September 26, 2017

At the Fall Flowers Café...


... you can write what you want.

And please use The Althouse Amazon Portal.

How's Megyn Kelly doing on her second day of "Today"?

I made it through more than half of this, even though it's not something I'd watch for any reason other than writing this blog post:

I was curious after reading the WaPo review of her first day, "NBC’s Megyn Kelly experiment unveils its latest creation, a morning-show Bride of Frankenstein," by Hank Steuver:
“Megyn Kelly Today” is meant to be the final, dazzling piece of Kelly’s multimillion-dollar transmogrification from steely Fox News host to a mushy, hugs-for-everybody, midmorning TV host.... The debut was like watching a network try to assemble its own Bride of Frankenstein, using parts of Ellen DeGeneres, Kelly Ripa and whatever else it can find....

The hour crawled by. A middle segment featured the “Today” regulars welcoming Kelly to 30 Rockefeller Center, a predawn festivity of studied smarm, with the added delight of seeing Kathie Lee Gifford sit in her makeup chair and play nice-nice with Kelly the way an old house cat would welcome a naive and extra-squeaky mouse to the kitchen. Then everyone came to Kelly’s stage to drink mimosas and bask in the NBC-ness of it all.
This show is not for me, so it really doesn't matter what I think. I don't watch Ellen DeGeneres or Kelly Ripa. I have zero patience for that kind fluffy, female time-waster. I especially loathe fakely enthusiastic studio audiences, especially when the host continually plays to them and insists that they all agree about everything, such as in the clip above, when Megyn Kelly goes on and on about how everyone cares about who Prince Harry is fucking. I'm paraphrasing, because I don't care.

A tell at 0:06?

Those are clips from a much longer press conference, which you can read here: "Transcript: Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva met the media Monday to discuss what happened prior to Sunday's game in Chicago" (ESPN). Excerpt:

A year ago today.

"Survived the presidential debate. Man, that was stressful. They both went aggressive. Nothing was kind and gentle or humorous or nice. Hillary smiled quite a few times, but that was just the implementation of a good idea. Trump decided to go ahead and be Trump. He has reason to think that works, but man, what an ordeal!"

From "Your Memories on Facebook" ("Ann, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you'd like to look back on this post from 1 year ago.")

ADDED: Here's how that morning after looked on the blog, complete with a poll asking who you thought won.
That was intense. Those 2 faces on the split screen for 90 minutes was quite the ordeal. How many times did Trump lean into the microphone and say "wrong" while Clinton was speaking? There was plenty of interrupting from both candidates, and it almost turned into the event that Trump had proposed: No moderator. Not that Lester Holt didn't attempt to fact-check Trump a few times.

Trump brought a lot of stress to the event, and Clinton certainly stood up to him. She even managed to flash a smile a number of times — even though there was never a thing to smile about (and really no humor whatsoever). Clinton never coughed, and there was no flagging of energy. It was Trump who needed to drink water and wipe the sweat from his upper lip with his finger a few times. Clinton was a bit artificial, but she never got dead and robotic the way we've seen elsewhere.

Substantively, it's mostly a blur now. Trump seemed strong talking about law and order and, later, blaming Clinton for the rise of ISIS. Clinton got very severe accusing Trump of racism early on (over the issue of whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A.) and, at the end, sexism (letting fly with a prepared list of misogynistic things Trump supposedly did or said).

Overall, I'll just say that was very unpleasant and I'm glad it's over.

"I stand entirely behind the above footnote: behind every sentence, every phrase, every word and every syllable."

"I made no mistake, intentional or inadvertent. I retract nothing, and I do not intend to retract anything.”

Swore Seth Barrett Tillman, a lecturer at Maynooth University in Ireland, who has described himself — in a court filing — as a “lonely scholar with unusual ideas, who is unaffiliated with the popular, the organized and the wealthy.”

He has written an amicus brief — in the case accusing President Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause — presenting historical evidence for the proposition that the clause doesn't apply to the President.

