August 31, 2016

At the Motor-Trike Café...


... you can go anywhere you want.

Women visiting India "should not venture out alone at night in small places, or wear skirts,"

Said Mahesh Sharma, India’s culture minister.
Sharma clarified his remarks later on Sunday, denying they amounted to a dress code for foreign women. "We have not given any specific instructions regarding what they should wear or not wear. We are asking them to take precaution while going out at night. We are not trying to change anyone’s preference,” he said. 

"In a subdued joint appearance before the press in Mexico City," Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto "described the meeting as warm..."

"... despite significant disagreements on issues of trade and immigration," the NYT reports.
Mr. Trump, first reading slowly from a statement and then speaking more freely in response to a question, said he now considered Mr. Peña Nieto a friend and heaped praise on Americans of Mexican descent. Mexican-Americans, Mr. Trump said, were “beyond reproach” and “spectacular, hard-working people.” But Mr. Trump said he also told Mr. Peña Nieto directly that he felt Mexico had benefited disproportionately from its trade agreements with the United States, and that he had described illegal immigration as a problem for both countries....

Mr. Peña Nieto pushed back in the gentlest of terms on several of Mr. Trump’s claims on Nafta... Without mentioning specific remarks by Mr. Trump, Mexico’s president said that hurtful comments had been made. “Mexican nationals in the United States are honest people, working people,” he said, adding, “Mexicans deserve everybody’s respect.” But Mr. Peña Nieto stopped well short of scolding Mr. Trump on the international stage. On the contrary, he expressed optimism that they could work together if Mr. Trump was elected president, “even though we do not agree on everything.”
There were only a few protesters, even though there were efforts on social media to drum up protesting. One protester who did show up — “Maldito Perro”  (Damned Dog) — said  “These days people protest by clicking ‘like’ or ‘dislike.’ ”

But Mr. Trump showed up in Mexico. And Mrs. Clinton clicked "dislike," essentially, saying, in Cincinnati: "It certainly takes more than trying to make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours and then flying home again."

"The presidential race and U.S. Senate contest have tightened in Wisconsin..."

"... according to Wednesday's Marquette University Law School Poll."

"Look, if I were a liberal Democrat, people would say I'm the super genius of all time. The super genius of all time."

"If you're a conservative Republican, you got to fight for your life. It's really an amazing thing."

Said Donald Trump, about a year ago. August 16, 2015. "Meet the Press." I'm reading the transcript because someone on Twitter offered it as the answer to my challenge to find a place where Trump himself said that he would deport 11 million undocumented aliens. In the interview, Chuck Todd asks him about his immigration plan, which, if you check the text, you'll see only talks about removing 2 categories of people: 1. those who are caught crossing the border and 2. those who've been convicted of crimes.
DONALD TRUMP: We have to make a whole new set of standards. And when people come in, they have to come in legally--
That most closely refers to Category #1, people who are crossing the border.
CHUCK TODD: So you're going to split up families?
Todd is stirring things up here, trying to pull the focus to the well-settled people who are living productive, peaceful lives in the United States.

"Hillary Clinton danced with Paul McCartney while Jimmy Buffett played 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' during a fundraiser at his house..."

So beautifully, tragically tone deaf.

And the tweet is so perfect, right down to the potential for misreading "per pool," which got me picturing Paul and Hillary dancing by a swimming pool. If only pools could talk! And there's Jimmy in a lounge chair strumming his guitar and croaking about "a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat."

That called to mind the delightfully phony old picture of Hillary and Bill, her husband, dancing on the beach in their swimsuits back in 1998....
It was early January of 1998, and her husband was preparing for his deposition in Paula Jones's sexual-harassment suit. During their New Year's vacation in the Virgin Islands, the presidential couple were "caught" dancing together on the beach. In Bill's arms, Hillary gazed lovingly at her affectionate husband, her 50-year-old body revealed in all its bathing-suited glory. Most middle-aged women dread leaving a dressing room in a bathing suit, yet Hillary readily posed for a photo bound to grace front pages around the world. It was a perfect façade of normal matrimony, and succeeded brilliantly in distracting attention from the Jones suit. I remember thinking, "Wow, it's true that she will do absolutely anything for the sake of political survival."...

... a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat...

ADDED: I hear the message: Talk of cheeseburger. No wiener!


No Weiner. Cheeseburger.

Donald Trump's big Mexican day.

