December 5, 2016


AND: Asked about Trump's tweeting, Dick Cheney said:
I think one of the reasons people get so concerned about the tweets is it is sort of a way around the press. He doesn't have to rely upon, uh, rely upon [the press]. This is the modern era, modern technology. He's at the point where we don't need you guys anymore.

Few benefit from the treatment of being bathed in cream...

Don't try to friend me on Facebook. I limit my scope over there. I just wanted to show you this:

7 reasons to be happy about the election of Donald Trump.

2 are things you could have taken into account when voting, and the rest are things that have accumulated in the transition period.

The link go to Instapundit, who warns "Don’t get cocky, because he could still blow it and the press will be looking for anything they can use to destroy him, as they do with every Republican president."

The warning interestingly interplays with reason #5, "Crushing the media’s sense of self-importance":
They thought they were going to hand this election to Hillary. Now they’re realizing just how few people like or trust them, while Trump bypasses them using Twitter and YouTube. As I’ve said before, in the post-World War II era, the press has enjoyed certain institutional privileges based on two assumptions: (1) That it’s very powerful; and (2) That it will exercise that power responsibly, for the most part. Both assumptions have been proven false in this election cycle. Like many of the postwar institutional accommodations, this one will be renegotiated under Trump. It’s past time. After getting spanked in 2004 over RatherGate, the press realized with Katrina that if they all converged on the same lies they could still move the needle. Now they can’t.

Edgar M. Welch came to Comet Ping Pong to "self-investigate" Pizzagate.

He fired a rifle...
People inside the restaurant fled, and the police locked down the area, ordering patrons of a nearby bookstore and cafe called Politics and Prose to remain locked inside. Officers with rifles and protective gear surrounded the restaurant and apprehended Mr. Welch....
The owner of Comet Ping Pong said:
“What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences.... I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today and stop promoting these falsehoods right away.”
The co-ower of Politics and Prose said:
"This is one of the things we feared... That this could go from a social media attack to something much more dangerous and physical."
This isn't just about Pizzagate. It's about all the crazy stuff people are cranking each other up about — including the freakout over the Trump election. There are unstable people out there who can get the notion that they need to take action.

AND: I'm not saying that good people have to tone it down lest they set off some nut. I'm for vibrant speech. Just think about the kind of person you want to be. If it's winding people up, ask yourself why.

The sanctuary cities issue has the left inspired about federalism.

There's Jeffrey Rosen in the NYT, "States’ Rights for the Left."
IN the wake of the presidential election, as Democrats realized that Republicans will soon control all three branches of the federal government, progressives disinclined to secede from the Union rediscovered another exit strategy: states’ rights.

Mayors in several so-called sanctuary cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago and New York, immediately reaffirmed their commitment not to work with federal immigration officials in detaining and deporting illegal immigrants....
More detailed, doctrine-wise, is Ilya Somin in WaPo, with "Federalism, the Constitution, and sanctuary cities," explaining Printz v. United States (the anti-commandeering doctrine) and NFIB v. Sebelius (the limit on using the spending power to coerce compliance).

This is the main subject I wrote about when I wrote for law journals. See, e.g., "The Vigor of Anti-Commandeering Doctrine in Times of Terror." My experience was that liberals and lefties got annoyed at the suggestion that doctrine from conservative Justices could serve liberal causes.

"Tech-savvy rightwingers have been able to ‘game’ the algorithms of internet giants and create a new reality where Hitler is a good guy, Jews are evil and… Donald Trump becomes president."

The subtitle of "Google, democracy and the truth about internet search," a Guardian article by Carole Cadwalladr. (I know: Your first thought is I really want to move that e from her first name to her last name.)

"Pretty girl, not as pretty as James Bond, maybe prettier than his co-presenter (who was that?)."

Said Bad Lieutenant in the comments to "Patti Smith : Bob Dylan :: Sacheen Littlefeather : Marlon Brando?"

