July 24, 2017

"Richard Dawkins' Berkeley event cancelled for 'Islamophobia.'"

BBC reports.
[KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California], which is not affiliated with the University of California, said in a letter - which Mr Dawkins published online - that it does not support "hurtful" or "abusive speech."...

[Dawkins] said harsh statements he has made in the past have been directed at "IslamISM" - apparently referring to those who use the religion for political objectives - and not adherents of the faith.

"I have criticised the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticised the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief," Professor Dawkins writes. He also pointed out that he has been a "frequent critic of Christianity but have never been de-platformed for that"...

"It is entirely possible that our intelligence agencies know Russia interfered with our elections."

"But they packaged it exactly like a bunch of lying weasels who are simply hoping they are right. I hope that’s just bad brand management and nothing worse."

Writes Scott Adams in "How 'Confident' are Intelligence Agencies that Russia Interfered with the Election?" ("Confident" is the word you'd use when you were not certain.)

"Rep. Blake Farenthold on Monday blamed 'some female senators from the Northeast' for hampering Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare..."

"... telling a local radio station that he might challenge them to a duel if the allegedly obstructive lawmakers were men."

What a loser. His attempt at posing as manly is so lame he doesn't even get the ethic of dueling right.

"The Clinton Foundation has confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state without informing the State Department..."

"...even though she had promised to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments."
Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton's husband, and sought to meet the former U.S. president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from a foundation official to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The email, among thousands hacked from Podesta's account, was published last month by WikiLeaks.
ADDED: I read that as new news, but I see it's from just before the election. I didn't remember.

AND: Someone at Facebook was highlighting the story. I need to learn to double-check dates before I assume that what looks like news to me is actually new. Presumably, this Facebook friend is making some sort of point about proportionality and Trump's perceived misdoings.

"Prominent French academic and author, Anne Dufourmantelle, who wrote about the importance of taking risks, died Friday while trying to rescue a drowning child."

Anne Dufourmantelle, 53, suffered a heart attack trying to reach a 10-year-old boy in high waves at a beach in Saint-Tropez.

Here's something she said a couple years ago:
"The idea of absolute security — like 'zero risk' — is a fantasy. ... Being alive is a risk.... When there really is a danger that must be faced in order to survive, as for example during the Blitz in London, there is a strong incentive for action, dedication, and surpassing oneself."

2 clouds with the same number.

I'm watching those right now as a consequence of a conversation I started on Facebook, which began:
I'm thinking of the old Rolling Stones song "Get Off of My Cloud," because I'm aware of my own instinct to step on the clouds of others. Even though you can't step on a cloud. I'm cynical re clouds. Joni Mitchell sang "Clouds got in my way." No, they didn't. But if you'd like to say I need to stop thinking about all those songs from the 1960s, get off of my cloud.
Pick a cloud.
pollcode.com free polls

"Impeachment is an outlet for anger and frustration, which I share, but politics ain't therapy. [The President] would much rather debate impeachment than...."

Just a quote from Barney Frank from 2006 that I happened to run across and thought might be helpful to people these days.

The words at the ellipsis were "the disastrous war in Iraq." The President at the time was, of course, George Bush, and a motion had been filed in the House to investigate and perhaps impeach him.

50 years ago today: Day 2 of the 12th Street Riot.

ADDED: From the Wikipedia article on the riots:
The violence escalated throughout [the second day], resulting in some 483 fires, 231 incidents reported per hour, and 1,800 arrests. Looting and arson were widespread. Black-owned businesses were not spared. One of the first stores looted in Detroit was Hardy's drug store, owned by blacks and known for filling prescriptions on credit. Detroit's leading black-owned women's clothing store was burned, as was one of the city's best-loved black restaurants. In the wake of the riots, a black merchant said, "you were going to get looted no matter what color you were."Firefighters of the Detroit Fire Department who were attempting to fight the fires were shot at by rioters. During the riots, 2,498 rifles and 38 handguns were stolen from local stores. It was obvious that the Detroit, County, and Michigan forces were unable to restore order.
The city police were overwhelmed, and the Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Sheriff's Department came in. The Michigan National Guardsmen arrived but were "not authorized to arrest people." The governor, George Romney, wanted President Lyndon B. Johnson to send in federal troops, and Johnson too the position that Romney needed first to declare a "state of insurrection." Johnson pointed at the Insurrection Act, but it was also about the upcoming presidential election:
George Romney was expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968, and President Johnson, a Democrat, did not want to commit troops solely on Romney's direction. 
Romney also had trouble with the mayor:
Added to this was Mayor Jerome Cavanagh's own political and personal clash with Romney. Cavanagh, a young Irish Catholic Democrat who had cultivated harmonious relations with black leaders, both inside and outside the city, was initially reluctant to ask Romney, a Republican, for assistance.
And John Conyers — then as now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives — opposed federal troops and thought he could help by "driving along 12th Street with a loudspeaker asking people to return to their homes."
Reportedly, Conyers stood on the hood of the car and shouted through a bullhorn, "We're with you! But, please! This is not the way to do things! Please go back to your homes!" But the crowd refused to listen. Conyers' car was pelted with rocks and bottles.
Conyers joined the House of Representatives in 1965, and he is now the Dean of the United States House of Representatives, which means he's the longest-serving member of the house. He's been there 52 years, and he's 88.

"Our son is an absolute warrior and we will miss him terribly. One little boy has brought the world together."

"His body, heart and soul may soon be gone but his spirit will live on indefinitely and he will make a difference for years to come. We are now going to spend our most precious moments with Charlie who will not make it to his first birthday. We now ask for privacy. Mum and dad love you so much. We always have and always will and we say sorry we didn't save you. We had a chance and we were not allowed. Sleep tight baby boy Charlie Matthew William Gard. Our little hero. Thank you."

The parents of Charlie Gard end their legal battle. We're told that new tests have convinced them that the damage the baby has already suffered is irreversible and that further treatment would inflict pain (which is what the doctors seem to have believed throughout the legal proceedings).

"Some 12.2 million people live within the 70-mile-wide band where the eclipse will be total — and millions more are expected to travel to witness it firsthand."

"From Oregon to South Carolina, hotel bookings have skyrocketed. Charleston, SC (where totality will be visible for more than a minute), is almost at capacity, with some lodgings having sold out two months ago. In Oregon, cases of motels dropping reservations and then attempting to resell them for up to $1,000 a night have gotten so bad that the state’s attorney general has opened an investigation.... Two-thirds of America lives within a day’s drive of the path of totality, and highways could turn into the Great American Traffic Jam. For a New Yorker, the fastest route to totality is a 10-hour drive down I-95 to the vicinity of Santee, SC. The problem is that that’s also the 'fastest' route to the eclipse zone for 74.4 million other people along the Eastern Corridor. As [retired NASA astrophysicist Fred] Espenak put it: 'Surfaces are gonna be stressed.'"

From "This August 2017 date could paralyze America" (in the NY Post).

ADDED: Can some of you experts advise us on what kind of equipment we'll need to look at the eclipse? Is something like this good enough? Should we spring for these?

AND: These look excellent.

"It’s hard to appreciate how little Warhol’s art was worth at the time. Twenty-five hundred was the going rate at the time. Why would Andy give him a fake?"

"He had plenty of electric chairs. They were not an easy sell. They weren’t decorative in the conventional sense. It’s a brutal image."

He = Alice Cooper, who "says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture. He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was."

"Little Electric Chair" (from the "Death and Disaster" series) was found rolled up in a tube in storage.
Never stretched on a frame, it sat in storage alongside touring artefacts including an electric chair that Cooper used in the early 70s as part of his ghoulish stage show.
I saw that show, actually. I remember the electric chair. It must have been July 28, 1971 in Wildwood, New Jersey. That was the "Love It to Death" tour:
The Love It to Death tour featured an elaborate shock rock live show: during "Ballad of Dwight Fry"—about an inmate in an insane asylum—Cooper would be dragged offstage and return in a straitjacket, and the show climaxed with Cooper's mock execution in a prop electric chair during "Black Juju."
Let's see if Alice Cooper is mentioned in "The Andy Warhol Diaries." Yes! Exactly once:
Bianca took us to On the Rox, owned by Lou Adler. When we got there it was Ringo Starr and Alice Cooper. I’m not saying they were the only celebrities there— they were the only people there, and they were in the john. Whoever is there is in the john taking coke. Bianca introduced me to Ringo. Alice came over to say hello. Bianca left because she was staying out in Malibu and Mick was coming in and then leaving town the next day so she wanted to get home early to see him.
Those were the days.

