday night in Bentonville with his wife and a colleague. They explored an art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and dined at an upscale restaurant.

Then on Saturday, he discovered that social media sleuths had incorrectly identified him as a participant in a white nationalist rally some 1,100 miles away in Charlottesville, Va. Overnight, thousands of strangers across the country had been working together to share photographs of the men bearing Tiki torches on the University of Virginia campus. They wanted to name and shame them to their employers, friends and neighbors. In a few cases, they succeeded....

August 14, 2017

At Picnic Point...

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... with Meade and Zeus today.

Talk about anything you want.

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And give some thought to using The Althouse Amazon Portal to show your support for the ongoing project that is Althouse.

"Nic and Trees Elderhorst, both 91, died [together, by euthanasia] in their hometown of Didam, in the Netherlands, after 65 years of marriage."

"The couple both suffered from deteriorating physical health over the past five years..."
...with Mr Elderhorst left with reduced mobility after a stroke in 2012.  Walking had also become increasingly difficult for his wife, who had also suffered from memory loss.

“It soon became clear that it could not wait much longer,” the couple’s daughter told The Gelderlande. “The geriatrician determined that our mother was still mentally competent. However, if our father were to die, she could become completely disoriented, ending up in a nursing home. Something which she desperately did not want. Dying together was their deepest wish.”
We're told it's rare for 2 persons to go together, given that each must meet the standard.

"In 2015, Seattle cleaned up a 20-year-old 'gum wall' that had become a local landmark. The job took workers an estimated 130 hours to fill 94 buckets with 2,350lb of gum..."

"... but the respite didn’t last long: according to the Seattle Times, a flash mob began to 're-gum' the wall two days later."

From "Sticky situation: Mexico City's sisyphean battle with chewing gum/Streets across the world are littered with gum, and although many cities have tried and failed to eradicate these sticky circles, Mexico City continues to wage this seemingly unwinnable war" in The Guardian.

The photo at the link bears witness to the fun of the street art that is The Gum Wall.

I looked up the address so I could find it in Google Street View:

"Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."

Said Donald Trump today at the White House.



Bloomberg suggests that this as a walk-back from the much-criticized "many sides" statement Trump made on Saturday. But he's still saying "other hate groups" — which could include Antifa, and he also said:
“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held accountable,” Trump said, adding that he had just met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Chris Wray for an update on a federal civil rights investigation into the incident.

“We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence,” he added.
Anyone who acted criminally... that too would include all sides. 

Note the triad — hatred, bigotry, and violence. Those are the same 3 words he put together in Saturday's "many sides" statement — "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."

"It does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute."

Said Jeff Sessions, speaking of the Charlottesville incident (NYT).
“You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation toward the most serious charges that can be brought because this is unequivocally an unacceptable evil attack,” Mr. Sessions said, adding that terrorism and civil rights investigators were working on the case....

The “domestic terrorism” language is largely symbolic — many of the law's stiffest penalties are for international terrorism that do not apply domestically. But the debate over language has raged for more than a decade, as Muslim groups in particular argue that the word terrorism is used only when the attackers are Muslim....

"18-year-old Keshia Thomas protects a fallen man, believed to be associated with the Ku Klux Klan from an angry mob of anti-clan protestors."

"Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. 1996 By Mark Brunner."

A popular new post — with an old photo — at Reddit.

Top-rated comment:
Something like that happened to John McCain when he was captured. The lynch mob was held back only by a North Vietnamese nurse who protected him.
And here's a link to a 2016 article following up on Keshia Thomas:
"We all have a conscience and it was my responsibility to do what I felt was right," Thomas said in a phone interview on June 23, the day after the 20-year anniversary of the incident....

Thomas remembers appearing in opposition to the KKK group in an effort organized by the National Women's Rights Organizing Coalition outside Ann Arbor's city hall on June 22, 1996. At one point, a woman with a megaphone shouted, "There's a Klansman in the crowd!"

Thomas, who was still in high school, turned and saw McKeel Jr., taking off away from the crowd. It wasn't long before mob mentality took over and the crowd had McKeel on the ground.

Thomas, horrified to see the man being kicked and beaten, threw herself on top of McKeel to shield him from the blows.

"Speaking of Trump, I notice he has been channeling Tom Waits."

Writes Amadeus 48 (in the comments, here). He quotes this Tom Waits song:
He's got the fire and the fury at his command
But you don't have to worry, just hold onto Jesus' hand.
We'll all be safe from Satan when the thunder rolls.
We just gotta help me keep the devil way down in the hole.


I think both men were channeling the Old Testament:
Isaiah 42:25 So he poured upon him the heat of his anger and the fury of war; it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand; it burned him, but he did not take it to heart.

Isaiah 66:15 For the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to pay back his anger in fury, and his rebuke in flames of fire.