The "co-presenter" of the 1973 Best Actor Oscar was Liv Ullmann. Do people today really not recognize Liv Ullmann?! She was the greatest actress of that time. "Scenes from a Marriage," "Cries and Whispers," "The Emigrants," and "The New Land." Do people not know these movies?

I googled to find something to link to, and I was intrigued to see a 2014 article in The Guardian: "Liv Ullmann on Miss Julie, Donald Trump and why she hates the modern age/Ingmar Bergman’s muse talks about directing a version of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, terrorism and Twitter."

That's 2014, not 2016, so what's up with Donald Trump showing up in a headline alongside Ingmar Bergman and August Strindberg? 
Liv Ullmann likes watching The Apprentice. Or, rather, she likes it when Donald Trump goes in and out of rooms. “I find it tremendously interesting, his entrances and exits. I can’t believe someone is doing this and taking it so seriously! If you made a movie about such a man, you would tell them they were overacting.”
Spend some time thinking about "If you made a movie about such a man, you would tell them they were overacting." It almost a conundrum. You have a larger-than-life character, except he is in life. He's real. Then you want to make a movie about him, and the actor playing him is trying to be exactly like him, but you have to tell him, no, you've got to tone it down, because otherwise you seem like a bad actor. You're going to have to underplay him to preserve this biopic's sense of realism.
It is Trump, she thinks, who is a modern-day Miss Julie – the queen bitch in the August Strindberg play she’s just made into a movie. Both are snoots sneering down from a pedestal of their own construction. “Trump says no to refugees trying to get into US from Mexico. He says it’s all Obama’s fault and he’s given them too much freedom. And he blames him for Ebola coming in from Africa.” Ullmann smiles, gentle and appalled and vulnerable. “If you live in a tunnel, hiding, then people don’t like you and in the end they will come back and kill you. It’s not because he’s evil. It’s that it’s easier for him to be apart than to hold the hand of someone homeless and alone.”
Hey, spoiler alert on "Miss Julie"! Oh. All right. Now, I've got to read the plot summary. Don't worry. Okay, I'm satisfied. Nobody other than Miss Julie kills Miss Julie. Miss Liv is not predicting assassination. Liv is very sensitive:
“That is the sadness of being human today. We still don’t realise that there is no 'other.' We still think we are the audience to everything; we don’t understand we are not witnesses, we are participants. You cannot save the world, I cannot, even Donald Trump cannot. But if we do allow beauty, if we don’t kill movies and concerts and ballets and books we still have a chance.”

"Vets worried by rising numbers of drunk pets as more owners leaving leftover tipples around the house."

That's a headline that Meade read out loud to me. Instead of asking him to send me the link, I googled "drunk pets," and — in addition to the link to the article — I got lots of video, supposedly hilarious, of drunk pets.

The article begins with warning decent people about the problem of dogs and cats sniffing out and lapping up what's left lying around in the dirty glasses you weren't careful enough about, but stuck in the middle is an acknowledgment of the truly awful people who are getting their pets drunk and making these videos.

Patti Smith : Bob Dylan :: Sacheen Littlefeather : Marlon Brando?

No. Bob Dylan is not declining the Nobel Prize, nor is his nonappearance at the ceremony a protest in service of some issue that Bob Dylan cares about and Patti Smith embodies. But Patti Smith will stand in for Bob Dylan at the Nobel Prize event next week.

Sacheen Littlefeather reference video:

"When people told him it was a deathtrap, he would laugh. In Derick's mind he was creating this amazing art space..."

"... and everything going on there was the most amazing thing ever."

Said one friend of the captain of the so-called Ghost Ship, where at least 33 people died in a fire Friday night. The man, who sublet space in the rented warehouse, is Derick Ion Almena, who reacted to the fire with a Facebook post that is the most perverse display of sensitivity I have ever seen:
Confirmed. Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel and safe and sound…it's as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and hope… to be standing now in poverty of self worth.
Here's a description of Almena's art space:
Visitors have described a squalid scene where cat faeces and used condoms litter the limited floor space, junk and 'art' is piled high in every room, nails protrude from stairs made out of old pallets, brick work crumbles in the walls and drug use rife among the party goers who came and went.
The photo of the place (from before the fire) looks like a perfect stage set for a tragicomedy about aging hippies:

In the upper right corner is a spider plush toy the size of a lamp shade. To the left is a sad, bowed-head figure that reminds me of the No Face character in the movie "Spirited Away."