And here's what Alice Cooper said last August about the 2016 election:
[The election is] funny in a Kurt Vonnegut kind of way. It's also funny and kind of seriously demented that nobody wants to vote for a candidate; they want to vote against the other candidate. I can't think of anybody that's going, "I really like Hillary. I'm going to vote for her." No, it's: "I'm voting for Hillary 'cause I hate Trump." Or it's: "I hate Trump, but I hate her worse." Nobody's actually for anybody.... I honestly cannot in my head look at either candidate and say, "Oh, yeah. I'm behind that." So it's weird. I'm going to vote, but it's really going to be one of those last-minute decisions going."
Ha ha. Me too. That's exactly what happened to me. I decided which one I would vote for as I walked to the poll. (That's all I'll say about how I voted.)

In Myanmar, after heavy rains, the Thiri Yadana Pyilone Chantha Pagoda slid into the Ayeyarwaddy River.

Beastly graphics.

The Daily Beast is going for a distinctive graphic style. Here's how the top of the front page looks right now:

Red and yellow predominate, but notice the streaks of magenta in the red background and the intense blue of Melania's shoulder (and also dotted around around her jacket).

Like the colors, gender is heightened and highly contrasted. 2 of the 4 rectangles are feminine, 2 are masculine. The males are: 1. In shadows, 2. Brutally violent, 3. Not individuals. The females are: 1. Specific individuals, 2. Distinguished from each other through color and style, 3. Distinguished morally: One is depicted as a saint, the other as complicated, mysterious, and dangerous.

Here's "Inside the Cult of Melania Trump/Does the first lady of the United States have something she’s afraid to confront in the little city where she grew up?" It's really just an article about Melania's home town:
Today, [Melania's] family has a modern two-floor white house in the center of the modern part of Sevnica. It has a built-in garage, a mansard floor, a balcony, and a small satellite dish on the roof. While not grandiose, it is still far from the modest apartment where Melania and her sister Ines grew up.
What's a mansard floor? That's a mistake, no?
The house is not far from a statue of an enormous boot, a monument installed at the entrance to the city in honor of local Kopitarna shoe factory. (Last year Kopitarna sent Ms. Trump “White House” slippers as a present.)...
That's comically dull. Meanwhile, we hear of Bojan Pozar, who's writing (or has written) a book about Melania and who "interviewed several local men who claimed that they had once been Melania’s boyfriends" and said she was "cold" — which either means Melania was (and maybe is) cold or that these guys never really attained the elevated status that we in the United States call "boyfriend."

Also in the article, the way some Slovenians would like to hear Melania speak Slovenian and would like her to wear Slovenian clothes. So... basically, this is a completely inconsequential puff piece about Melania, and it contains absolutely nothing that's religion-like or cultish about anybody's interest in her. Nor is there anything to justify the subtitle, nothing about Melania's fear of anything back home.

But it's a fascinating graphic. It made me think of another article about an American First Lady, one that really did work on the idea religion — "Saint Hillary," a cover story by Michael Kelly in the NYT Magazine in 1993 (previously blogged here). Sample text:
Driven by the increasingly common view that something is terribly awry with modern life, Mrs. Clinton is searching for not merely programmatic answers but for The Answer. Something in the Meaning of It All line, something that would inform everything from her imminent and all-encompassing health care proposal to ways in which the state might encourage parents not to let their children wander all hours of the night in shopping malls.

When it is suggested that she sounds as though she's trying to come up with a sort of unified-field theory of life, she says, excitedly, "That's right, that's exactly right!"
The 1993 cover image of Hillary makes a nice contrast to the graphics that sear the Daily Beast today. The color idea here was white white white:

Finally, the Wisconsin State Journal addresses a question I want to know the answer to.