Lamentations 2:4 He has bent his bow like an enemy, with his right hand set like a foe; he has killed all in whom we took pride in the tent of daughter Zion; he has poured out his fury like fire.

Ezekiel 19:12 But it was plucked up in fury, cast down to the ground; the east wind dried it up; its fruit was stripped off, its strong stem was withered; the fire consumed it.

Ezekiel 23:25 I will direct my indignation against you, in order that they may deal with you in fury. They shall cut off your nose and your ears, and your survivors shall fall by the sword. They shall seize your sons and your daughters, and your survivors shall be devoured by fire.
And the New Testament:
Hebrews 10:26-37 For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.... For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
ADDED: Possibly related: An op-ed in today's NYT titled "Christianity Does Not Justify Trump’s ‘Fire and Fury.'" I didn't realize anyone had been arguing that, and I'd just noticed that "fury of fire" in the New Testament. The author, Steven Paulikas, is an Episcopal priest in Park Slope (Brooklyn, NY).

Apparently, a Baptist minister (Robert Jeffress) had asserted that God gave Trump the power to "take out" Kim Jong-Un. Paulikas finds that "shockingly uninformed and dangerous." Jeffress stressed Paul's statement (in Romans 13) that existing governmental authorities are instituted by God. Paulikas stresses the next thing Paul says: "love one another" and "the one who loves another has fulfilled the law."
There has been discussion about whether the president’s bold words on Kim were improvised or part of a strategy to push China into cracking down on North Korea. Jeffress’s comments reveal a third dimension: a corrupted theology that could supply a misguided moral thrust to the president’s potential course of action. Seen in this light, the vision of “fire and fury” should be taken very seriously and at face value, an apocalyptic statement resulting from a highly unorthodox theology with no basis in the Bible.

"It needs to look at who ordered the police to stand down in the face of mob violence, and why."

"A decision to allow citizens to be assaulted in the exercise of their constitutional rights is a federal felony."

Writes Glenn Reynolds.

"Militiamen came to Charlottesville as neutral First Amendment protectors, commander says."

WaPo reports.
The show of strength was about “allegiance . . . to the Constitution,” particularly the First Amendment, said Christian Yingling, leader of the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia...

The fact that no shots were fired, Yingling said, was a testament “to the discipline of the 32 brave souls serving under me during this particular operation.” In a telephone interview Sunday, he sought to dispel “the absurd idea in the public’s mind” that his group of “patriots” was allied with or sympathetic to the white nationalists....

When his group arrived in Charlottesville, “we put our own beliefs off to the side,” Yingling said. “Not one of my people said a word. They were given specific orders to remain quiet the entire time we were there. . . . Our mission was to help people exercise their First Amendment rights without being physically assaulted. It was a resounding success until we were just so drastically outnumbered that we couldn’t stop the craziness. It was nothing short of horrifying.”...

“Jacka---s,” was how he described both sides, meaning the white nationalists, who billed the gathering as Unite the Right, and the counterprotesters, many marching under the banner of Antifa, for “anti-fascist.” Yingling also criticized police, saying that officers were poorly prepared for the violence and not assertive enough in combating it and that they should have enlisted the militiamen to help prevent the mayhem.
The second-highest-rated comment over there is:
Yingling calls both sides in the protest "jackasses'. Yingling and his kind are bigger jackasses; bringing that kind of firepower to a protest. A bunch of punk cowboys who get erections dressing up and playing with guns. And did they have any effect on the outcome? No. Militias are bullsh - t. They just salivate for the day they can pop somebody. Buncha sickos. Grow up little boys.
Third highest-rated:
This is terrifying. You have armed individuals roaming the street who are neither military nor law enforcement but unapologetic storm troopers. Whatever this is, it is not about the first amendment.
ADDED: What would have happened if these people were not there? Would it have been more violent, or would the police have stepped up and maintained order? Remember that Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe defended the inaction of the policy, seemingly on the basis of the scariness of the militia people:
“It’s easy to criticize, but I can tell you this, 80 percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons. You saw the militia walking down the street, you would have thought they were an army.... I was just talking to the State Police upstairs; they had better equipment than our State Police had,” he said, referring to the militia members. "And yet not a shot was fired, zero property damage.”
I don't know where he got the 80% number.  He weirdly blames and credits the militia.

I got email from my earliest reader. It's titled: "I read your blog since 2001."

She's got to be the first, don't you think? I mean, I didn't even put the first post up until January 2004. So I've got to defer to her authority. She's been keeping an eye on this thing longer than I have.