Spirited away, in a vehicle called Ghost Ship.

So I was down there and I was having trouble finding the exit... the lower level is like a fucking maze. The stair room had three different exits and only one would have been the way to outside. Horrifying....

Some dude who had already gotten out stood right by the exit with all the billowing smoke and was repeatedly yelling "this is the exit" "exit." I can say without a doubt that that dude saved my life. If he wasn't there yelling I would have never found the exit and I probably would have died.
AND: From the comments at that "ADDED" link:

"I am thrilled to nominate Dr. Ben Carson as our next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development."

Said President-elect Donald Trump.
"Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities. We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."

December 4, 2016

Reince Priebus calls Trump "a Socratic method guy" — "It kind of reminds me of being back in law school."

"He asks a lot of questions, asks questions about questions. And he will keep going until he’s satisfied with the information that he’s getting."

That was on "Face the Nation" today, in answer to probing by John Dickerson about whether Trump is getting intelligence briefings. Priebus says he is  — "it feels like every day." And then:
I’m not sure if it is every day. But it’s a lot. And that’s who he is. It’s someone who studies and someone that wants to be informed and it’s someone who asks a lot of questions and listens.
Dickerson asks if Trump is "a details guy," and Priebus says "He is a details guy," and then "I would say it’s he’s a Socratic method guy" and the rest of the quote I've set out above.

Dickerson asks Priebus what he does when Trump tweets something that's not true, such as when he said there were millions of illegal votes in California. Priebus's lame response was that we don't know it's not true. Dickerson patiently, politely nailed him:
I guess [the] question is, when you’re president, can you just offer a theory that has no evidence behind it, or does he have to tighten up his standard of proof?
We all know the answer to that question, but I appreciate that Dickerson had the presence of mind to put it in the form of a question... especially nice, since Priebus had just expressed admiration for the Socratic method. What can Priebus say (except You got me, Socrates)? He makes a lateral leap:
I think he’s done a great job. I think the president-elect is someone who has pushed the envelope and caused people to think in this country, has not taken conventional thought on every single issue. And it’s caused people to look at things that maybe they have taken for granted. 
Priebus distracts us onto the subject of Trump's ability to distract us with some new nutty thing. Hey, here's a theory! Ever think about it that way? Then Priebus brings up the flag-burning issue. That was a faux pas from Trump, wasn't it? So why shift to that? Priebus says flag-burning "is an 80% issue" — meaning (I presume) that 80% of Americans want to punish protesters who burn flags as a way of expressing themselves.
And then you watch the news media and they say, well, it’s constitutional. Well, right, it is constitutional...
He means the Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to burn the flag as symbolic expression.
... and but it doesn’t mean it’s not a subject for debate and discussion for the Supreme Court to revisit down the road.
That is, a Supreme Court opinion on a constitutional matter does not stop the conversation about what the constitution means. A case can be overruled. And a Supreme Court appointment is in the offing. What issues will come to the foreground as we grill the new nominee? Why not make it flag burning? Whether the flag-burning decision is ever overruled, there's political advantage in getting us talking about how we feel about it.

America! The flag!  

It's an 80% issue.

Finally, snow!


I took that photo as we got back home after a 3.6-mile walk. The neighborhood looks great in the snow.

Talk about anything in the comments.

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"Saturday Night Live" is struggling to be funny about Trump.

This isn't very good, but I laughed out loud twice — once because I like very silly absurd stuff and once because I must be mean:

The sketch is about Trump tweeting, and the real Donald Trump tweeted that it wasn't funny:

Meta! Meta's funny. In my book.

