Wednesday, April 27, 2016


April 27, 2016

"Paranoia strikes deep. Into your mind it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid...."

Thanks to Paul for linking to that in the comments to my "Feel the Berm" post.

ADDED: How did they film that?

Here's the video of Trump's foreign policy speech, the one that Cruz stepped on with his Fiorina's-my-VP announcement.

Classes just ended for the semester, and it's raining here in Wisconsin, where I'm nursing a bruised (broken?) rib after my feel-the-berm experience last Sunday, so I'm just going to settle in and watch Trump read the teleprompter. I watched a few minutes of it live. Got distracted by the hand gestures. It was like he was signing "L" and "O" repeatedly — LOL.

Here's the full transcript of the speech.

"The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed ready to side with Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia who was convicted of public corruption and faces two years in prison."

"Justices across the ideological spectrum said the laws under which he had been convicted gave prosecutors too much power to say that routine political favors amounted to corruption," writes Adam Liptak in the NYT.
“It puts at risk behavior that is common,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer. “That is a recipe for giving the Justice Department and prosecutors enormous power over elected officials.”

Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, was prosecuted on charges that he had used his office to help a businessman, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., who had showered the governor and his wife with luxury products, loans and vacations worth more than $175,000. The gifts themselves were legal, and the question in the case was whether they were part of a corrupt bargain in which Mr. McDonnell reciprocated by using the power of his office to help Mr. Williams....

Michael R. Dreeben, a lawyer for the federal government, said... a narrow definition was “a recipe for corruption” that would “send a terrible message to citizens.”

Justice Breyer responded that “I’m not in the business of sending messages in a case like this,” adding, “I’m in the business of trying to figure out the structure of the government.”

"Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, desperate to alter the course of a presidential primary fight... will announce Wednesday afternoon that Carly Fiorina will be his running mate if he wins the Republican nomination..."

"The move, a day after Mr. Trump scored unexpectedly wide victory margins in sweeping five East Coast states, amounts to the grandest diversionary tactic a presidential candidate can stage...."

ADDED: In choosing Fiorina, Cruz throws away a key argument that should be usable against Trump — that a career in business is inadequate preparation for the presidency.

"The Stop Trump movement is a flailing exercise in self-indulgence that cannot get its act together, let alone chart a path to victory."

"The movement’s most delusional champions imagined for a brief moment—around the time of the Wisconsin primary—that they could get things going for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the only Republican contender who is less appealing than Trump. Cruz won Wisconsin, but then started on a losing streak that began with a miserable third-place finish in New York—behind not just Trump but also Ohio Governor John Kasich. Now Cruz has lost five more states.... The movement’s anointed one, Ted Cruz, was not just losing. In at least three of the states, the Texan was running behind Kasich.... The Republican Party is melting down, not because of Trump or because of the Stop Trump challenge but because the whole mess is so dispiriting."

Writes John Nichols in The Nation.

"We're going to be working very closely with our friends in the Muslim world, which are all at risk for violent attacks.... This has to be a two-way street. They must also be good to us. It's no longer one way, it's two way."

Said Donald Trump in his big, scripted foreign-policy speech just now.

"Am I actually seeing vaginas here, am I a pervert? I’m either a pervert or this woman was a pervert."

Said the schoolteacher, drumming up interest in art by describing how someone viewing a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe might have felt. Allison Wint got fired for using the word "vagina" without prior approval as supposedly required by Harper Creek Middle School policy... though other teachers seem to be saying that what the policy requires is approval "before discussing reproductive health," and obviously the question of what a painting looks like is not about reproductive health.

I'd like to know the entire context, and so far I'm critical of the school for firing this woman, but I do have a few problems with what she said: 1. Please maintain the vulva/vagina distinction (especially if you want to rely on the claim that you were using anatomical terminology). 2. O'Keeffe paintings looking like genitalia is trite and probably too cheap of a way to try to get adolescents interested in art, and 3. Don't use the word "pervert" to describe people who are interested in looking at the details of genitalia! "Pervert" is the real bad word here. My dictionary — the OED — defines it as "A person whose sexual behaviour or inclinations are regarded as abnormal and unacceptable" and gives as the earliest historic use of the word — I'm not kidding — "The virulent fagotty-minded pervert Scheffler" (from 1856, R. A. Vaughan, Hours with Mystics).