Here's what she wrote:
I read your blog since 2001

And you really lost your way in the days of Trump. I stopped somewhere mid election 2016. Your comment section became abhorrent. While you like to champion free speech, the speech you host on your blog is disgusting. I suppose you thought there was money for your retirement in becoming the Trump blog (Simon is such a genius!) because why else would you become the comment section for his followers? A man who accomplished nothing without his dad making deals for him? You should be ashamed. Shame on you. I see today you are excuse making. Just shame on you in the same shame that the Donald didn't want to acknowledge he knew who Duke was in 2016 and on this Saturday wanted to make sure he still did not offend. You should be so ashamed, but I fear you are proud of yourself like a lawyer who defends the devil. Your [sic] always looking for an angle. You're wrong.
I invite your comments in the allegedly abhorrent comments section.

And here's a poll:

Check all that apply.
 
pollcode.com free polls

August 13, 2017

"There was no police presence. We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park watching."

"It was essentially just brawling on the street and community members trying to protect each other."

Said Brittany Caine-Conley, of the Sojourners United Church of Christ, quoted in "McAuliffe Counters Critics of Police Response to Charlottesville Violence" (NYT).

What is Governor McAuliffe's answer to the critics?
“You can’t stop some crazy guy who came here from Ohio and used his car as a weapon. He is a terrorist.”
That doesn't explain doing nothing about the fighting and brawling Caine-Conley describes. And if the police had managed the crowds, perhaps the car incident would not have been triggered.

Interesting that McAuliffe is calling Fields a "crazy guy." So many people seem intent on characterizing Fields as part of a significant political movement.
Jason Kessler, the organizer of the so-called Unite the Right rally... complained that the authorities had “exacerbated the violence” by failing to separate his followers from counterprotesters, leading to the melee.
I've seen how the police have managed crowds here in Madison, Wisconsin — huge rallies with opposing sides. I'd like to know how the police in Virginia could be so impotent. Are they so afraid of being accused of doing something wrong that they protect themselves by doing nothing?
Asked about the brawling and why police did not do more to control it, Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety, said in an interview on Sunday that “it was a volatile situation and it’s unfortunate people resorted to violence.’’ But, he said, “From our plan, to ensure the safety of our citizens and property, it went extremely well.’’

Governor McAuliffe also defended the police response, saying, “It’s easy to criticize, but I can tell you this, 80 percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons. You saw the militia walking down the street, you would have thought they were an army,” he added. “I was just talking to the State Police upstairs; they had better equipment than our State Police had,” he said, referring to the militia members. “And yet not a shot was fired, zero property damage.”
Pathetic. The police were afraid of the guns? But no shots were fired, even in response to punching and brawling. That makes it sound as though those people with guns were quite restrained, and yet they terrified the police.

At the Koi Kafé...

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... you can take the conversation wherever you want.

(And do consider using The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"Being an elevationist [the term they’ve coined for the theology of the new {marijuana-based} church] means being an explorer."

"Our spiritual journey is one of self-discovery, not one of dogma. We believe there is no one-path solution to life’s big questions. This is simply a supportive place for each one of us to find a pathway to our own spirituality, whatever that may be.... There are as many pathways to being an elevationist as there are elevationists."

Says Lee Molloy, quoted in "Holy smoke! The church of cannabis/As congregations dwindle, a new religion is lighting up Denver, Colorado. Aaron Millar joins the ‘elevationists’ of the International Church of Cannabis who worship the weed" (The Guardian).

Don't miss the photograph at the link of the beautifully painted interior of the 113-year-old church building that Lee and others were going to convert into apartments. But with marijuana legalized in Colorado: “We started having these stupid, fantastical conversations. What if we kept it as a church?” And "the International Church of Cannabis opened its doors with its own chapel, theology and video game arcade."

The idea of a church of marijuana is old.
But, in fact, cannabis use has long been part of religion, from ancient Chinese shamans to modern-day Rastafarians: inducing altered states of consciousness has been a cornerstone of belief since time immemorial. And even without drugs, whether it’s spinning Sufi dancers or drumming voodoo priests, or even just simple prayer or meditation, taking the mind to a higher plane has always been a road to the divine, whatever you may conceive that to be.
Many years ago, I based a Constitutional Law exam on a case I'd read about, where people had formed a church around marijuana use with the hope of being able to argue that they were entitled under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to an exemption from the federal criminal law. I seem to remember the name of the religion as "Our Church," but that might just have been the name I came up with for the exam.

Elevationists is a good name, referring to getting high. (The Anglicans have dibs on High Church.)

The key thing here isn't that they've thought of a new religion (or are screwing around with the idea of religion).  This is a story about real estate, interior design, and art.

"[T]he types who surfaced in Charlottesville on Saturday are certainly human beings of the most repellent and disgusting sort, murderous too..."

"... pretty much violent, evil sociopaths. I wouldn't mind if they were all rounded up, put in a space ship, and sent on a one-way trip to Alpha Centauri.... What happened in Charlottesville isn't us. It's just a small group of real bad people. Indict them, convict them, and lock them up for a long as possible. The rest of us should move on."

