October 20, 2016

Egyptians in "a panic" over a sugar shortage.

According to the NYT, which details the importance of sugar to Egyptians:
Egyptians pile sugar into mugs of tea by the spoonful — or three or five. A staple long subsidized by the government for most of the population, sugar is the chief ingredient of the national pudding, Om Ali. It can feel like the only ingredient. It is also a prime reason that nearly a fifth of Egyptians have diabetes....

“The people are going to snap,” Ahmad el-Gebaly said as he turned away customers seeking sugar he did not have at his subsidized-goods store in Bulaq, a working-class neighborhood of Cairo. “Nobody can stand [President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi] anymore,” he added of Mr. Sisi. “Sugar is like rice and oil and wheat. You can never run out of it. You can never mess with it. Who can live without sugar?”
One solution is to convince people that it's not good to eat so much sugar, but it doesn't sound as though Egyptians are ready to respond well to that advice.

"Are you tired of feeling alone in this crazy, mixed up world?"

Via BoingBoing.

"It Happened to Me: The Alt-Right Turned Me Into a Meme."

It's "Kevin, a New Yorker and vocal Clinton supporter who woke up on Sunday morning to discover an old picture of him from a Clinton campaign event had been co-opted by alt-right Twitter, labeling him a 'truly disgusting specimen' and an 'it.'"

Example of what this young man saw:

New York Magazine interviews him:
So what was your initial reaction?

I screamed. My roommate actually came in to see what happened. Then I started laughing because it’s so amazing to me.

It is pretty great. You look very, um, angelic in that picture.

I’m beaming. I didn’t realize Hillary was going to stand right next to me until it happened, so I’m in full shock and awe....

"Trump Said ‘Bad Hombres’ and All of Twitter Responded With the Same Hair Joke."

You know, bad ombré.

Bob Dylan — or at least his website anyway — finally gives some sign that he knows he won the Nobel Prize.

It's not on the front page of his website or even on the "books" page, but if you click all the way to the page about the new book that collects all his lyrics, you see:
If you want to buy that new book, here's an Amazon link.

Here's what the back cover looks like:

See? He's a writer. He knows it.

But I'm doubting whether this really counts as Bob Dylan acknowledging the Nobel Prize at long last, because the text at his website is the same text that appears at Amazon. It looks like commercial copy from the publisher. I mean, the squib is:
Bob Dylan is one of the most important songwriters of our time, responsible for modern classics such as “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” The Lyrics is a comprehensive and definitive collection of Dylan’s most recent writing as well as the early works that are such an essential part of the canon. Well known for changing the lyrics to even his best-loved songs, Dylan has edited dozens of songs for this volume, making The Lyrics a must-read for everyone from fanatics to casual fans.
That's so not Bob Dylan's voice.  And it's perfectly silly to pick out “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”

Where do Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump want to see the Supreme Court "take the country"?

At last night's debate, the moderator, Chris Wallace, chose to make the first question about the Supreme Court. This perked me up. It's what I've concentrated my attention on for the past 35 years, and we've got an open seat and maybe 2 or even 4 seats that may open up in the next presidential term. What I remember from watching the debate last night is that both candidates were absolutely awful. Now that I've slept on it and have access to the transcript, I want to double-check my own opinion. So come along with me and judge for yourself.
Wallace observed that the topic of the Supreme Court had yet to be discussed at a debate in any depth, and he wanted to "drill down." Going to Clinton first, Wallace said:
[W]here do you want to see the court take the country? 
The idea that the Court is in the lead taking us somewhere is all wrong, but no one is going to point that out.
And secondly, what’s your view on how the constitution should be interpreted? Do the founders' words mean what they say or is it a living document to be applied flexibly, according to changing circumstances? 
That's a simple way to prompt the candidates to talk about interpretive methodology, and it's an invitation to bungle, because candidates don't really want to get stuck at either end of those seemingly opposite positions. (I say "seemingly," because you can say that the founder's words meant that this is a living document to be applied flexibly, according to changing circumstances.)

Clinton goes first:
You know, I think when we talk about the Supreme Court, it really raises the central issue in this election. Namely, what kind of country are we going to be? What kind of opportunities will we provide for our citizens? What kind of rights will Americans have? And I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people. Not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy. 
I was already loudly arguing with her. The side? The Supreme Court isn't supposed to take sides. She's blatantly saying she wants a Court that doesn't act like a court but gets on one side. Her Court is a Court that ought to have to recuse itself constantly.

On not accepting the results of the election: Let's hear from Russ Feingold: "This game's not over until we win."

That's Russ — who's running for the Senate again here in Wisconsin — haranguing the protesters back in 2011, when the results of the last election were not being accepted. There had been a fair election. No one was saying there had been fraud or improper counting, but the protesters rejected the legitimacy of the outcome, began working on getting a recall election, and — for many weeks — chanted "This is what democracy looks like." That is: Democracy was — instead of accepting the results of the election — resisting conspicuously and vocally.

Now, let's look at what Donald Trump said at last night's debate:

The moderator, Chris Wallace, asked him if he would make a "commitment" that he will "absolutely accept the result of the election."