As Adam Liptak describes in "‘Lonely Scholar With Unusual Ideas’ Defends Trump, Igniting Legal Storm" (NYT):
The reaction was swift and brutal. Legal historians and a lawyer for members of Congress suing Mr. Trump said Mr. Tillman had misunderstood, misrepresented or suppressed crucial contrary evidence in a second document.

Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham, wrote a blog post urging Mr. Tillman to issue a correction. “One might expect,” Professor Shugerman wrote, “that when a brief before a court contains significant factual errors or misleading interpretations of evidence, the authors of that brief will offer to correct their briefs or retract the sections if they are no longer supported by the evidence.”

In another blog post, Brianne J. Gorod, a lawyer with the Constitutional Accountability Center, which represents lawmakers suing Mr. Trump, said Mr. Tillman’s account was “not accurate, not even remotely so.”

Five legal historians, including Professor Shugerman, filed their own friend-of-the-court brief. They said Mr. Tillman’s had “incorrectly described” the evidence in a footnote in his brief.
But the brutal experts were wrong, and in the end they had to concede and apologize.

So let this be a lesson to you who count the experts, those of you who hooted and guffawed at this comic bit:

How Hillary answered the question "Putin or Trump?"

It's a great question, and I believe she should have paused and then said — solemnly, ruefully — "Trump." But that's not what she did:

That clip is more than a week old. Why hasn't it got more attention? I ran across it by chance as I was reading a piece in The Guardian titled "Why Hillary Clinton was right about white women – and their husbands/Conventional wisdom says women will show solidarity at the polls. But new research shows that for white women, having a husband trumped the sisterhood."

That headline and the idea it represents are so insulting to women. It's assumed that women are followers; the dispute is who is leading us ladysheep.
Last week, Clinton, who has had a lifetime to contemplate the women’s vote, copped to having a theory. “[Women] will be under tremendous pressure – and I’m talking principally about white women. They will be under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for ‘the girl’,” she said in an interview as part of a tour promoting her new memoir of the 2016 campaign....

[S]ocial science backs up Clinton’s anecdotal hunch. “We think she was right in her analysis about women getting pressure from men in their lives, specifically [straight] white women,” said Kelsy Kretschmer, an assistant professor at Oregon State University and a co-author of a recent study examining women’s voting patterns. “We know white men are more conservative, so when you’re married to a white man you get a lot more pressure to vote consistent with that ideology.”

Is it wrong for foreign leaders to try to influence American elections? Hillary didn't think so.

On March 13, 2016, during the primary season, Hillary Clinton (along with Bernie Sanders) did a town hall in which she was asked — by a man whose one concern was defeating Donald Trump — to "share with us three specific points of your anti-Trump game plan."

I won't bother — at this late date — to explain why her answer did not amount to "three specific points" or an "anti-Trump game plan." I just want to highlight the last thing she said, which I ran across yesterday as I was researching the question of why it's considered bad for foreign leaders to attempt to influence our election. There's been a lot of news lately about Russians buying Facebook ads — simply speaking to us with an intent to influence the election — and I'm puzzling over whether that matters.

At the end of her answer, after some talk about how her campaign is "inclusive" and she has "pretty thick skin," she said she had a lot of arguments against Trump but she wasn't going to "spill the beans" about what they were:
But one argument that I am uniquely qualified to bring, because of my service as Secretary of State is what his presidency would mean to our country and our standing in the world. I am already receiving messages from leaders -- I'm having foreign leaders ask if they can endorse me to stop Donald Trump.


I mean, this is up to Americans, thank you very much, but I get what you're saying.
The moderator, Jake Tapper, asked "And can you tell to tell us who?" She said:
Well, some have done it publicly, actually. The Italian Prime Minister, for example.
Tapper asked, "How about the ones that have done it privately?"
CLINTON: No, Jake.