I'm reading the NYT, where the headline is "Donald Trump to Visit Mexico After More Than a Year of Mocking It." Donald Trump has been mocking Mexico? He's been complaining that Mexico has taken advantage of us. That's more mocking us (and by us, I mean our government officials).
Donald J. Trump will visit Mexico on Wednesday for a private meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto... before quickly flying back for what is billed as a major immigration speech in Arizona.  Mr. Peña Nieto’s office said Tuesday night that the meeting would take place at the presidential palace in Mexico City, and Mr. Trump, on Twitter, said he looked “very much forward” to the visit....
Peña Nieto had invited both Clinton and Trump. Trump is just the one who jumped at the invitation, which was only issued last week.
Politicians in Mexico have largely remained silent on Mr. Trump, though there have been outbursts, including from Mr. Peña Nieto himself. In March, he compared Mr. Trump to Hitler and Mussolini for what he called Mr. Trump’s strident remarks and populism, though he later tried to soften his words without quite taking them back.
I had to look up the old quote. It was:
There have been episodes in human history, unfortunately, where these expressions of this strident rhetoric have only led to very ominous situations in the history of humanity. That’s how Mussolini got in, that’s how Hitler got in — they took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps, which humanity was going through at the time, after an economic crisis. And I think what (they) put forward ended up at what we know today from history, in global conflagration. We don’t want that happening anywhere in the world. 
I can see why today's reports don't quote it. It's vague and blabby. The later softening was: "Hitler, Mussolini, we all know the result. It was only a call for reflection and for recognition, so that we bear in mind what we have achieved and the great deal still to achieve." Peña Nieto is not a pithy speaker.

Back to the NYT article. It characterizes Trump as taking a "gamble" because his campaign is "struggling":
But for all the risk it poses, it offers an image Mr. Trump relishes: of a wily negotiator willing to do the unexpected — meeting with a perceived enemy — to advance his agenda.
The article takes pains to remind us that a lot of people in Mexico don't like Trump. My favorite line is: "Artisans have fashioned Trump piñatas...." Artisans! Crude effigies are made for people to beat with a stick and we hear of "artisans" — humble, dedicated craftspersons — who don't merely make things, they fashion them.

We will see what Donald Trump can do in the spotlight on the last day of August, when normally no one would be paying attention to much of anything. He's popping down to Mexico, then up to Phoenix to deliver what is presented as his major immigration speech. The #1 thing people seem to be looking to hear in the speech is — I'm quoting The Hill now — "whether he will still stand by his call for a 'deportation force' to remove the 11 million undocumented immigrants":
That hard line helped him steamroll his GOP primary foes, but it is less helpful with a more moderate general election audience.... The Trump campaign has recently focused on his call to immediately deport “criminal illegal immigrants.” But that doesn’t settle what happens to those who haven’t committed other crimes besides violating immigration laws.... [H]e could stand by behind his primary rhetoric and call for the immediate removal of all 11 million undocumented immigrants. 
This should be interesting. I wonder if Trump can honestly say that he never did call for the immediate removal of all 11 million undocumented immigrants. When I research the question now, I only see articles that say that is his plan, but I don't see anything straight from him saying that. Did he allow people to think that's what he meant, while always maintaining the ground to say that he never said it?

Here's the text of his immigration plan, released last August. Under the heading "Defend The Laws And Constitution Of The United States," he speaks of 2 categories of persons that he would immediately return to "their home countries": "criminal aliens" (referring to crimes beyond simply being here illegally) and "Illegal aliens apprehended crossing the border."

"I had a sense that it was this intense adventure story. I equated it to Apollo 13 or even Das Boot."

"They lived through this incredibly intense period, where they’re under all this scrutiny, all this pressure. The logistics are wild and, in some instances, a little threatening to their health and well-being. Out of necessity, they’re inventing the stadium concert tour. It was because the police kept saying, 'If you play a place that holds 8,000 people, it means we’re going to have 38,000 people outside. You’ve got to play in bigger places.' So they sort of invented the arena tour before technology could support it, really."

Said the movie director Ron Howard, who has a new documentary, "8 Days a Week," about The Beatles in their years of touring and performing live. 

It was 50 years ago Monday that The Beatles played their last live concert — last official concert — a mere 30 minutes, crammed with 11 songs and constant fan screaming. It was in San Francisco, in Candlestick Park. The last song was a cover song, Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.”

They did play an additional concert, on a rooftop in 1969, as seen in the movie "Let It Be," which isn't available on DVD, not officially.

August 30, 2016

Rick Perry is doing "Dancing with the Stars"?!

Fine with me. It's good to dance.

He'll be competing with Olympians Ryan Lochte and Laurie Hernandez.