Donald Trump did not just win in all of the 5 states yesterday. He won in every county in each of the 5 states.

The Hill reports.

ADDED: Trump also outperformed the Real Clear Politics poll average in each of the 5 states.

AND: The NYT's poll analyst Nate Cohn observes that his "demographic-based models systematically underestimated Mr. Trump’s performance."
Mr. Trump’s overperformance was broad — spanning nearly every kind of county across all of the states in play.

That raises the possibility of a broad shift in Mr. Trump’s favor over the last month....
And, just when Indiana was getting important, "He might not even need Indiana if he maintains the loyalty of the unbound delegates who said they would vote for the winner of their district in Pennsylvania, or simply if he wins big in California. And after Tuesday night, a big win in California looks quite possible."

Do you think Trump can't get elected because he's got such high unfavorability ratings and no one ever gets elected with negatives like that?

I've become bored at the sight of another column on that subject. You think Trump's speech is bad? How about the overwhelming badness of the speech about Trump? This one idea has been stated and stated so many times: Trump can't be popular because he's so unpopular. In the end he'll have to lose, because at some point all that unpopularity is going to have to catch up with and overtake the popularity.

Scott Adams rips into "The Unfavorability Illusion":
Literally everything about Trump’s campaign has violated form. He has no government experience, he isn’t polite, he hasn’t mastered the policy details, he isn’t taking money from big donors, and on and on. Yet he is poised to take the Republican nomination.

So none of the old rules apply to Trump.... No traditional politician could overcome a 70% unfavorability rating at this stage of the election cycle. But Trump isn’t a traditional politician.... Trump has special tools....
There follows a 13-point list of things Trump could do to win. You might think: That's a lot of points, but I think there's something we could call The List Illusion. The fact that there is a list with a 13 points gives the impression that there must 13 separate, distinctive things of relatively equivalent weight. But, come on. That'sso many points. It's kind of a con within the dispelling of an illusion about a con. There's stuff like:
8. Trump has already improved his haircut. The color is no longer orange and the cut is much better. Humans are visual creatures, and that old haircut probably accounted for about 10 points of his 70% unfavorable rating....

12. Trump can push “love” over hate. As I predicted some time ago, he is already saying love, love, love. This persuasion will take lots of time and repetition to have an impact, but Trump has time, and he controls the rate of repetition.
Scott Adams can't lose. It's 1. funny and 2. interesting and 3. weird and 4. readable and 5. different and 6. Trump-related and 7. often presented in the form of a list and 8. he's bald and 9. we pre-love him for "Dilbert" and 10. he says love and 11. he's always telling us that it's for entertainment purposes only and 12. he's always already entertaining us and 13. 13 is a good number.

Man in Brooklyn gets sucker-punched by a guy who says: "This is because you look exactly like Shia LaBeouf!"

"I didn't even see the guy. I just see his fist coming towards me. It knocked me, and while I was falling down the stairs, all I hear was, 'This is because you look exactly like Shia LaBeouf!'"

WaPo columnist Kathleen Parker, trying her best to exemplify elitism, writes a column titled "Plato would be horrified by Trump’s rise."

Here. A commenter has an apt response:
As if Parker knows or cares anything about Plato. And as if her readers don't know and care even less. Plato was horrified by democracy itself. He thought the best form of government was one in which there's a dictator who's a philosopher. I'm supposed to care about what would horrify Plato?
I'm sure there's a Greek word for the rhetorical device of adopting the guise of someone else to deliver an opinion of one's own. It's a classic of religionists — who seem to know what God/Jesus/Muhammad thinks of what you are doing — and mothers — who've historically resorted to the terrifying news that your fatherwouldn't like that.

The column, by the way, was originally developed for a lecture she gave at the University of Virginia School of Law. She exhibits pride this provenance, but I can't imagine using the law school classroom to lambaste a particular political candidate.

April 26, 2016

Hillary and Trump win everything tonight.