Writes Roger Simon in a post that's been linked to twice in the last 2 hours at Instapundit — first by Ed Driscoll...
ROGER SIMON: Is Charlottesville Really What’s Going on in the USA?

Read the whole thing.
... and second by Glenn Reynolds...
I WAS GOING TO WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT CHARLOTTESVILLE TODAY, but honestly I don’t think I could do better than Roger Simon. I do want to echo his comment that, for all the racial tension we see in the media and in politics, out in the actual world black and white people seem to be getting along pretty well. I wrote something about that here.
Somehow, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I look at those people — with their cheesy tiki torches, their cosplay shields, and their lack of female companionship — and I see them as lost souls. I'd like to invite them down off the ledge and into a more rational, loving human existence.

I wouldn't throw them in a basket of deplorables or shoot them on a one-way trip to Alpha Centauri. I wouldn't "Indict them, convict them, and lock them up for a long as possible." If any individual commits a crime, enforce the criminal law following the same standards of due process that apply to everyone else and impose a fair sentence. But don't go after people because you hate them as a group, and don't use criminal law to squelch thought and speech.

Less hate. More love. Less censorship. More speech.

"Surban is the new suburban."

The National Association of Realtors would like to teach you a new word.
You'll sound like you've been spending a lot of time in pubs and microbreweries if — instead of "suburban" — you say "surban."

What do we know about James Alex Fields Jr.?

I'll link to the Google news search on his name. He's been arrested and accused of driving the car that drove into a crowd of people on the street in Charlottesville yesterday. I can see that he's from Ohio.

NPR has a quote from his mother:
"I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump's not a white supremacist," said Bloom, who became visibly upset as she learned of the injuries and deaths at the rally.

"He had an African-American friend so ...," she said before her voice trailed off. She added that she'd be surprised if her son's views were that far right, according to the AP.
NPR writes "she knew he was attending a rally in Virginia" but "didn't know it was a white supremacist rally." Notice the assumption that it's simply a fact that it was "a white supremacist rally." I'm not sure that's established. I don't think you can assume that everyone who attended that rally has a "white supremacist" ideology, but I think there's a big effort right now to lump the entire alt-right into that category. I think it's better to treat people as individuals and not throw them into stereotypes (especially if the stereotypes are going to be big and crude). To be carefully factually accurate, you shouldn't assume that a person from out of town who is driving a car is attending the rally.

More from NPR:
In a photo posted to Twitter by the Anti-Defamation League and reported by BuzzFeed, a man who appears to be Fields Jr. can be seen brandishing a black shield handed out by the self-proclaimed fascist group Vanguard America.
Are these 2 pictures of the same man?



I don't know. The second picture seems to have a sharply over-shaved space between the eyebrows. In the first picture, it's hard to see past the sunglasses, but the eyebrows may be more natural. The hair in photo #1 seems more squared off . The ears seem closer to the head in photo #2. Would he really have changed shirts? And don't men usually stick to one style of undershirt and not switch between a high and low necklines?

Those black shields may make people look like they're in the same group, but if the shields were being "handed out," then any lost soul might end up carrying something without knowing what the group that handed it out says it means. And it's just stupid cardboard held in a hand. Is "brandishing" really a sensibly journalistic word?

Plainly, no. To "brandish" is "To flourish, wave about (a sword, spear, dart, club, or other manual weapon) by way of threat or display, or in preparation for action" (OED). Even if it were a real shield and not a cardboard "mock up," a shield is not a weapon.

Let's carefully collect and examine evidence about James Alex Fields Jr. and about what happened in Charlottesville on Saturday. If you hate violence and hatred, don't take the kinds of mental shortcuts that are the machinery of violence and hatred. Let's be better than that.

ADDED: If the crowd had been right wing and the driver of the car could be connected to the left, I think the media would be imposing the mental illness template as quickly as it could.

"I kept getting teased about dating a cougar. But the age difference never really bothered me because we just hit it off, and I wasn’t about to let her go."

Said the 94-year-old man who married the 98-year-old woman, quoted in the "Weddings" section of the NYT.
"Age doesn’t mean a damn thing to me or to Gert,” [Alvin Mann] said. “We don’t see it as a barrier. We still do what we want to do in life.”...

Last year, Mr. Mann became the oldest person to graduate from Mount St. Mary College... At 93, he drove 80 miles round trip twice a week for nearly two and a half years to accrue the 30 credits needed to obtain a degree he had started working on in his 70s....

“We studied many historical events like World War II and the Vietnam and Korean Wars, but this was stuff I had actually lived through,” Mr. Mann said. “No wonder I aced most of my exams.”...

“This man is 94 years old, and I see him outside chopping down trees, dragging logs out of the woods with his old Ford tractor, stacking firewood and cutting the grass,” [a neighbor] said. “Then I see him and Gert running around like two high school sweethearts, holding hands and kissing, and driving to New York City on weekends....”

I'm not horrified by "the latest horrifying subway trend."