(I think I would have said: "It depends on what the meaning of 'result' is. If by 'result,' you mean that we have had a chance to look at exactly what happened in all of the states and we can see that the margin of victory is beyond all remaining allegations of fraud, then I will absolutely accept the result. But if you mean that in a close election, where there is suspicion of fraud or mishandling of the ballots, and the other side is calling that the 'result,' and that I should accept that 'result,' no I will not.")

Here's what Trump said:
I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now, I'll look at it at the time. What I've seen, what I’ve seen, is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt and the pile on is so amazing. "The New York Times" actually wrote an article about it, but they don't even care. It is so dishonest, and they have poisoned the minds of the voters....
Notice that Trump isn't talking about fraud and miscounting of ballots there. He's complaining that the voters made the wrong decision. We can't be rejecting the outcome of an election on the ground that the voters thought about it the wrong way! Trump has many good complaints about the media, but if distorted media invalidate elections, we can't have a democracy anymore. There will always be dishonesty and efforts to influence — poisoning — and if we can't get on with it anyway, the whole project of democracy is a bust.

Trump does go on to make a second point, the decent point, that there may be fraud:
If you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote. Millions. This isn't coming from me. This is coming from Pew report and other places. Millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn't be registered to vote.
This is the good point, and he needed to extend it and explain why irregularities in voting require him to withhold his acceptance of the purported results until we can see what happened. But he does not say that. He just drops the idea that there are a lot of names on the voting rolls that shouldn't be there, and stumbles forward trying to get to a different subject:
So let me just give you one other thing. I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people. I'll tell you one other thing. She shouldn't be allowed to run. It’s -- She's guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run, and just in that respect I say it's rigged because she should never --

Wallace: But, but --

Trump: Chris. She should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with e-mails and so many other things.
Wallace stops him:
Wallace: But, sir, there is a tradition in this country, in fact, one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power and no matter how hard fought a campaign is that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying you're necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?
This is a grand statement by Wallace, and Trump should have shown respect for "that principle," while reminding us of the additional principle that the votes must be legitimate and properly counted and that he will not abandon one principle in preference to the other. Both are treasured, and he will protect both. Well... unless — expecting to lose — he really is laying the groundwork for a post-election political/media career premised on anger and grievance. The first woman President will be the one who gets no honeymoon.

What Trump did say was cutesy and snide:
What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense, okay?
And that's where Hillary Clinton jumped in. She called it "horrifying." She said Trump had a habit of saying things are "rigged" whenever they are not going his way. She listed a bunch of things — such as Trump's saying the federal judge in the Trump University case couldn't be fair — and she ends with the silliest thing — the Emmys were rigged against his TV show.

Trump riffs on that last thing: "Should have gotten it." That's cute and gets a laugh, but he needs to be serious. This is important, and he's going for the opening to be funny. Clinton takes advantage:
Clinton: This is a mind-set. This is how Donald thinks, and it's funny, but it's also really troubling. That is not the way our democracy works. We've been around for 240 years. We've had free and fair elections. We've accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them, and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. You know, President Obama said the other day when you're whining before the game is even finished....
And that's where Chris Wallace calls an end to this segment of the debate. Hillary gets in a few more words. Trump is "denigrating" and "talking down our democracy" and "I, for one, am appalled...."

And Trump has a few more words but they are off topic (about the email controversy), and Wallace steps back in, more firmly, and shuts the door on what will be the biggest story coming out of the debate:
There they go again. The big bad media, poisoning our mind.

October 19, 2016

The final debate.

Watch with me.

ADDED: Thanks for all the comments! And here's my son John's live-blogging. His bottom line: "Winner: Chris Wallace."

I watched, but I'm going to wait for the transcript — and the morning — to weigh in.

"When we first heard this raw, very young, and seemingly untrained voice, frankly nasal, as if sandpaper could sing, the effect was dramatic and electrifying."

"We—my young husband and I—were classical music lovers for whom the arrival each month of chastely spare, black-on-white Musical Heritage Society albums (does anyone now living remember these?) was an exciting event. Bob Dylan seemed to erupt out of nowhere. The genuine power, originality, and heartrending pathos of 'Blowin’ in the Wind,' 'A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,' 'Masters of War,' 'Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right' were like nothing we’d encountered before."

Wrote Joyce Carol Oates in 2004. I'm reading that now because it's quoted in the Wikipedia article for the David Bowie song "Song for Bob Dylan," which has the similar line "a voice like sand and glue":
I wrote a song for you
About a strange young man called Dylan
With a voice like sand and glue
Some words had truthful vengeance
That could pin us to the floor
Brought a few more people on
And put the fear in a whole lot more

At the Tiny Caves Café...


... snuggle in.

(And do, please, use the Althouse Amazon Portal if you need or want to buy anything.)

"Top 10 Things We Learned From Hillary Clinton Campaign's Emails" and 10 things that show "Trump Is Indeed a Big Whiny Baby."

2 top stories at Reason.com — one against Clinton and one against Trump.

"Politics is the art of being all things to all people. And of all the versions of the Obamas we’ve been treated to over the last 8 years..."