There. That's all you need to know. You don't have to dwell on it. Tonight is simple.

COMPLICATION: Bernie takes Rhode Island and Connecticut is still not called.

$800 million of ISIS money...

... bombed to smithereens.

Meade titled the first picture "Feel the Berm."


That made a special impact on me.

Additional obstacles in my way, seen clearly now:


"Prince’s sister has said the superstar musician had no known will..."

"... and that she has filed paperwork asking a Minneapolis court appoint a special administrator to oversee his estate."
[Tyka] Nelson says in her filing that an emergency exists because immediate action is necessary to manage Prince’s business interests. She’s asked that Bremer Trust, a corporate trust company, be named administrator.

Donald Trump calls Lena Dunham "a B-actor" with "no mojo."

He was reacting to her tweeting that if he got elected, she'd move to Canada, so under the circumstances he wasn't being mean. Not too mean, anyway. And he was notably non-sexist. He said "actor" (not "actress," not that I think "actress" is bad) and he said "mojo" (a term for "sex appeal" or prowess in general that, if anything, skews male).

And I'm sure I've made this point before, but why does anyone think leaving the country is a strong statement of opposition to a particular President? Only you are leaving the country. The country is stuck with this President you think is so terrible. Isn't your objection to what this person will do to the country as opposed to you personally? What is accomplished by your departure? It seems to me that you're only serving your own interest in escape from what you don't like to experience, but the experience of someone being the President is, for most of us, only reading and hearing about it, and the news will still reach you in Canada. It's just so self-involved and self-coddling and upper-middle-class entitled, but perhaps that's the character she plays on Twitter and it's supposed to sound lame and confused, like the character she plays on "Girls."

Trump's joking continued: "Now I have to get elected because I'll be doing a great service to our country. Now it's much more important. In fact, I'll immediately get off this call and start campaigning right now." Now, now, now.

"Coke heads! What're ya gonna do? Gotta love Bernie Boy. He's crazeeee...."

"God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod: The Art of Loving Correction for Christian Parents."

One of many books the librarians of Awful Library Books have targeted for deaccessioning. And:
Sometimes it’s the subject matter that seems absurd. Of “Wax in Our World,” a nonfiction book for young adults, Kelly said, “Who came into a publisher’s office and said, you know, the kids really need a book about wax?”
The idea is to free up space by removing books that are actually bad rather than going by how often the book has been checked out. Many great books are rarely checked out, but you should want them on the shelves.

AND: Though I laughed hysterically reading that bit about wax, I sobered up and read the Wikipedia article on wax and think it is a great topic for a young adult book. It could spark interest in chemistry and manufacturing. Kids are familiar with beeswax and ear wax and candles and crayons. What makes wax wax? What is wax useful for? There are wax museums — why wax? — and lava lamps. There's the lost-wax method of casting sculpture. There's sealing wax and ancient wax writing tablets. There's waxed paper and wax shoe polish. There's the wax put around cheeses. You might excite some girls (and boys) about chemistry with the wax that's in lipstick and mascara. There's the wax you put on skis and snowboards. There's the wax used in making designs on batik fabric and on Easter eggs. And it's good for jokes:
Wagstaff's Receptionist: The Dean is furious! He's waxing wroth!
Professor Wagstaff: Is Roth out there, too? Tell Roth to wax the Dean for awhile.

Listen to Debbie Wasserman Schultz splutter when questioned about why she called the FBI investigation into Hillary's email "ludicrous."

Here's the transcript:

"It is wholly unacceptable to haul children away from school in handcuffs for a charge that does not actually exist."

"The growing trend of criminalizing students — particularly students of color — within our educational system must stop," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the A.C.L.U. in Tennessee, after 10 children under the age of 12 were arrested in Murfreesboro in a reaction to a YouTube video showing them (allegedly them) in a YouTube video bullying a little boy.
“We have built our lives trying not to get in trouble,” [said the father of 3 of the arrested children]. “We don’t drink, don’t do drugs. We have lived and tried to live as blasé as possible, never trying to do more than we need to do, and we raise our kids to be model citizens so they don’t get in trouble. It is disheartening to us that our kids have to go through this.” 
Here's the video.