If you have an app on your phone that lets anyone within 300 feet of you send you files because you've got the setting on "Everyone" (and not "Contacts Only" or "Receiving Off"), you should expect to receive dick pics. But the New York Post presents this as a "horrifying trend" story:
Britta Carlson, 28, was riding the uptown 6 train to a concert on July 27 when a mysterious message popped up on her smartphone.

“iPhone 1 would like to share a note with you,” read the note sent at 6:51 p.m. She hit “Accept” and was horrified by what she saw. “It was just a huge close-up picture of a disgusting penis,” said Carlson, of Bushwick, Brooklyn...."
She even hit "accept"!
... “It really felt like someone had actually just flashed me.... It never even crossed my mind that someone may use it to send stuff like that"....
How can you be 28 years old and capable of riding on the subway in New York City and have a mind that wouldn't imagine such a thing happening?

Yes, of course, it's fake news. It's click bait. And yet, I would encourage you to click just to see the photograph of the expression on Britta Carlson's face — as she holds up her iPhone and reenacts the "horror" that struck at 6:51 p.m. on July 27. I don't know if she re-drew her eyebrows into the oh-it's-so-disgusting position for the photo-session.

By the way, was the penis in the photograph diseased or deformed in some way, or was it called "a disgusting penis" simply because it was a penis? Penises don't deserve that kind of free-floating contempt.

August 12, 2017

"A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack/Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system."

Writes Patrick Lawrence in The Nation. Excerpt:
Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate—the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second....

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between—but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone....

"We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered."

I'm reading "51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature" (Buzzfeed).

The amazing tombstone of Jules Verne.


CC BY-SA 2.0

I don't think I've ever seen that before. I encountered it as I was working on some photographs I took last month at Hicks Cemetery in Perrysville, Indiana. I had a question that was difficult to phrase, and I only arrived at Jules Verne's tombstone because of the awkwardness of my search terms. I still don't know the answer to my question, which is whether there is a conventional artistic idea of half carving a stone for someone who died young. That is, the stone is made to look incompletely carved as a way to express the idea of a life not fully lived. On one side it resembles rough stone. I don't have an appropriate photograph to show you of that stone, but here is one of the photographs I was working on when I thought of that question.

P1140195

As for Jules Verne's grave:
Two years after his death a sculpture entitled “Vers l’Immortalité et l’Eternelle Jeunesse” (“Towards Immortality and Eternal Youth”) was erected atop his marker. Designed by sculptor Albert Roze, and using the actual death mask of the writer, the statue depicts the shrouded figure of Jules Verne breaking his own tombstone and emerging from the grave.
The grave is in the Cimetière de la Madeleine in Amiens, France. The link goes to Google Maps, where the street view will not take you onto the paths inside the cemetery. The same is true of the Hicks Cemetery. You can go right up to the gate, but you can't "walk" around inside.

I can't type "statue" without first making the typo "statute."

Too many years in the legal field, I guess. It's sad, really, because I studied art before I went to law school, and I even took a course or 2 called Sculpture. So I've made sculptures, but have I made statues?

That's a question I'll answer in a minute. First, I want to tell you about the etymology of "statute" and "statue." This subject came up for me today as I was making typos writing the post about the uproar in Charlottesville, which has something to do with the city's effort to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee.

I researched "statute" and "statue" in the OED and at Etymology Online, and I learned something I'd never figured out before: The words have a common ancestor, the Latin word statuere, which is the neuter past participle of the Latin word stare (the "stare" in "stare decisis," which means "to stand by things decided").

So both "statute" and "statue" are things that have been stood up, which makes me want to say "erected," but we only say a statue has been "erected." We say a statute has been "enacted." (And a statute is often called an "act.") The word "act" (in Latin āctus) is about all sorts of doing and moving, and not specifically setting something in an upright position. "Erect" comes from the Latin ērectus, which is the past participle of the word that means "to set up."

It's interesting that we don't say that statutes are "erected." Perhaps we don't want to concede that they are upright. They are simply moved into place by legislatures. And yet, when a court finds a statute unconstitutional, we say that the court strikes it down, which makes it sound as though it had been standing upright before the court got to it. To be strictly legally correct, an unconstitutional statute is a nullity all along, and the court is only giving us that information. It's finding the statute unconstitutional, not making it unconstitutional, so the use of the phrase "strike down" is a bad way to talk about what the court is doing — unless you mean to say the court is going beyond its proper power.

So then, have I made any statutes statues? Any 3 dimensional art is sculpture. (I'm having flashbacks to art school debates about whether a painting with thickly textured paint is at some point — what point?! — sculpture.) But a statue is a much narrower category of sculpture. It must be "A representation in the round of a person, animal, etc." — etc.! — especially if it's "a god, allegorical figure, or eminent person," and it's "usually life-size or larger" (OED). Well, I've never done anything that fit within the "especially" or the "usually" clause.

