June 23, 2017

"When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? I want to clarify: I’m not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it’s been a while and maybe it’s time."

Said the terribly stupid Johnny Depp. (NYT)

I think sometimes people who are very beautiful don't get a good read of how stupid they are. It's unfair really. Unfair to the rest of us that they are so good looking, and unfair to them that they don't get normal feedback over the course of a lifetime.

"Any Obamacare replacement needs to cover more people than Obamacare, or else it is dead on arrival."

"Any skilled persuader would see that," says Scott Adams.
Now, President Trump and the Republicans have the “going second” problem. The public will compare their proposed bill with Obamacare and conclude that the one metric they understand – the number of people covered – does not compare favorably with Obamacare. The contrast is fatal.

"California invested heavily in solar power. Now there's so much that other states are sometimes paid to take it."

The L.A. Times reports.
When there isn’t demand for all the power the state is producing, CAISO [the California Independent System Operator, which runs the electric grid and shares responsibility for preventing blackouts and brownouts] needs to quickly sell the excess to avoid overloading the electricity grid, which can cause blackouts. Basic economics kick in. Oversupply causes prices to fall, even below zero. That’s because Arizona has to curtail its own sources of electricity to take California’s power when it doesn’t really need it, which can cost money. So Arizona will use power from California at times like this only if it has an economic incentive — which means being paid....
This is complicated! Why don't they store the extra in batteries? They don't know how yet.

Meanwhile:

"My dad told me he knew he wanted to marry my mom when the McDonald's opened in Moscow after the USSR crumbled and she ate 6 Big Macs in a row."

From "Married men of Reddit: what moment with your future wife made you think 'Yup, I'm asking this girl to marry me'?"

Is CBS trying to say — without taking responsibility for saying — that the 2 holdout jurors in the Cosby case were black?

The article, which went up last night, is titled "Prosecutors "really screwed it up when it came to the charges" against Cosby, juror says." Here's the key paragraph:
The jury was comprised of seven men and five women, and two jurors were African American. The juror told CBS News that they were not split down gender lines or age lines. He said the jurors' ages ranged from 21 to 86.
A comment from JerryK2B at the link:
The writer states "The jury was comprised of seven men and five women, and two jurors were African American. The juror told CBS News that they were not split down gender lines or age lines. He said the jurors' ages ranged from 21 to 86." So is this code for the two holdouts were African American? If it is then shame on you CBS.
Why, exactly, is it shameful?

1. Because we shouldn't talk about race? We should be colorblind? If it's okay to talk about the differences between individuals in terms of gender and age, what's wrong with talking about their race? A jury is supposed to represent the different kinds of people in the community, and we purport to value different points of view. Why shouldn't we want to think about the point of view of black people when a white woman accuses a black man of sexual assault?

2. Because it's coy? Either it's acceptable to talk about it or it's not. By using "code," CBS displays shame. It's shameful to do what you think is shameful, even if it wouldn't be shameful to do it if you were not ashamed. If you think it's wrong to say something, then don't find some sneaky way to say it. Either speak straightforwardly or keep it to yourself.

3. Because we've been given information in a form that is unclear enough that we are not able to talk about it. We are roped into the secretiveness and shame.

Meanwhile... Bill Cosby is not participating in the mainstream media shame agenda:
“Mr. Cosby wants to get back to work,” his spokesman Andrew Wyatt said on WBRC’s “Good Day Alabama” in Birmingham. “We’re now planning town halls and we’re going to be coming to this city sometime in July … to talk to young people because this is bigger than Bill Cosby. This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today, and they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things that they shouldn’t be doing. And it also affects married men.
Birmingham, Alabama — so central to the Civil Rights Movement — has a population that is 73.4% black.

Birmingham, Alabama... young athletes... Is the Cosby spokesman speaking in code?

"What I've told leadership very clearly is I'm going to need time, and my constituents are going to need time, to evaluate exactly how this is going to affect them."

"I personally think that holding a vote on this next week would definitely be rushed. I can't imagine, quite honestly, that I'd have the information to evaluate and justify a yes vote within just a week."

Said my sensible Senator, Ron Johnson.

June 22, 2017

Trump reveals that he doesn't have and did not make "'tapes' or recordings" of his conversations with James Comey.

Trump comes out with a 2-part tweet today:
With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea...

...whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.
Trump originally tweeted back on May 12th:
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
A couple weeks ago, after Comey's testimony, Trump said that he'd tell us soon whether there were tapes and reporters were "going to be very disappointed with the answer." We did a poll back then about why he was being coy and not just telling us whether or not there were recordings. Here are the poll results:



Some readers observed that the first and third responses could both be true. I think that's probably right. It certainly did restrict Comey's testimony. At one point, Comey said "Lordy, I hope there are tapes," and some people took that to mean I hope there are tapes because they will prove me right, but I thought that statement could just as well mean I hope there are tapes because otherwise I'm unnecessarily restricting myself.