Some very large, freakishly cartoonish mushrooms have been popping up around town.



"They say the clowns live deep in the woods, near a house by a pond."

"At the edge of dark, dark woods in South Carolina, children have been telling adults that a group of clowns have been trying to lure them into the cluster of trees...."

"Trump said something sarcastic about Kaepernick finding a country that he likes better."

"Persuasion-wise, the stronger play was to support Kaepernick’s right to free speech and invite him to be part of the solution, as I just did."

Says Scott Adams... who managed, without actually saying it, to create the idea in my mind — I know he's a hypnotist — that "The Star-Spangled Banner" will soon be widely regarded as racist and no longer acceptable as the national anthem. And that's before I read the CNN article he linked to: "Slavery and the national anthem: The surprising history behind Colin Kaepernick's protest."

And even though I personally reject the argument that Kaepernick needs to love America because it's better than the alternatives — it goes against my aphorism "Better than nothing is a high standard"* — I think Kaepernick's forefronting of the general abstraction of patriotism helps Trump.

I can imagine a psychological study that divides undecided American voters into 3 groups. Group 1 watches some well-crafted propaganda designed to inspire love for America. Group 2 watches a serious exploration of the pros and cons of whether Americans should love America. And Group 3 watches something — no more or less entertaining — that has nothing to do with patriotism. I'm guessing Group 2 would lean more toward Trump than Group 3.

* Yes, you have to live somewhere, but you don't have to love it. Back in the 60s, those who didn't like the various anti-war and other protests had a slogan "America — love it or leave it." It was kind of like the old parental demand — on presentation of some unappetizing food — "You'll eat it and you'll like it." Why must I also like it? And how can I be ordered to like it? More sensible parents — like mine — would just say: "That's what's for dinner." They didn't prod me to go see if I could go get dinner at someone else's house and taunt me with predictions that I wouldn't even like it. This is dinner. This is what we're having. You need to eat. But you can have your own thoughts about it and dislike it even as you use it to fulfill your needs.

IN THE COMMENTS: Balfegor said something I meant to make you think:
I wouldn't be surprised if Group 2 actually leaned more towards Trump than Group 1 too . . . sort of like what we saw with Obama, Obama benefited when race was made salient in voters' minds (e.g. by the media and his other proxies), but less so when voters were beaten about the head about racism (cf. his late fade against Clinton II back in the 2008 primary). However well-crafted, propaganda that articulates a clear point of view can provoke a counter-reaction. That said, I suppose that means it just wasn't well-crafted enough.

"He got this bright idea that he could save money on haircuts. So he let his hair grow, he got a perm, and decided he would never need a haircut again."

"Before he could change it back, though, the perm became his company's logo — Ross hated it. 'He could never, ever, ever change his hair, and he was so mad about that... He got tired of that curly hair.'"

The truth about Bob Ross.
"Bob used to lay in bed at night, he told me, he rehearsed every word," Kowalski says. "He knew exactly what he was going to say on every one of those programs."

Like this famous phrase: "You know without question that we don't make mistakes here. We just have happy accidents."

"This may be the first time that such routine fossil damage has been interpreted as evidence of tree dwelling and death by falling."

"For good reason. If palaeontologists were to apply the same logic and assertion to the many mammals whose fossilised bones have been distorted by geological forces, we would have everything from gazelles to hippos, rhinos, and elephants climbing and falling from high trees."

From "Archaeologists are fuming over a new study about how early hominin Lucy died."

I was just going to lambaste the NYT for this headline, but it's changed.

I'm looking at something my son John put up on Facebook 9 hours ago...

... and I'm snarking over there...
So the "research" is into how to needle him. It's positively professorial....

The headline makes HC look good and DT look bad, but why isn't it the opposite? This isn't about who's studying the policy issues more deeply.
... and thinking I need to blog it. But I click through... and the headline is...
Hillary Clinton Piles Up Research in Bid to Needle Donald Trump at First Debate
... and I've got no problem with that.
As Mrs. Clinton pores over this voluminous research with her debate team, most recently for several hours on Friday, and her aides continue searching for someone who can rattle her as a Trump stand-in during mock debates, Mr. Trump is taking the opposite tack. Though he spent hours with his debate team the last two Sundays, the sessions were more freewheeling than focused, and he can barely conceal his disdain for laborious and theatrical practice sessions.