Let's just say I've made statuettes of nonentities.

"After the [white nationalist] rally at a city park was dispersed, a car plowed into a crowd near the city’s downtown mall, killing at 32-year-old woman..."

"Some 35 were injured; at least 19 in the car crash, according to a spokeswoman for the University of Virginia Medical Center. The authorities did not immediately say whether the episode was related to the white nationalists’ demonstration, but several witnesses and video of the scene suggested that it might have been intentional. Chief Thomas said that a suspect had been taken into custody and that police were treating the episode as a criminal homicide. Witnesses said a crowd of counterdemonstrators, jubilant because the white nationalists had left, was moving up Fourth Street, near the mall, when a gray sports car came down the road and accelerated, mowing down several people and hurling at least two in the air."

The NYT reports.

President Trump said (NYT):
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides... It’s been going on for a long time in our country. It’s not Donald Trump, it’s not Barack Obama."

After calling for the “swift restoration of law and order,” Mr. Trump offered a call for unity among Americans of “all races, creeds and colors.”
And:
“We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
Some people think this "on many sides" nonspecificity is a problem. For example, Chuck Schumer: “Until @POTUS specifically condemns alt-right action in Charlottesville, he hasn’t done his job.”

At the Silver Door Café...

P1140232

... come on in and talk about whatever you like.

Let me also encourage you to use The Althouse Amazon Portal. Here are some things I bought recently: a new hydropack (that's nicely lightweight and roomy enough for me), a muddler (which we used to squish fresh basil in the bottom of a glass to which we add ice and lemonade), a set of pin-striped cutting boards.

"A 6-year-old... can seem like a black hole into which you pour all your attention, hopes and dreams to no avail."

"They are not happy and not grateful. Why does this happen? Is your child intrinsically selfish? No, not really. She is a child, so she is naturally self-oriented, but in essence, you are giving her too much of what she doesn’t need. What she needs is for you to stop trying to make her happy. Stop planning too many events for her. Stop taking her bad attitude personally.... [H]umans are funny in that the more we try to please them, the more it elicits bad behavior. When we try to make our kids happy, we end up becoming needy. The kids control our moods, our plans, our parenting and our confidence. It is paradoxical, but by taking back the planning and letting go of how grateful your daughter appears, you regain the power you are giving away. She feels your confidence and will begin to relax in that she is no longer in charge of everyone’s feelings. Trust me, there will be major fits thrown as you hold the boundary of keeping your own agenda; your daughter will not like this at all, but over time, she will relax. And you have to give this time."

From "Our 6-year-old has a fun, comfortable life. Why isn’t she grateful?" (WaPo).

"Swift’s testimony on Thursday was, in BuzzFeed’s words 'badass and amazing,' and in CNN’s words 'firm, even snarky.'"

"Or as GQ writer Caity Weaver put it, 'SHE DROPPED THE MIC SO HARD IT FELL THROUGH THE FUCKIN FLOOR. ONLY QUESTION IS "WHERE CAN WE GET ANOTHER MIC, THIS ONE HAS BEEN ANNIHILATED."'"

From "The Taylor Swift groping trial shows how we think about who’s entitled to women’s bodies" (in Vox).
Throughout her testimony, Swift insisted on placing all responsibility on the man who allegedly groped her, refusing to be redirected. Here are some quotes from the testimony in question.

"White nationalists and counterprotesters are expected to flood downtown Charlottesville Saturday as the Virginia city braces for the 'Unite the Right' rally."

"By noon, thousands are expected to gather in Emancipation Park, where barricades have been placed in proximity to the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The rally comes hours after a large group of torch-bearing white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus Friday night."

CNN reports.

The city council has voted to take down the statue of General Lee (and to rename 2 parks named after Confederate generals). What, exactly, is the big deal about a march espousing a political point of view? Isn't this the sort of thing Americans should take in stride? Why not say some kind words about free speech, register your disagreement with the opinion the crowd is expressing, and move on?

I think the best answer to that last question is that people who disagree with the opinion see an opportunity to express their own opinion, to use the assembled crowd as a platform to express disagreement with the opinion expressed by that crowd. There's nothing really wrong with that, but why should onlookers like me get riled up about anything? It's just another normal day in America.

But that's not what CNN wants me to think. It's telling me that Charlottesville is a "quiet and progressive town." Nestled there are "residents on edge" (because noisy out-of-towners have arrived to speak on behalf of the monumentally silent statue). A "business owner" is quoted saying that townsfolk "have a lot of fears," and "are just anxious." He mentions "a blood bath... looting... mass arrests... police having to turn on citizens." I don't understand what that refers to. Counterprotests? Which "citizens" are the police going to have to turn on? Citizens of the quiet and progressive town of Charlottesville who are beset by outsiders exercising their free speech rights?