CLINTON: We're holding that in reserve too.
Hillary was proud of her support among foreign leaders, held it out as a reason to choose her as the Democratic Party candidate, and offered to use it to persuade Americans to vote for her in the general election. Was this wrong? It sounded bad to me at the time. I said:
Do Americans want the foreign-endorsed candidate? We're seeing Trump tarred as xenophobic, and meanwhile Hillary touts herself as the choice of foreign leaders. This deserves a closer look, and I expect some lampooning from Trump.
I didn't think it was a good argument. I thought it could be very easily flipped and used against her. But I don't remember anybody at the time was saying it's outrageous for foreign leaders to attempt to make their preferences felt by American voters.

September 25, 2017

At the Cat-Reads-Althouse Café...

... I don't know if the cat is commenting, but you sure can. Feel free to pass along your cats' and dogs' views and also to write about whatever you want.

The photo was emailed by a reader, who gave me permission to use it. Thanks!

As usual, I will prompt you to use The Althouse Amazon Portal, which keeps this crazy thing going.

"I haven’t seen a single play that happened yesterday in the NFL. And I’m not urging people to… It’s not a boycott. I just didn’t feel it."

"As I said, the thrill’s gone. The sadness was overwhelming.... I don’t know that the NFL understands what’s happening to it. I really don’t think they do," said Rush Limbaugh on his show today.
Trump supporters to this day are not understood. They are still impugned and mocked and laughed at. But they have grown tired of a country they love as being under assault as unjust or immoral or illegitimate. They’re fed up with it. Their president defends it, defends them. The specifics don’t matter. There is finally somebody speaking up for America. “But, Rush! But, Rush! The protesters are speaking up for America.” They may think so, but they’re not, in the eyes of most NFL fans. They’re not speaking up for America. This is not complicated, either....

Donald Trump instinctively knows where the heart of America is. The National Football League all these years has thought that it knew because of its robust popularity and money. But it turns out it didn’t, and doesn’t.

Here’s another theory that was sent to me. My old buddy Seton Motley said: “The left’s idea to play up the NFL protests knowing it would further the left’s effort to kill the NFL by bringing the right against it is brilliant strategy, and the political neophyte NFL is the useful idiot in its own impending demise.”
Motley's point, by the way, is close to what I was saying yesterday in "Just when liberal media was gearing up to destroy football over all the brain damage, Trump calls for a boycott of football over the National Anthem protests."

"Anthony Weiner got 21 months of hard time."

That's The Daily News, stooping to the "hard time" joke.
The disgraced pol, crying and grabbing tissue after tissue, was sentenced Monday by Judge Denise Cote for sending sick messages to a 15-year-old.
Worth a click to see the courtroom sketch of the disgraced pol, crying, with Kleenex.
Weiner had sought probation. He argued he is sick and needs therapy, not incarceration.

"I victimized a young person who deserved better,” Weiner said in court. “I am not asking that I be trusted ... I ask you for the opportunity on probation to keep my sworn oath.”
There's something terribly wrong with that man. People need protection from him, but I feel sorry for him.

Remember — it was so long ago — the big impression he made back in 2010 when this clip came out:

There were those who adored that vigor and aggression. Watching it again now, I'm trying to imagine what it must feel like to be him. What a colossal screwup.

"Is it just me, or are the comments under Althouse's post nonsensical?"

"It's like a bunch of stoners waxing profound without the ability to complete a thought. Not that there's anything wrong with that."

A comment on an Instapundit post:
ANN ALTHOUSE ON MARK KLEIMAN: Classic liberal manipulation: Creating the fear that you will be thought of as uncaring. “And that is how women are disciplined into insignificance.”

The thing is, the more they do this, the less people care — even about being thought of as uncaring.

"The 33-year-old self-proclaimed anarchist from Janesville smiled as he closed one eye, cocked his head and made a clicking sound to mimic gunfire coming from an assault rifle..."