"... our favorite by far is going to have to be the 'IDGAF I’m Outta Here' version of the Obamas."

"Mike is a deep believer in the idea that 'kids have to find their own balance of power.'"

"He wants his boys to create their own society governed by its own rules. He consciously transformed his family’s house into a kid hangout, spreading the word that local children were welcome to play in the yard anytime, even when the family wasn’t home. Discontented with the expensive, highly structured summer camps typical of the area, Mike started one of his own: Camp Yale, named after his street, where the kids make their own games and get to roam the neighborhood."

From "The Anti-Helicopter Parent’s Plea: Let Kids Play!/A Silicon Valley dad decided to test his theories about parenting by turning his yard into a playground where children can take physicalrisks without supervision. Not all of his neighbors were thrilled" by Melanie Thernstrom in the NYT Magazine.

What about lawsuits?
Mike tells me that people sometimes ask him if he is afraid of lawsuits in the event of an injury on his property. He would never let fear of being sued dictate how he lives his life, he says.

What about second-degree manslaughter, I asked: an accident enabled by negligence, if, say, another child — or even one of his own — broke his neck leaping from the playhouse onto the trampoline. (Unenclosed trampolines are a staple of personal-injury law; an estimated 85,000 children under 14 were hurt on trampolines last year.) Does he ever worry about that?

He flashed me a look, then snorted with laughter.
I guess for an adult, living without fear of lawsuits is like, for a child, climbing up on a playhouse roof and jumping off onto a trampoline. Are you going to live or not? 

"Every four years, by journalistic if not political tradition, the presidential election must be accompanied by a 'revolution.'"

"So what transformed politics this time around? The rise of the Web log, or blog. The commentary of bloggers — individuals or groups posting daily, hourly or second-by-second observations of and opinions on the campaign on their own Web sites — helped shape the 2004 race."

From "The Revolution Will Be Posted," NYT, November 2, 2004.

I'm just indulging in some haphazard nostalgia. Remember when blog was the revolution and mainstream media tried to seem with it by getting the bloggers to come over and stomp around for a short spell? Now, they just embed tweets. More efficient. Less messy.

"David Crosby readily admits that he probably shouldn't be alive. Drug addiction, alcoholism and health issues..."

"... have taken their toll but have not knocked David out. He's still making music and going out on tour, but he had a little time to talk with Marc about The Byrds, CSN, Neil Young, Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock, Altamont, Melissa Etheridge, and much more."

It's not Marc Maron at his greatest, but it was nice hearing from David Crosby, who has acquired some wisdom and humility in his old age... some of it by spending a year in prison in Texas where being a celebrity got you nothing.

If you're like me and you love David from his time in The Byrds — my first rock concert was The Byrds at Newark Symphony Hall on March 27, 1966 — you'll be pained by how little Marc knows or cares about The Byrds. Marc, born in 1963, hangs out in the Crosby, Stills & Nash period. But I did learn that The Byrds kicked Crosby out, and according to Crosby, he deserved it because he was an asshole.

WaPo's Fact Checker gives Hillary 4 Pinocchios.

"Clinton is creating an imaginary Trump here, claiming that Trump didn’t really care about the auto industry."

Hillary's remark (made at Wayne State University in Detroit earlier this month):
“Nobody should be surprised, because back in the Great Recession, when millions of jobs across America hung in the balance, Donald Trump said rescuing the auto industry didn’t really matter very much. He said, and I quote again, ‘Let it go.’ Now, I can’t imagine that. I supported President Obama’s decision to rescue the auto industry in America.” 

"We talk about lots of things that we don't talk about."

Language warning (right from the beginning):

Here's the written article: "Rigging the Election – Video II: Mass Voter Fraud" (Project Veritas Action):
One of the highest-level operatives for the DNC who admits to being “no white knight” said that the Democrats have been rigging elections for fifty years. [The now-fired Scott] Foval then goes on to explain the sinister plot and how they avoid getting caught. The undercover reporter asks why they can’t just “bus in” voters, but get them to use their own personal vehicles. Foval describes how they avoid being detected and free of criminal charges. “Would they charge each individual of voter fraud? Or are they going to go after the facilitator for conspiracy, which they could prove? It’s one thing if all these people drive up in their personal cars. If there’s a bus involved? That changes the dynamic.”

"Ready, Ann?"

In the email:

It's like getting email from The Grim Reaper.

No, I am not ready. Not yet. Back off.

October 18, 2016

"There are things he’s said on the bench where if I had a baseball bat, I might have used it."

Said Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The "he" is Justice Scalia.

I guess that's just one more New Yorker demonstrating how people talk in New York. The other one I'm thinking about is Donald Trump. There's hyperbole, humor, casual nonchalance about referring to physical violence. Pussy-grabbing, hitting with a baseball bat — the non-New-Yorkers gasp, but this is how they talk — right?

"If you're there and you're protesting and you do these actions, you will be attacked at Trump rallies. That's what we want."

"The whole point of it is that we know that Trump's people will freak the fuck out, his security team will freak out, and his supporters will lose their shit."

Said Scott Foval, who was the national field director for the Americans United for Change until he was fired for saying that on a James O’Keefe undercover video.