CNN quotes Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics: "In my 47 years of association with @UVA, this was the most nauseating thing I've ever seen. We need an exorcism on the Lawn." Could somebody explain what he's so upset about? Why can't you look at a protest march you disagree with?

Is there something about torches? If so, after they tear down the statue of Robert E. Lee, they'd better tear down the Statue of Liberty.



"A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame/Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name/Mother of Exiles...."

Watch the Governor of Guam talking on his speaker phone to President Trump, who tells him "You're going to become extremely famous."

On Facebook.

Trump tells him (Eddie Baza Calvo) that everybody's talking about him and about Guam and: "Tourism. I can say this: Tourism, you're going to go up, like, tenfold." Trump tells him Guam looks beautiful, and the Governor says "It's paradise" and laughs and laughs.

Trump says — "just between you and I" — "You don't talk like they talk. You can't do that. And you can't do that with people like us."

"Jury orders blogger to pay $8.4 million to ex-Army colonel she accused of rape."

WaPo reports.
Col. David “Wil” Riggins, after a highly decorated Army career that included multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was on the verge of promotion to brigadier general in July 2013 when he... learned that a blogger in Washington state had just accused him of raping her, when both were cadets at West Point in 1986...

Riggins waived his right to an attorney and immediately gave a statement denying any sexual assault of the woman, Susan Shannon of Everett, Wash. Shannon also cooperated with the CID investigation, which could not “prove or disprove Ms. Shannon’s allegation she was raped,” the CID report concluded. But in the spring of 2014, with the armed forces facing heavy criticism for their handling of sexual assault cases, Secretary of the Army John McHugh recommended removing Riggins from the list for promotion to general. Riggins promptly retired.

Then, Riggins sued Shannon for defamation, claiming that every aspect of her rape claim on the West Point campus was “provably false,” and that she wrote two blog posts and a Facebook post “to intentionally derail [his] promotion” to brigadier general....
The jury sided with Riggins and awarded him $3.4 million in compensatory damages and — "to make sure nothing like this will ever happen again" (as one juror put it) — $5 million in punitive damages. The punitive damages will be reduced to $350,000, because that's the cap in Virginia, and the compensatory damages are expected to be reduced to $2 million. Shannon is, according to WaPo, a "stay at home mother of 3 teenagers." WaPo quotes Shannon saying "I feel like I'm a financial slave for the rest of my life."

Much more at the article, including details about what Shannon wrote in the blog post and how some things she said were "provably false," such as the assertion that West Point served "FREE beer" on the night in question. The top-rated comment is:
I am a liberal feminist. Please do not paint all of us with the brush. That said, I believe in evidence and justice for all. Women have historically been disbelieved when accusing men of rape. Nevertheless, I also know that some women use the accusation for vengeance. Based on the information in this article, I would vote with those jurors without hesitation. Denial of the truth of the Newtown tragedy speaks volumes about the woman's credibility.
ADDED: The comment I quoted refers to Shannon's blogging, that the Newtown shooting was “a planned event." She wrote: “I believe our GOVERNMENT shot those kids and teachers and used Adam Lanza and his family to pull it off.” (But that was not part of the evidence the jury heard.)

August 11, 2017

"President Donald Trump warned of possible military action in Venezuela..."

The WSJ reports (in an article I was able to reach without a subscription (via Drudge)):
“I’m not going to rule out a military option,” Mr. Trump told reporters when asked about the situation in the South American country. “Venezuela is a mess. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” he said.

The remarks came a day after President Nicolás Maduro said in a speech to the newly formed constituent assembly that he wanted to speak with Mr. Trump by phone or meet him when he visits the U.S. next month for the United Nations General Assembly.... But Mr. Maduro also reiterated his criticism of Mr. Trump as the leader of an “imperial power,” calling him a threat to the global order....

"Having turned 80 last year, I have developed an appreciation for various activities that tend to keep me resilient."

"First would be daily physical exercise. Then comes the forced smile at bad times. Forcing yourself to smile makes you take a deep breath. And deep breathing at random times is productive. Also to keep the mind going keep up with what is going on and contribute comments on the current situation. Some inhalation of medicinal marijuana is also suggested. And get a dog to love."

The second-highest-rated comment on a NYT article titled "How to Build Resilience in Midlife."

Key phrase: contribute comments....

At the Library Café...

P1140227

... you can read and write all you want.

P1140228

The photographs, taken on July 28th, come from Perrysville, Indiana, where Meade went to church when he was a little boy.

(And please consider using The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"Do not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you."

It's not advice for watching the solar eclipse. It's advice for the people of Guam.

"I have known, worked for, and taught countless men who could have written the now-infamous Google 'manifesto' — or who are on some level persuaded by it."

"Given these facts, I’d like to treat it — and them — with some degree of charity and try to explain why it generated so much outrage."