"... one of more than a dozen guns he admits he stole a few days earlier from a Janesville gun shop. 'Those were the best days of my life,' said [Joseph] Jakubowski, then the subject of one of the largest manhunts in Wisconsin history after he mailed an anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump, stole the weapons, burned his truck and disappeared on April 4. 'For once in my life I was free. Nobody told me what I had to do. All I had to do was wake up and live.'.... But the hike took a toll. The two heavy backpacks he carried as well as a duffel bag in which he said he kept the stolen guns eventually wore him down. He also had to forage for food because the apples, oranges and noodles he brought with him lasted just a couple of days. 'I was exhausted at the end, mainly because I was so hungry,' he said."

From "Joseph Jakubowski's one regret: that he survived his failed quest to 'get off the grid'" (Wisconsin State Journal).

The shooting he's reminiscing about in the quote in the post title was of a wild turkey that he seems to have been able to kill and eat.

"How can you know I've never said one thing about a particular topic unless you yourself have been stalking me?"

I'm responding to this:

He's reacting to something we discussed at some length last night in "Classic liberal manipulation: Creating the fear that you will be thought of as uncaring."

I have to deliver a second push-back.

And notice that the idea is that I must not only take care of the women's issues, but that I must do it the right way, the Democratic-Party-supporting way. I'm supposed to take as a given that Trump was "’disciplining and repressing’ HRC in gendered ways." Ridiculous. By the way, what's with the quotes on "disciplining and repressing"? That seems original to Kleiman, so I guess it's air quotes, mocking me for saying that he is using a technique that manipulates women (and other people) by scaring us into worrying that we lack empathy. I did say "And that is how women are disciplined into insignificance." And you better believe I believe that. 

And I don't like being disciplined by being told that I must support political candidates because they are women. At least Kleiman doesn't threaten me with hell for failing to support the woman.

"Remember a few weeks before the election, when Hillary Clinton said, 'I’m the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse?'"

"I think she was basically right. Part of the job of a columnist, as I see it, is to bear witness to a nearly inconceivable civic disaster, and part of it is to grope toward an understanding of how it happened and how to move forward."

Says Michelle Goldberg, in a dialogue with NYT op-ed writer (and former editorial page editor) Gail Collins. Goldberg is the new NYT columnist.

I'll just highlight one comment:
No mention of the Book Review gaffe? What is the purpose of this column?
The comment links to the Vanity Fair piece from 5 days ago: "'HUMILIATING': INSIDE THE LATEST CONTROVERSY TO ROIL THE NEW YORK TIMES/A deeply inaccurate book review has set off much consternation, and soul-searching, at 620 Eighth Avenue."

What Miss Turkey 2017 tweeted that made them take away her crown.

"To celebrate July 15 Martyr's Day, I began the morning by getting my period. I am celebrating the day by bleeding representing the martyrs blood."

Later, Itir Esen, 18, said "as an 18-year-old girl, I had no political agenda when I posted" and "I made this post with innocence during a sensitive time without thinking. As any one who feels like a victim during their menstruation, it does not contain any meaning other than 'it is July 15 and this is my situation right now.'"

I had to look up the term "Martyr's Day." My understanding is that the countries who use this term — including Turkey (and with the exception of Uganda) — use it to refer to military deaths. So the issue in this case is about disrespecting the military, not violating religious sensitivities.

The oldest meaning of the word "martyr" in English is specifically religious: "A person who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce faith in Christ or obedience to his teachings, a Christian way of life, or adherence to a law or tenet of the Church; (also) a person who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce the beliefs or tenets of a particular Christian denomination, sect, etc." (OED).

The other meanings of "martyr" in English (according to the OED) retain the original religious connotation.  So: "In extended (esp. non-religious) contexts: a person who undergoes death or great suffering for a faith, belief, or cause, or (usually with to; also with of, for) through devotion to some object."