“I believe you can prep too much for those things,” Mr. Trump said in an interview last week. “It can be dangerous. You can sound scripted or phony — like you’re trying to be someone you’re not.”
I don't think we really know who's doing what and who thinks what. I think we only know what the NYT chooses to say about how 2 campaigns choose to frame their candidate's attitude toward debates. Both the NYT and the campaigns are trying to influence how we think about the candidates. Hillary's people want you to think she's a thorough and hard worker and that Trump has flaws that she's going to skillfully extract and display for us when the debate finally happens. And Trump's people want you to think he's efficient and direct and doesn't need to develop a special show for the occasion, like Hillary, so get ready to see honest, capable Trump and big phony Hillary.

Let me collect 2 things that are spaced apart in the article (boldface added):
Mrs. Clinton, a deeply competitive debater, wants to crush Mr. Trump on live television, but not with an avalanche of policy details; she is searching for ways to bait him into making blunders....

Mr. Trump’s certitude — “I know how to handle Hillary,” he said — reflects his belief that the debates will be won or lost not on policy points and mastery of details, which are Mrs. Clinton’s strengths, but on the authenticity, boldness and leadership that the nominees demonstrate onstage....
So "his belief" is the same as her belief.
These Clinton advisers agree with Mr. Trump’s belief that the debate will not be remembered as pitting a policy expert against a Washington outsider. Instead, her campaign is preparing ways for her to unnerve Mr. Trump and provoke him to rant and rave.

The Clinton camp believes that Mr. Trump is most insecure about his intelligence, his net worth and his image as a successful businessman, and those are the areas they are working with Mrs. Clinton to target.
Hmm. I don't think Trump is insecure about any of those things. But maybe those are just the areas they want him to think they are targeting, and they're really targeting something else. Or maybe provoking him to "rant and rave" is not the idea at all. Maybe they're trying to lure him into toning everything down, being boring, and not riveting the audience with the kind of attacks on Hillary that we haven't seen yet and that she can't predict and prepare for.

So, who will play the role of Donald Trump in Hillary's practice debates? What friend of the Clintons will confront her with — for example — Bill's sexual offenses and her lies and enabling in the way that approximates what Trump might do?
Mrs. Clinton’s allies have floated several options: Representative Joseph Crowley of New York, who is from Queens, where Mr. Trump grew up; James Carville, Mr. Clinton’s chief strategist in 1992, who has a gift for lacerating banter; or Mark Cuban, another billionaire businessman... At least a few old Clinton hands have suggested enlisting professional entertainers, like Jon Stewart or Alec Baldwin.
It's easy to ape Trump's bluster, but these sessions are not a comedy show for the public. And Trump has the advantage of knowing what they think of him and how they'll portray him. And he's flexible — or so he says — and likes to surprise. But Hillary's people know that, and they can try to get a step ahead. Still, Hillary is Hillary, and how can she change? What is she going to do but plant herself on the stage, maintain a steely but smiling demeanor, and deliver long flat lines that will wear most of us down to the grim realization that this is what we've going to get for the next 4 years?

"[T]he professors recommend that white-dominated newsrooms no longer cling to traditional standards of pure objectivity, but instead try something they call 'active objectivity.'"

Capital Time editor and executive publisher Paul Fanlund writes about UW–Madison journalism professors Sue Robinson and Kathleen Bartzen Culver:
“When white reporters cover issues involving race, they often fall back on traditional, passive voices of objectivity, such as deferring to official sources and remaining separate from communities,” they wrote.

Robinson and Culver contend there is an ethical tension between this neutral tone and the need to build trust in communities of color.... “An active objectivity remains committed to credible, verified facts and information, but adds educated interpretation.... Active objectivity calls for news organizations as institutions and journalists as individuals to detach from power, emphasize social, historical and cultural contexts in stories, question explicit and implicit biases, build trust among communities not often visited, and invest efforts over time to build relationships with people rather than go-to leaders.”...

Their conclusion was edgy: “Through their embrace of value-neutral and facts-only reporting, many Madison news outlets failed to build trust, diversify their sourcing, and tell the true stories of race....  A journalism that is loyal to citizens is a journalism of courage — of recognizing the disparities and concerns that plague some within our communities and carrying them forward to the attention of all"....
Is that edgy? It seems to me all the journalistic outlets already have activism within whatever objectivity they maintain. The question is the nature of the activism, and those who don't like that can push back by saying the journalism isn't properly objective enough or openly talk about what they don't like about the way the activism is going.

The journalism professors concentrated on reporting on a 2011 controversy over a charter school that was aimed at helping young African American male students. I wrote about that several times, including, here, "Madison school board votes down charter school designed to lift up poor minority kids."