At the time of Trump's May 12th tweet — the original "Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes'" —  I thought it was interesting that he put "tapes" in quotes and said:
Is that to fend off inquiry into whether actual tape is used in making recordings? I remember when he famously tweeted that Obama "had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower," and later he — and others — made much of the quotation marks.
In today's tweet, he put "tapes" in quotes again but doesn't leave us wondering if he's hedging somehow. He makes it "'tapes' or recordings," with "recordings" not in quotes.

But Trump does leave some ambiguity with respect to whether there could be tapes that someone else made. He's not always so scrupulous about distinguishing between what he knows personally and what he has heard. For example, a few days ago, Trump tweeted that he's under investigation, but (according to his lawyer) he only meant that he saw that The Washington Post report that an anonymous source said that. Trump didn't personally know. Today's tweet acknowledges the strict factual reality that there could be recordings that Trump doesn't know about. I don't know if he wrote like that because he's become more precise and lawyerly in his use of language. Another motive to write that way is that he wanted to take a jab at the overreaching deep state. He succumbed to the temptation to insinuate that there are intelligence people who might record him without his knowledge.

By succumbing like that, he left open a loophole that a truly lawyerly writer would have seen and plugged. Today's tweet leaves open the possibility that he knows of recordings that he didn't make — because someone else did — and he doesn't have those recordings, but either: 1. Someone else is preserving those recordings or 2. Those recordings have been wiped (like with a cloth or something).

At the Arugula Café...

DSC_0021

... here at Meadhouse we can't look at arugula without saying "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?" but you can talk about whatever you want.

And, please, use The Althouse Amazon Portal to buy your 3/4 pants and jinbei and whatever else you might need.

"Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping. But it’s a tricky balancing act. We don’t want to dilute the magic."

"The British public and the whole world need institutions like it," said Prince Harry.

Also: "We are involved in modernising the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people... Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time."

"Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, recently tweeted that he and Queen Elizabeth II were 'friends with mutual benefits.'"

"I sympathize: English expressions are confusing, some of them feel almost deliberately obscure – designed to exclude non-native speakers from the joke," writes Mona Chalabi, who was inspired to interview her mother — whose first language is Arabic — about what various English expressions might mean.

It's a good idea, but the mother is too self-protective to serve up the kind of comic fun that, say, Ricky Gervais extracted from Karl Pilkington over the meaning of "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones":

Cosby jurors "initially voted overwhelmingly, in a non-binding poll, to find the entertainer not guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault."

But in the end, it was 10 to 2 for finding him guilty of digitally penetration without consent, and it was it was 10 to 2 for finding him guilty of of the charge based on giving the woman intoxicants without her knowledge. But it was 11 to 1 to acquit him of the charge that was based on her being unconscious.

That's based on an interview given by one juror to ABC.

"Man sent home from work for wearing shorts in over 30°C heat comes back in a dress."

His protest resulted in the company amending the dress code to allow men to wear "3/4 length shorts" but only in beige, navy, or black.

30°C = 86°F

3/4 length shorts? The internet did not give me a clear answer on that. It might mean knee length, but it might mean below the knee. My search on Amazon yielded up many items — for men — that were called "capris." And now I've relearned the word "manpris."

The NYT acknowledges that Trump's rally speeches are "mesmerizing"  — "even for his detractors."

Here's Maggie Haberman's report on Trump's performance at a rally in Iowa last night:
Style-heavy and substance-light, the speech went over an hour: an epic version of the fact-challenged, meandering and, even for his detractors, mesmerizing speeches he gave during his upstart presidential campaign....

Free from his handlers for roughly 70 minutes, Mr. Trump described his administration as he wished it to be: one in which he had made historic governing accomplishments and been stymied solely by the “resistance.”...

And the president frequently embellished details during his speech, or told outright falsehoods. He tried to catch himself at one point, saying, “I have to be a little careful, because they’ll say, ‘He lied!’”...

"At least 17 children in eastern Syria have been paralyzed from a recently confirmed outbreak of polio, the World Health Organization said Tuesday..."

The NYT reports.
The polio virus, once thought to verge on eradication, is one of the most contagious diseases in inadequately protected areas... [There is] an urgent need to vaccinate more than 400,000 children under the age of 5 in the Deir al-Zour area...

The vaccine, a weakened form of the polio virus that triggers the immune system’s response, is secreted in the waste of vaccinated children, and over time can mutate into an infectious strain that may afflict the unvaccinated. The risks are especially high in areas where not all children have received the vaccine and where the mutated virus can spread from contaminated sewage or water.