Young people were told "Yes, You Should Shame Your Trump Voting Relatives At Thanksgiving Dinner..."

"They've gone beyond politics and should be treated like the pariahs they are.... For this sin against human decency, your Donald voting relatives should be shunned. They should treated as collaborators because that's what they are. They're the people in Germany who stood by and watched the Jews be herded into concentration camps and murdered. Except they're worse because at least the Germans had never seen anything like the rise of Hitler before. They had no frame of reference to understand what was happening to their country. Your Donald voting relatives have heard and read about Nazis their entire lives. They know and they didn't care.... This is when you look them in the eye and tell them that you're ashamed of them and they've stained their soul. It won't be fun. It won't be easy. It won't be a happy memory. But it's necessary...."

Ooh. That's rough. But at least one young person stepped up to the task. Fortunately, it was all caught on camera:

Madonna is "ashamed, ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being, really."

It was a charitable event, held in Miami, to raise money to help the poor in Malawi. It cost $5,000 to get in and they were auctioning off glitzy Bulgari and Swarovski things, so the audience was rich. Madonna was assuming that the rich hate Trump. At one point, she said she'd "slept in Donald Trump's bed" — ha, ha — just a photo shoot... in Palm Beach... for Versace. And:
"I just want to mention that his sheets were not 100 percent Egyptian cotton. Yes. Cheap slumlord. Here's what I’m wondering: Do you think he's going to have nice sheets in the White House? Here's one thing I’m sure of. They won't be Egyptian cotton because we all know how he feels about Muslims, don't we?"
So... snobbery about bedsheets, deployed for the sake of the poor in Malawi — with confidence that the audience hates Trump. But Trump got elected, and not by the people in that audience. If they laughed, was it at all uneasy laughing, aware of how out of touch they are with their own fellow citizens? Or do they simply regard those people outside the room as shameful and those in the room as the good people... as they throw money at people much farther away — people who can't possibly have any effect on them — and walk home with a crystal-encrusted gown or a pavĂ© diamond necklace?

And somebody tell Madonna: "Egyptians... are among the world’s happiest people about the Trump win."

"Assignment: Someone, please make an 'it gets better' video for liberals who are depressed about Trump."

Writes John over at Facebook.

He gets a lot of negative reactions.

I react to that:
Does the reaction to John's idea reveal that the original "It gets better" videos were shallow and propagandistic? If people are very unhappy right now about their current circumstances, should those who don't even know them swoop in and sincerely assure them that "It gets better"? John's idea could be seen as a proposal for a comic riff that not only annoys Trump haters but that also portrays the original project as banal and insulting.

December 3, 2016

"The Green Party is dropping its court case seeking a recount of Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 presidential election."

"The Green Party's filing came Saturday, saying it couldn't afford the $1 million bond the court had set. A Commonwealth Court hearing had been scheduled in the case for Monday, and the $1 million bond was due later that day...."

So that's the end. Doesn't matter what happens in Wisconsin and Michigan.

"I wanted her to react humiliated. I think she hated me and also Marlon because we didn't tell her... to obtain something I think you have to be completely free."

"I didn't want Maria to act her humiliation, her rage, I wanted her to Maria to feel ... the rage and humiliation. Then she hated me for all of her life."

Bernardo Bertolucci confirms what the actress Maria Schneider said about the filming of the "butter" scene in "Last Tango in Paris." Schneider is dead now, as is Marlon Brando, who was 48 when Schneider was 19, and he and Bertolucci conspired to surprise her and extract "her reaction as a girl, not as an actress."

"Don’t worry about China going to war over a phone call. They understand Trump..."

"... in part because they read my blog too. And look at the brilliance of China’s diplomatic response. Their Foreign Minister labelled the phone call, 'a shenanigan by the Taiwan side.' That is exquisite diplomatic framing, Master Persuader-style. You can see why China and Trump respect each other; they both earned it. Mutual respect is a safe place to be. Relax. Adults are in charge."

Obviously, that's Scott Adams.