To my English-hearing ear, "martyr" isn't the right word for someone who fights within his country's military, no matter how much he believes in its cause, because the enemy isn't targeting him because he's adhering to his beliefs and he can't save himself by renouncing them. But obviously Turkey is not operating in English and its connection to Christianity is complicated.

Anyway, I'm heartened that a teenager in Turkey felt free enough to tweet about her period.

All the best to Itir Esen.

"Far-right party AfD in disarray a day after historic German election result."

CNN reports.
The AfD won 13% of the vote and came a stunning third place behind the main center-right and center-left parties. It becomes the first far-right party to enter the Bundestag since 1961. But it has been riven with internal strife: [party chairwoman Frauke] Petry has been regarded as a more moderate force in the party, arguing that it had to break with the far right in order to move from opposition into government.

"Today we must be open that there is internal dissent within the AfD," Petry said at the press conference. "We must not be silent about this. The community needs to know that we have controversial debates." She told reporters later that she would sit in the Bundestag as an independent.

AfD co-founder Alexander Gauland repeatedly called after Petry, saying "I do not approve of this behavior." He described the walkout as a bombshell.

"I just laid quietly and played like I was dead."

"I got up close to the wall so if somebody came in they would probably walk past me, and put my purse over my face so I couldn’t be seen... He never said anything," said Catherine Dickerson, who survived the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee yesterday.

Do you think, if you were in a situation where your best strategy is to play dead, that you'd be any good at it? It probably will never happen to you, but if it does, it will be too late to look up how to do it. I'm seeing articles directed at actors who need to do death scenes:
Make sure to position your body in a way that looks dead instead of just asleep. Some ways to do this are to position your body in an unnatural way, bend your limbs so that they look broken, or twist your torso so that it looks like your back is broken.
Breathing seems to be the hardest part. One choice is to hold your breath:
Holding your breath is a useful technique, because you will have no body movement at all. Most people can learn to hold their breath for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Practicing holding your breath for as long as possible, but do not hurt yourself. If you try holding your breath for too long, you may actually pass out....
You can practice, and I would think you should practice how, after you've held your breath, to take the next breath without it being a deep breath. So it might be better, especially if you think you'll need to go longer than a minute, to go with "low, shallow breaths":
Keep your breaths low and shallow by slowly inhaling and exhaling small amounts of air at a time.... Visualize that you are breathing from... your neck and throat. Your lungs will still be working, but this visualization will minimize the movement of your chest cavity.... Focus only on your neck and throat. Pretend as if all of your air is coming from that area, and not from your chest or abdomen.

When you practice this technique, hold your hand on your throat area to direct your focus. Once you've directed your focus, you should be able to see and feel a difference in your body movements while breathing.

September 24, 2017

Classic liberal manipulation: Creating the fear that you will be thought of as uncaring.

This is particularly effective used against women. I will never forget the time I heard a little girl in the playground — reacting to a criticism I can only imagine — expressing anguish with the repeated line "I don't want to be mean!"

And that is how women are disciplined into insignificance. 

Professor Mark Kleiman has no reason whatsoever to think that I don't care that young men are suffering brain damage playing football. Yet he throws out that charge about me to push me back and to warn other people (women, especially, I suspect) that we should be afraid that if we don't merge our identity with whatever the liberal line happens to be, we will be regarded as lacking in empathy and deserving of social shunning.

Say no, little girls and little women. Don't fall for that manipulation. I don't fall for it anymore, but I am old, and I lost a lot of time reacting to the fear of being thought not to care and the mind-numbing, thought-inhibiting effort to be nice. Absurdly, I do still care. That's why I have to write a post like this to show my work suppressing the fear. I hope in doing this I've helped somebody like that little girl whose "I don't want to be mean!" made such an impression on me decades ago. 

Does Trump — in the middle of an interview about the National Anthem controversy — give the finger?

You decide:

I got that from Perez Hilton, who is sure it's intentional and says "That's so boldly, wildly absurd, it's actually… kind of funny?? But seriously, after all the bull shit stunts, outright bigotry, and unbelievable ignorance this President has showed off that should legitimately cause outrage, this is just… hilarious."