"Israeli airline employees cannot ask women to change seats to spare a man from having to sit next to them, a Jerusalem court ruled on Wednesday..."

"... handing down a groundbreaking decision in a case brought by a woman in her 80s," the NYT reports.
Strictly religious Jewish men who refuse to sit next to women, for fear of even inadvertent contact that could be considered immodest, are a growing phenomenon that has caused disruptions and flight delays around the world....

El Al’s lawyers argued in court that passengers often ask flight attendants to reseat them to be closer to a relative, or farther from a crying baby, or for many other reasons.... El Al denied that it discriminated against women, saying its reseating policies applied equally to men. And the airline argued that the principle of taking religious sensibilities into consideration has been defended and recognized in Israeli court....
The plaintiff, Renee Rabinowitz, "escaped the Nazis in Europe as a child."

"Be honest: the roses one encounters in daily life are, mostly, hideous."

"Think of the colors: syphilitically inflamed orange, or highlighter-pen salmon, or nylon pink, or overripe-banana yellow. How often have you bent to smell a neighbor’s rose, ready to snort up a lungful of Turkish-delight deliciousness, only to discover no scent at all?... What’s more, they are dangerous.... Haven’t you heard the stories of gardeners who, after a single rose-thorn puncture, lost an arm, or more? Would you keep a shark in your front yard?... Roses are not urban beasts. So, although we may dream of an elegant granite wall with a Mme. de Something rose arching against it in sweet-smelling pearly swags, the reality is considerably grimmer: my taxi-driver neighbor’s viciously pruned, yellow-budded toilet brushes, or the suburban crematoria whose residents are united by the horrible lollipop standards on their resting places. There is a simple solution: let’s give up on the scentless, hard-pruned, spiky Day-Glo disasters. Henceforth, licenses will be issued only to those with space to do them justice...."

From "Let's Ban Roses" by the novelist Charlotte Mendelson (in The New Yorker).

What will become of the "money in politics" issue after Hillary Clinton and Jon Ossoff?

I see that, just before he lost the election, Jon Ossoff complained (on NPR) that "money in politics is a major problem." But Ossoff spent far more money than Handel. If he had won it would have bolstered the argument that more and more money must be donated because with enough money, victory can be bought.

Meanwhile, back the presidential election, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton used vast piles of money scare off challengers, but each of them had a scrappy low-budget nemesis.

If Bernie Sanders had been a little more hardcore (early on he let go of the email issue) and if the DNC hadn't (apparently) rigged it, he could have been the Democratic Party candidate.

Jeb Bush and his super-PAC spent over $110 million and never got anywhere in the primaries. Trump spent the least of the 17 contenders for the GOP nomination.

In the general election, Hillary spent far more than Trump. She spent heavily on those things that campaigns tell donors they need so badly:
Clinton's campaign placed a far greater emphasis than Trump on television advertising, a more traditional way of reaching swaths of voters. She spent $72 million on TV ads and about $16 million on internet ads in the final weeks. The former secretary of state also spent more than $12 million on travel—about double what Trump spent. Clinton, who not only had a money advantage over Trump but a staffing edge, spent more than $4 million on a nearly 900-strong payroll.
But Trump did rallies and social media and won.

Is the money-in-politics issue dying?

June 21, 2017

Ken in shorts.


"Today Barbie® announced the expansion of its Fashionistas® line with 15 new and diverse Ken® dolls, featuring three body types – slim, broad and original – and a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hairstyles and modern fashion looks...."

Actually, I have the original Ken doll and the only clothes he ever had were, essentially, shorts — that is, his little red swim trunks. And I don't really care if the child's toy Ken wears shorts. My men-in-shorts problem is not a Ken-in-shorts problem because it is about adult men looking like children. But girls are playing with Ken, so let him be a boy.

(And yeah, I know: man bun. Did you see the man bun cover on the new New Yorker?)

"It’s obscene... It’s outrageous, OK? the Democrats are nothing now but words and fantasy and hallucination and Hollywood."

"There’s no journalism left. What’s happened to The New York Times? What’s happened to the major networks? It’s an outrage. I’m a professor of media studies, in addition to a professor of humanities, OK? And I think it’s absolutely grotesque the way my party has destroyed journalism. Right now, it is going to take decades to recover from this atrocity that’s going on where the news media have turned themselves over to the most childish fraternity kind of buffoonish behavior."

Said Camille Paglia, talking to Sean Hannity on his radio show yesterday.

"What Happened To Black Lives Matter?"

The title of this long Buzzfeed article is a question I've been asking, but I'm not sure if you'll find much of an answer there.