"Why is Michigan's Upper Peninsula not part of Wisconsin?"

Or as I've always liked to see the old question phrased: Did we lose a war?

Interestingly, the answer is Michigan lost a war — to Ohio — the Toledo War.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established a borderline between what would become Ohio and Indiana and the Michigan Territory from the southern tip of Lake Michigan across the Lower Peninsula. The original survey of the land didn’t accurately place the line, which led to the war.

When Michigan applied for statehood in 1833, Ohioans in Congress blocked its admission until the territory accepted the Ohio-preferred state border..... In June 1836, an act of Congress would allow Michigan into the Union, providing it accepted the Upper Peninsula... instead of the Toledo Strip.
Michigan agreed and became a state in January 1837. In between those 2 dates — June 1836 and January 1837 — the Wisconsin Territory was created — in July 1836. So Michigan got the Upper Peninsula — which wasn't even what it wanted — before Wisconsin was even anything.

And if you look at the map of the Wisconsin territory, you'll see that we Wisconsinites should look with more of a sense of hey, that's ours at the northeast corner of Minnesota:

"Michael Phelps didn’t actually race a real shark on TV, and viewers aren’t happy."

A Washington Post headline, but you probably won't click on it, because you don't have a WaPo subscription, and why invest in learning about the disappointment of people who somehow heard about something you didn't hear about and got invested in an absurd idea that a man and a shark would swim side by side?

July 23, 2017

At the Water Lily Café...


... you can talk all night.

And consider doing some shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

50 years ago today: Day 1 of the 12th Street Riot.

Wikipedia has the history of the Detroit riot that would go on for 5 days. There were 43 deaths, 1,189 injured, and 7,231 arrested. Ending the riot took the Michigan Army National Guard (sent in by Governor George W. Romney) and the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions of the United States Army (sent by President Lyndon B. Johnson). This is the account of the first day, 50 years ago:
In the early hours of Sunday (3:45 a.m.), July 23, 1967, Detroit police officers raided the unlicensed weekend drinking club in the office of the United Community League for Civic Action, above the Economy Printing Company, at 9125 12th Street. They expected a few revelers inside, but instead found a party of 82 blacks celebrating the return of two local GIs from the Vietnam War. The police decided to arrest everyone present. While they were arranging for transportation, a sizable crowd of onlookers gathered on the street. Later, in a memoir, Walter Scott III, a doorman whose father was running the raided blind pig, took responsibility for starting the riot by inciting the crowd and throwing a bottle at a police officer.

Jake Tapper encounters Anthony Scaramucci.

2 freeze frames I took watching "State of the Union" this morning:

Here's the whole thing. It was very lively. Scaramucci is very much like Trump, so I was picturing Trump watching this and loving it:

Scaramucci is there to fight for the President. That's plain to see. And Jake Tapper was there to fight too.

Here's the transcript. I made a note to tell you about 3 things, which are in no way the most important things:

1. Asked whether the President believes he has the power to pardon himself, Scaramucci said he didn't know, but he's talked to Jay Sekulow, who's a scholar, and he "took constitutional law from Larry Tribe." And then he spoke directly to Professor Tribe: "And if professor Tribe is listening, I know he doesn't like the president, but I did get an A-minus in your course."

2. Scaramucci was asked whether he was going to be appearing in more press briefings, he said "Sarah Huckabee" is the press secretary. And he kept jabbering...
I think Sarah does a great job. She's an incredibly warm person. She's incredibly authentic. And what I told Sarah on Friday, you get the big office. I will take the small communications office. You deserve the big office because you're taking the hits from the press. And bring the press into the office. Let's soften up our relationship with the press. They're tough on us. But let's be tough on them. I have no problem with. And my job, as I see it, Jake, is that these people work with me, and I'm there to serve them. If you think about the American military, the leaders eat last. If you think about the American military, the leaders' job is to serve the people that are working alongside of them. And so, me, for Sarah Huckabee, I want to do everything I can to make her better at that podium. I think she is phenomenal there now. But like every athlete that is training for the Olympics, every day, we have got to make ourselves incrementally better. The only thing I ask Sarah -- Sarah, if you're watching, I loved the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday. So, I would like to continue to use the hair and makeup person. 
I couldn't believe he ended that by talking about hair and makeup! She's a woman, so, you know, she's an incredibly warm person and we can get her fixed up to look the way women need to look. Tapper swooped in to change the tone with:
"All right, Anthony, you can always swing by CNN. We have hair and makeup here, if you ever need it. Thanks." 
Reading the transcript, I see that Scaramucci could have been referring to his own need for hair and makeup. He said "I loved the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday. So, I would like to continue to use the hair and makeup person." So maybe it was not another weird Trump-related comment by a male about a female. Maybe Scaramucci is looking out for his own appearance and liked that person they had on Friday, the one who stuck big, thick fake eyelashes on Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

3. You see in that "jabbering" quote above, Scaramucci said: "Like every athlete that is training for the Olympics, every day, we have got to make ourselves incrementally better." That reminded me of something he'd said earlier. This was in response to a question about Trump's NYT interview, in which he, as Tapper put it, "attacked the attorney general, the deputy attorney general, the special counsel, the former FBI director, the acting FBI director." Scaramucci used the athletics metaphor, and Trump is the coach:
Listen, I don't want to be a career guidance counselor for those people that [Trump is] talking about. But let me give some advice to those people on your show. That's the president. The president likes speaking from the heart. He likes telling what he likes and he dislikes. He's the type of coach that I worked very well with in high school football. It's OK with me if the president doesn't like certain things that I'm doing. We're all on the same team. I would prefer that direct and immediate feedback, as opposed to anything else. What I don't like about Washington, if we say one syllable or one sentence, or this guy said something bad about me, then, all of a sudden, they have to be my mortal enemy. I don't think that's how it works in American business. I can sit across the table from somebody that worked with me and my company that I founded and say, here are five things I don't like about what you're doing, and we have to fix it. And, by the way, tomorrow, I'm going to be having a meeting with the communications staff and say, hey, I don't like these leaks. And so we're going to stop the leaks. And, if we don't stop the leaks, I'm going to stop you. It's just really that simple.
Scaramucci also used that Trump-as-coach idea on "Face the Nation":
Okay. So from the business world... what I would say about that and from my experience with the president, the president's a pretty wear-his-heart-on-the-sleeve sort of a guy. If people are very, very thin skinned, I think it's going to be super tough to work for this president. The president has said things to me in a tough, and honest, direct way. I think he's a very good athletic coach, if you will. And so what I would recommend to all of my-my colleagues in Washington and know the president very well, if he's saying stuff about you that you don't like, call him up. Go see him. Go get in the Oval Office or the study.
4. One more thing Scaramucci said on "Face the Nation": Tweeting about everything is "the crystal essence of the president." The crystal essence!

5. One more from "Face the Nation": "What I know about President Trump is... he's got very, very good karma."

Watch media ruin a viral star before your eyes.

A 63-year-old woman confronts Bill De Blasio as he's doing a little appearance in Queens about reparing the tree-root damage to sidewalks. She looks and sounds great as she yells at him: "I want to know why you let your police officers down and our country down by going to Germany and protesting against our country."

But after he walks away, you see the reporters calling her over to perform for them. They've found a story. So she accepts the role, continuing her sound-off, aimed at their microphones. And it goes on and on, as she inhabits the stereotype of angry citizen for the cameras.

The story at The Blaze is "Elderly woman angrily confronts Bill de Blasio for jetting to Germany — so he takes cowards way out." "Elderly" — I'm sure that's not how she sees herself! And don't be afraid to put the apostrophe in "cowards."

The love curve.

Visual poetry from Maureen Dowd:
The column is "The Mooch and the Mogul" (that is, Anthony Scaramucci — the "Wall Street hedge fund guy and cable TV diva" turned White House communications director and Donald Trump). "The Mogul and the Mooch is a tender love story with dramatic implications for the imploding White House."