Writes Cynthia Lee in "I'm a woman in computer science. Let me ladysplain the Google memo to you" (Vox).

Read that. I'm not going to ladysplain the ladysplaining.

I tried to help you guys long ago when I devised the rule that many people have repeated and called The Althouse Rule (e.g., Instapundit, 3 days ago). The rule, as I put it in November 2005:
Scientists: remember to portray whatever you find to be true of women as superior.

I've said it before, and I must repeat, the rule is: If you do scientific research into the differences between men and women, you must portray whatever you find to be true of women as superior. And when you read reports about scientific research into the differences between men and women, use the hypothesis that the scientists are following that rule. It makes reading the reports quite humorous.
I've mainly used this rule to make fun of reports that follow this rule. I said:
It's patronizing. And it's unscientific! I understand the motivation of the scientists, though. I think they have reason to be afraid not to couch their findings this way.
Apparently, Damore wasn't sufficiently afraid. He didn't see that this was the unacknowledged rule. Google is a safe space, muffling the fear. That in itself is something to be afraid of. When sparing everyone fear is the order of the day, you need to fear you will be deemed the embodiment of the fear that others must be spared. Then you're completely unsafe. And gone. No man, no fear.

I'd been thinking that if only Damore had followed the rule, maybe he wouldn't have gotten fired. I have been tempted to take his memo and rewrite it following The Althouse Rule. I'm rereading the memo, however, looking for a good paragraph to make an example of, and it's not that easy to find one. I think Damore did try to assume a neutral pose and balanced the aptitudes he ascribed to the 2 gender stereotypes.

If anything, it seems better to fit his female stereotype. I mean if you were a soul in the ante-chamber to life and given your choice how to enter the world, with only this document to use to decide whether to enter your allotted human life as a male or a female, wouldn't you pick female? You have your one shot at living the life of a human being: Do you want to be oriented toward people and cooperation or to things and competition?

What if you have a "these are not my people" response to your job?

You may have seen Megan McArdle's excellent column, "As a Woman in Tech, I Realized: These Are Not My People/The Google memo, saying women aren't very into engineering, reached a similar conclusion."

When McArdle was in her mid-20s, she worked as a technology consultant in finance. She left the job not because was "very male-centric" (which it was), but because she realize that she was psychically different from the other people in a way that would make it harder for her to succeed and to feel good in the process:
... I came into work one Monday morning and joined the guys at our work table, and one of them said “What did you do this weekend?”

I was in the throes of a brief, doomed romance. I had attended a concert that Saturday night. I answered the question with an account of both. The guys stared blankly. Then silence. Then one of them said: “I built a fiber-channel network in my basement,” and our co-workers fell all over themselves asking him to describe every step in loving detail.

At that moment I realized that fundamentally, these are not my people. I liked the work. But I was never going to like it enough to blow a weekend doing more of it for free. Which meant that I was never going to be as good at that job as the guys around me....
It's a great personal anecdote, and we're consuming it knowing that when McArdle bailed out she got into another line of work and it seems to have worked out quite well for her. If she's had any "these are not my people" moments in her career as a columnist, she's not telling.

Some of us might have responses like this wherever we go. Much has been written on the "imposter syndrome," which seems awfully similar. Often we look around and see that other people seem happier, more well adjusted, more perfectly slotted into this job that feels like a job to us. But you don't see the inside of the minds of other people.

For example, when McArdle spoke of her weekend of "throes" of "romance" and saw on their faces only blankness, what was behind that blankness" More blankness? Maybe inside they were screaming:

Throes! Romance! Where are my throes? Where's my romance? A single smile of romance would mean so much to me and she's shrugging off whole throes of romance as if it's nothing! Doomed! Doomed! She says. But I'm the one who's doomed! I don't even have a doomed romance! What I would give for one weekend — one Sunday morning — of even doomed romance! Throes?! What are throes? Orgasms? Or is it something more, with a woman? What could it be? How could I ever know? Throes? Even one throe! Could I ever offer myself to the sublime Megan McArdle? No, I am doomed. Don't let her see that I want even the doomed romance, even for one quarter of a weekend. Don't let her know. Maintain a blank stare, like the other men — all of us, bereft of romance, bereft of throes. Oh, that poor geek saying he built a fiber-channel network in his basement over the weekend, as if his abject loserhood could make Megan smile. Megan, smile at me. I want weekend throes! But what a loser I am! At least, let's prop up our ridiculous brother who resorted to self-deprecation. So desperate. But I'm desperate too. Let me help cover up the desperation that guy let slip. That could have been me. I'm embarrassed for him. You'll never impress Megan like that. I wouldn't be surprised if she left this job thinking that she just doesn't belong here, that nobody wants to talk about relationships, that we're happy blowing the weekend wiring a basement. Megan, we're not happy! Help us, Megan! Tell us about the throes and the doom and the romance!