I don't think it was an intentional finger. He was just preening his eyebrow. Want to see a President give the finger? It looks like this?

Miss him yet?

"Some of the words of the national anthem are white supremacist."

Said Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, on "Meet the Press" today. Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, had just said:
The president is not randomly attacking these players. He is attacking them because they're kneeling during the national anthem. And the national anthem is not a white-supremacist symbol.
When Henderson responded with "Some of the words of the national anthem are white supremacist," it surprised me. I thought about the first verse — the only verse that's sung at games and the only verse I have uploaded to memory — bombs bursting in air? dawn's early light? land of the free? — and briefly considered whether "land of the free" celebrates white supremacy before vaguely remembering reading something about some other verse.

A quick google got me to "Star-Spangled Bigotry: The Hidden Racist History of the National Anthem" at The Root, which I read and puzzled over. There's a line in the third verse, "No refuge could save the hireling and slave," which The Root says exults at the idea of Americans killing freed slaves who were fighting with the British in the War of 1812. "'The Star-Spangled Banner' is as much a patriotic song as it is a diss track to black people who had the audacity to fight for their freedom."

Wikipedia says: "A diss track or diss song is a song primarily intended to disrespect people," and gives examples, including John Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?" which lashed out at Paul McCartney. Every line of that — from "Those freaks was right when they said you was dead" to "You live with straights" — was aimed at Paul. "The Star-Spangled Banner" may have one line about slaves in verse 3, but even that one line isn't aimed at slaves. It's aimed, like the rest of the song, at the British.

I'm not going to attempt to resolve the question of what was in the mind of Francis Scott Key when he mentioned slaves in that verse we don't sing at sports events and maybe don't even ever sing,* but here's a beautiful monument to him in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco:

CC — King of Hearts

Is that on the list of tear-downs?

Back to "Meet the Press." Stephen Henderson said, "Some of the words of the national anthem are white supremacist," and Rich Lowry seemed surprised: "You think the national anthem is racist?"

Henderson said: "I think this is a country whose history is racist, whose history is steeped in white supremacy, and the anthem reflects that in its very words." He had no chance to explain which words or to argue about why they are racist, which might make us think that he's only making the weaker argument that because the country has been racist, the song must reflect that racism.

Lowry's parry — "Well, it's also a nation with very important ideals that have worn down those injustices over time and created a more just society" — makes it most likely that viewers will think Henderson was only making the weaker argument.

Meanwhile, on State of the Union, the host Jake Tapper was talking to Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator who's now a CNN commentator, and she said it was "utterly ridiculous" for Trump "to pick up this fight" about protesting the anthem. Tapper said he had "a feeling" she's right and that "this is going to drive people to Kaepernick's side." Tapper asked Turner if she thought "it's an accident that he's talking about predominantly African-American players." She said:
Not at all. Look at his audience. It's no accident. He doesn't do anything by accident, he's very strategic about this. 
So Trump is not the chaotic, impulsive, crazy man?! He's got it all planned out. Turner went all Scott Adams there for a second. She continues:
And this kind of (INAUDIBLE) is right up his alley. He loves when all this chaos and confusion -- this feeds his agenda. 
Oh, so it only seems like "chaos and confusion," but that's what's so deviously strategic about it. Maybe Turner got an advance copy of Scott Adams's forthcoming book.


* The song has 4 verses. Have you ever heard anyone sing them all? I have a feeling I've heard at least one other verse sung, but the 3d verse is completely alien to me and, I presume, to the vast majority of American sports spectators who care about the opening ceremony. I went looking for the full version, and this was the finest one I found, by Tom Callinan (even though he botches the word "hireling" in the crucial line):

Midway through that recording, I suddenly wondered whether I was enjoying it because of whiteness. Colin Kaepernick is not going to allow us to go back to our lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.