March 17, 2018

Speaking completely sensibly about Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo, it's Terry Gilliam.

Finally, a real and intelligent person speaks credibly and aptly.
"It is a world of victims. I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn't. The ones who did knew what they were doing. These are adults, we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition. Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey -- that's the price you pay... Some people paid the price, other people suffered from it....

"It's crazy how simplified things are becoming. There is no intelligence anymore and people seem to be frightened to say what they really think. Now I am told even by my wife to keep my head a bit low... It's like when mob rule takes over, the mob is out there they are carrying their torches and they are going to burn down Frankenstein's castle.... I don't think Hollywood will change, power always takes advantage, it always does and always has. It's how you deal with power -- people have got to take responsibility for their own selves."

"Donald Trump flops over his pink and white baby walker and rolls it around his family's modest home in Kabul, blissfully unaware..."

"... of the turmoil his 'infidel' name is causing in the deeply conservative Muslim country. The rosy-cheeked toddler's parents named him after the billionaire US President in the hope of replicating his success. But now he is at the centre of a social media firestorm in Afghanistan after a photo of hit ID papers was posted on Facebook.... 'I didn't know at the beginning that Afghan people would be so sensitive about a name,' Sayed [said]... 'When I go out of the house I feel intimidated,' he said."

Channel News Asia reports, and I see that people are so mean that some of them sank to the level where I immediately found myself: "There are even suggestions Sayed is using the moniker to wangle asylum in the United States...."

March 16, 2018

At the Escalator Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

And remember the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will review the case of Michelle Carter, convicted of involuntary manslaughter for texting encouragement to a man who committed suicide.

The Boston Herald reports:
“Carter is the first defendant to have been convicted of killing a person who took his own life, even though she neither provided the fatal means nor was present when the suicide occurred,” Carter’s attorneys wrote....

Carter’s lawyers urged the SJC to take the case because, they contend, convicting someone of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging another person to commit suicide “with words alone” violates the First and Fifth Amendments.
I objected to the prosecution in a number of posts, including this one:
There's too much danger of selective prosecution, going after the people who seem awful, and too much power put in the hands of suicidal people to wreak harm on others, finally going through with a suicide after someone who's making them angry lets slip with some text daring them to stop talking about it and do it already.

"Gal Gadot’s Seemingly Innocent Tribute To Stephen Hawking Pissed Off Some People/ Several disability rights advocates called it ableist."

I haven't read this HuffPo piece yet, but I'm pretty sure I know the sentimental, conventional idea that Gadot expressed and exactly why people who care about disability rights got pissed off. I'm not irascible enough to get "pissed off" about it, but I've been objecting to quite a few things, including a cartoon I saw that showed Hawking's wheelchair empty, and the figure of Hawking walking toward the stars — free at last, supposedly, even though Hawking, the real man, famously said "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

Now, I'm reading what Gadot (AKA "Wonder Woman") tweeted, and it's exactly what I thought: "Rest in peace Dr. Hawking... Now you’re free of any physical constraints. Your brilliance and wisdom will be cherished forever."

To me, that's like saying about a Christian who has passed on something like "It's so sad that his beautiful soul is gone forever." You're imposing your religion on the person who had his own religion/atheism.

But it's worse than that, because it's saying that the life that he did have was a burden he's lucky to be rid of. Especially given that he did not believe in an afterlife (or so he said), the life he had was all he had. It was not worse than nothing. Hawking said (at the second link, above): "I accept that there are some things I can't do. But they are mostly things I don’t particularly want to do anyway. I seem to manage to do anything that I really want." And:
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.
I'm now reading what the supposedly pissed off people said, and it's what I thought, not just people flying off the handle and being inappropriately mean to an "innocent" actress trying to deliver a "tribute":
I think you’re fantastic Gal but this tweet is very ableist. His physical constraints didn’t stop him from changing the world. People with disabilities don’t wish for death to be free of their challenges. We wish to be valued for what we CAN do, not pitied for we can’t.
You know, Wonder Woman, Gadot's movie character, has superpowers, and we love our superpowers in the movies. We need to think harder about what we celebrate, and Hawking is a stellar example of living well within limitations, and we all have limitations.

"Chelsea Clinton Warns Media Amid Donald Trump Jr. Divorce Reports."

HuffPo reports.
"Please respect the privacy of President Trump’s grandchildren. They’re kids and deserve to not be your clickbait. Thank you."

Neil Young says "Trump likes my music. He’d come to all my shows.”

Quoted in "Neil Young Fires Back at His Biggest Troll, Dana Loesch: ‘I’m Glad I Got Under Her Skin’/The NRA spokesperson apparently harbors a burning hatred of the music icon that goes back decades" (Daily Beast).

Things you don't want — less than don't want — but you can't throw out.

Got any stuff like that?

6,000 pounds of gold and silver fell out of a Russian airplane.

The Daily News Reports.

The NYT preports the firing of General McMaster.

"But in the nine months since [he introduced his Cabinet as a 'phenomenal team of people'], Mr. Trump has fired or forced out a half-dozen of the 'incredible, talented' people in the Cabinet Room that day: his secretaries of state and health, along with his chief strategist, his chief of staff, his top economic aide and his press secretary.... ''There will always be change. I think you want to see change,' Mr. Trump said, ominously, on Thursday. 'I want to also see different ideas.' That could include replacing Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser. Three people close to Mr. Trump said that he has concluded that he should remove General McMaster, but that the time and successor were not yet something he had disclosed to others.General McMaster has often been at odds with Mr. Trump on policy. But unlike last year, when General McMaster tried to conform to please the president, he is now ready to leave and is merely waiting for Mr. Trump to ask, two people familiar with the adviser’s thinking said...."

Write Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman.

ADDED: Even stronger preporting at WaPo by Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig:
President Trump has decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser and is actively discussing potential replacements, according to five people with knowledge of the plans, preparing to deliver yet another jolt to the senior ranks of his administration.

Trump is now comfortable with ousting McMaster, with whom he never personally gelled, but is willing to take time executing the move because he wants to ensure both that the three-star Army general is not humiliated and that there is a strong successor lined up, these people said.

"Extra innings throughout the minor leagues will start with a runner at second base."

The NYT reports.
"We believe these changes to extra innings will enhance the fans' enjoyment of the game and will become something that the fans will look forward to on nights where the game is tied late in the contest," NAPBL President Pat O'Conner said in a statement.

"Player safety has been an area of growing concern for our partners at the Major League Baseball level, and the impact that lengthy extra innings games has on pitchers, position players and an entire organization was something that needed to be addressed."

March 15, 2018

Right outside my window, watching me blog...


... it's Meade's avatar.

Talk about anything you like in the comments. This is an open thread.

And remember The Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"'Clock boy' Ahmed Mohamed's lawsuit against Irving ISD, city dismissed."

My clock says that took too long.

"BuzzFeed may have found a legal opening to allow the porn actress Stormy Daniels to discuss her alleged relationship with President Donald Trump and a $130,000 payment she received..."

"... just before the 2016 election as part of a nondisclosure agreement she is now trying to void. The same Trump attorney who brokered the deal with Daniels, Michael Cohen, filed a libel suit in January against BuzzFeed and four of its staffers over publication of the so-called dossier compiling accurate, inaccurate and unproven allegations about Trump’s relationship with Russia. Now, BuzzFeed is using Cohen’s libel suit as a vehicle to demand that Daniels preserve all records relating to her relationship with Trump, as well as her dealings with Cohen and the payment he has acknowledged arranging in 2016...."

Politico reports.

Interesting! Read the whole thing. Seems like it could work.

By the way, I'm having a hard time remembering why I should care about something Stormy Daniels could say that I haven't already heard. The fight to keep her quiet takes up a lot of the attention we could be giving to other distractions. Perhaps most of the players have an interest in doing precisely that.

Well, I am tired of headlines like that.

"Perhaps tired of winning, the United States falls in World Happiness rankings — again" (WaPo).
President Trump has not made America happier again.

For the second consecutive year, the United States has taken a tumble in the World Happiness Report’s annual ranking of more than 150 countries, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an initiative of the United Nations.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network...

Today — perhaps you noticed — United Nations’ International Day of Happiness.

And the U.N. sort of way of thinking about happiness has us in 18th place.
Finland is No. 1, edging out Norway, the 2017 champion. Denmark was third, followed by Iceland and Switzerland....
What kind of white supremacist propaganda is this?!

"Sanctions also were imposed on individuals known as 'trolls' and Russian organizations that supported them in connection with the election interference."

WaPo reports, just now, in "Trump administration sanctions Russian spies, trolls over U.S. election interference, cyber attacks."

"Top Democrats tell me that if they take back the House in November, a restoration of Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no longer guaranteed."

"Conor Lamb, 33, won his U.S. House race in Pennsylvania this week after saying he wouldn't vote for her for leader — a new template for moderates."

Says Mike Allen at Axios.

I love the Conor Lamb effect. I am cheering it on. Conservative Democrats! Break up the old clods of power and give us something crumbly and fresh!

Harper Lee's estate is suing over Aaron Sorkin's script for the stage version of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The NYT reports.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Alabama, the estate argued that Mr. Sorkin’s adaptation deviates too much from the novel, and violates a contract, between Ms. Lee and the producers, which stipulates that the characters and plot must remain faithful to the spirit of the book.

A chief dispute in the complaint is the assertion that Mr. Sorkin’s portrayal of the much beloved Atticus Finch, the crusading lawyer who represents a black man unjustly accused of rape, presents him as a man who begins the drama as a naïve apologist for the racial status quo, a depiction at odds with his purely heroic image in the novel....

“I can’t and won’t present a play that feels like it was written in the year the book was written in terms of its racial politics: It wouldn’t be of interest,” [said the producer of the play, Scott Rudin]. “The world has changed since then.”...

"A Portland transgender woman filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming that the popular dating app Tinder is discriminating against transgender people by deleting their dating profiles."

The Oregonian reports.
Tinder offered the following statement Wednesday, saying it has not been discriminating:

“While we do not comment on pending litigation, we can say, categorically, that we do not ban users from Tinder due to gender identity. At Tinder, we fundamentally believe that gender is not binary and we support inclusivity and acceptance of all people, which is why we offer more than 37 gender identity options for our users in the United States.”
ADDED:  Are corporations people? Do they have the capacity to "fundamentally believe" anything? I'm reminded of arguments I beat to death when the Hobby Lobby case was pending. (Could a corporation have a religion that could be substantially burdened by having to pay for abortions?)

When a corporation says "we fundamentally believe X," isn't it simply deploying a slogan intended to win favor from customers? Isn't Tinder simply saying the corporation's position is what it's management has determined is most likely to enhance its profits? Or, especially in this case, it's saying what is most like to fend off lawsuits, like this one, which cost money and generate what we've determined is bad PR.

Until this post, "vamoosing" was a hapax legomenon in the Althouse archive.

And until this sentence "hapax legomenon" was a hapax legomenon in the Althouse archive.

I'd never used the word "vamoosing" (or "vamoose") in the entire 14-year archive of this blog until I used it in the previous post— which I did mainly for the alliteration with "value," but also because I really like it — it has a moose! — and had simply never thought to use it before.

I learned the term (and the concept) "hapax legomenon" reading Bryan A. Garner's "Nino and Me: My Unusual Friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia":