April 25, 2017

"I appeal to the men and women, to the boys and girls of Tralee, to dissociate themselves from this attempt to besmirch the name of our town for the sake of filthy gain."

"I ask the people to ignore the presence of this woman and her associates. They are attempting something that is contrary to the moral teaching of our faith, that is against our traditions and against the ordinary decencies of life, something that is against everything we hold dear."

"The Media Bubble Is Worse Than You Think."

That headline for an article at Politico (by Jack Shafer and Tucker Doherty) makes me say out loud, "Why do they think they know what I think?" And the answer is too obvious for me to leave it to you to write in the comments: They're in a bubble. (And it's worse than they think.)

But don't skip the article because of the irritating headline. Shafer and Doherty crunch some data. They conclude:
In a sense, the media bubble reflects an established truth about America: The places with money get served better than the places without. People in big media cities aren’t just more liberal, they’re also richer: Half of all newspaper and internet publishing employees work in counties where the median household income is greater than $61,000—$7,000 more than the national median. Commercial media tend to cluster where most of the GDP is created, and that’s the coasts. Perhaps this is what Bannon is hollering about when he denounces the “corporatist, global media,” as he did in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference. If current trends continue—and it’s safe to predict they will—national media will continue to expand and concentrate on the coasts, while local and regional media contract.

The latest trapped-on-an-airplane, viral-video horrorshow.

"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower."

"To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha — which is to demean oneself."

Wrote Robert Pirsig, the author of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," who died yesterday at the age of 88.

Ivanka does her perfect-poise routine when Germans hiss and boo at her for talking about her father as a champion of women.

She was on panel — alongside Angela Merkel, Queen Màxima of the Netherlands, and International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagardeon — at the W-20 where the topic was women's empowerment and entrepreneurship at the W-20.

Video at the link.

IN THE COMMENTS: Freeman Hunt asked, "How could anyone not like her?," and I answered:
There's something robotic and trancelike about her demeanor. It's interesting to me that people don't dislike her for that glossy, plastic, stage-y quality, which actually reminds me of Hillary Clinton. I don't myself dislike her, but I'm fascinated that people don't call her out for the Stepford Wives aura that so many political women have been mocked for.

But Jackie Kennedy was a similar case. People loved it in her. I guess if you read as beautiful and you don't misbehave, people will accept a woman who seems anesthetized.
And AReasonableMan says, "Drudge's front page currently featuring Ivanka is pretty funny." Here's the part he means, with Ivanka in the middle — looking like a sensibly beautiful woman — flanked by Madonna displaying elongated Jayne-Mansfield-style breasts and some absurdly plastic-surgeried human Barbie doll. Click to enlarge:

Oatmeal toenail.

What I googled — because the image lodged in my head — to get to that article I'd meant to blog and had lost track of: "PLEASE, GOD, STOP CHELSEA CLINTON FROM WHATEVER SHE IS DOING/The last thing the left needs is the third iteration of a failed political dynasty," by T.A. Frank.

You know, it's a good idea to put some very memorable and distinctive words in a piece of writing you want people to be able to figure out how pull up out of the internet archive.

Here's how Frank got oatmeal and toenail into his article about Chelsea:
What comes across with Chelsea, for lack of a gentler word, is self-regard of an unusual intensity. And the effect is stronger on paper. Unkind as it is to say, reading anything by Chelsea Clinton—tweets, interviews, books—is best compared to taking in spoonfuls of plain oatmeal that, periodically, conceal a toenail clipping.
That was easy to find. I'm surprised that anything else came up, but there was:
[Amyre Qualls] said all the photos were taken in the school cafeteria at Prince George High School and show food that is being served to students.

“Oatmeal, toenail clippings, cauliflower,” Qualls said. That’s what people told her the pizza looked like it was made with.

Democratic shit talk.

I was fascinated by the news that "Sh*t talking is Democrats' new strategy" and blogged it yesterday in "DNC Chairman Tom Perez routinely uses the word 'shit' in speeches." So I decided to search for "shit" in the book I'm reading "Shattered/Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign."

Here's what I found. I've left out occurrences of "bullshit," because that word is more normalized (why is an interesting question that Meade and I just had a long conversation about). I've left in the somewhat oddball word "ripshit" (which seems to be like "ripsnorting," but with shit (watch what you snort!)).

At Kindle Locations 1250-1256:
Biden’s penchant for saying impolitic things would be an area ripe for exploitation for the Clinton team. He, and his legacy, would suffer. While [Biden and Clinton] fought over who had the better style, Sanders would float above the mudslinging by continuing to focus on issues. “It’s ticky-tack shit that would just not be good and then they would grate on each other and then it would be a downward spiral,” the Clinton aide said.
Kindle Locations 1352-1359:
[Iowa state director Matt] Paul... walked in to find the former president sitting in a leather chair. Bill was wearing a suit and a pair of leather gloves; his arms were crossed. Even if the yelling hadn’t been audible through the walls of the boutique hotel, it would have been clear that he was in a foul mood. His eyes were fixed on Paul. If there’s ever a time to make sure I know my shit, the staffer thought, this is it.
Kindle Locations 1835-1837:
At the end of the spot, Hillary says she is running for all of the “Dorothys” out there who need a champion. Voters liked her “strength, resilience, [and] take no shit attitude,” said a person familiar with focus group data.
Kindle Locations 3220-3223:
The kneecapping of several aides, which wouldn’t fully take shape for a few more weeks, didn’t mean Hillary intended to let the rest of her staff off easy. She was ripshit over the confluence of calamities in Michigan. Her senior aides and advisers all got reamed... the day after the Michigan primary.
Kindle Locations 4579-4580:
Heading into Monday, July 25, the first day of the convention, Mook was nervous. “Absolutely shitting my pants” is how he described it to others.
Kindle Locations 5599-5602:
Putin might not be a Communist anymore, but he was a Russian autocrat who came to power after a distinguished career in the KGB. This was the kind of spy-thriller shit that would surely break through in the press. If the public saw Trump putting Russian interests above American sovereignty, Hillary’s aides thought, the story had the potential to break his back....
Kindle Locations 5636-5641:
“Could you imagine a day so fucking crazy that no one gives a shit about this?” one aide said of the October 7 intelligence report. Suddenly, the upside-down dynamics of the 2016 election came into sharp relief.... “Here’s something Donald Trump did and said and was arguably disqualifying to a lot of voters— something that could put the race away— but within moments, a factor related to e-mails comes around and puts the thumb on the other side of the scale.”
Kindle Locations 5686-5693:
[T]he most jarring and memorable video clip in modern campaign history... couldn’t put Trump away. Early in the campaign, Trump had said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue shooting people and not lose a vote. Maybe he was right.... It was a terrifying realization... “People already knew he was a womanizing piece of shit,” a senior Clinton aide said. “It doesn’t change the narrative.”

Can Bill O'Reilly succeed as a podcaster?

Here, you can listen to his first episode. Key word: Listen. How much of Bill O'Reilly's performance came though the face and the hand gestures? And it wasn't just him, it was all the glitter and noise surrounding him — the crazy moving shapes and words and flashing lights that the opening sequence of "The Colbert Report" had such hilarious fun with.

In the podcast, all we have is the voice. The banging, bonging Fox News music is stripped away. It's just one man's voice, all alone. And it's a TV-trained voice. Whatever it is that works on television, O'Reilly had it. His TV show was phenomenally successful, and his voice was important, but there were many other elements in play as we listened to that voice.

Now, you are invited to take O'Reilly's voice straight — just the talking. I found it fascinating to experience O'Reilly as just a voice. It makes you wonder where the magic was, but you can easily tell that it was not in the voice alone. The voice is familiar but you notice how different it sounds from a professional radio voice. The pronunciation isn't crisp. There's a downbeat quality. O'Reilly may have special reason to be sad right now, but a depressive voice doesn't draw you in and energize you.

Naturally, I compare him to Rush Limbaugh, who developed his style on the radio and figured out what works when you are only a voice. There's so much energy and forward drive in Rush's monologues. You get the feeling that it's fun and funny and you're drawn in and propelled along. It's very different. It's radio. (And that's all podcasting is: Radio.) And Rush doesn't rely only on his fabulous radio voice. Exciting music begins each segment, and he has a line-up of well-chosen and edited audio clips to play to change the pace and give him something to bounce off of.

Has O'Reilly even thought about what it takes to be a radio commentator? Well, the answer must be yes, because he did have a radio spin-off of his TV show for a little while. He was on a thing called "The Radio Factor" from 2002 to 2008. I don't think it did very well, and that was with the assistance of Fox News.

April 24, 2017

"What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech."

An enticing headline for a column I don't agree with, by Ulrich Baer (in the NYT). He's a vice provost for faculty, arts, humanities, and diversity and a professor of comparative literature, and — as he champions excluded voices — he claims authority — funnily enough — based on his own positions of prestige:
As a college professor and university administrator with over two decades of direct experience of campus politics, I am not overly worried that even the shrillest heckler’s vetoes will end free speech in America. As a scholar of literature, history and politics, I am especially attuned to the next generation’s demands to revise existing definitions of free speech to accommodate previously delegitimized experiences. Freedom of expression is not an unchanging absolute. When its proponents forget that it requires the vigilant and continuing examination of its parameters, and instead invoke a pure model of free speech that has never existed, the dangers to our democracy are clear and present.
I don't think I have ever read 4 consecutive sentences containing as much bad writing and bad thinking. I'm a bit awestruck at the badness. I'm certainly glad that it was published. I was going to criticize it, but I think it speaks for itself. I'll just say thanks for hanging your ideas out where we can see them. I'm moving on, looking for other parameters to examine.

"BART takeover robbery: 40 to 60 teens swarm train, rob weekend riders."

There's surveillance video of this incident, but according to the BART spokesperson, because the people who are seen committing obvious crimes appear to be minors, the video cannot be put up on line.
The juveniles “committed multiple strong-arm robberies of bags and cell phones,” said a police summary prepared after the incident. “At least two victims suffered head/facial injuries requiring medical attention.”...

The attack was quick, police reported, and the teenagers were able to retreat from the station and vanish into the surrounding East Oakland neighborhood before BART officers could respond.
I can't believe they won't/can't make the video available so these criminals can be caught. Is that really the law in California?

DNC Chairman Tom Perez routinely uses the word "shit" in speeches.

Politico reports:
With children on stage behind him, Perez told an audience in Las Vegas this weekend that Trump "doesn't give a shit about health care."

Perez, President Barack Obama's former labor secretary, made similar comments earlier this year. "They call it a skinny budget, I call it a shitty budget," Perez said in Portland, Maine.
And here's a shirt that's sold (for $30) on the DNC website:



Derangement syndrome.

I can't believe they think this is a good idea.

ADDED: Instapundit links to this post and says, "It was just a few months ago they were going to the fainting couches over Trump. Remember?," pointing at Hillary's "Our Children Are Watching" ad:

"Don’t Call Me a Millennial — I’m an Old Millennial."

Jesse Singal notices the old millennial/young millennial distinction. He doesn't identify with those under-29 millennials and those are the millennials that people talking about millennials tend to be talking about. I don't know why he draws the old/young line between 29 and 28, but he does.

In my day, we used to say "Don't trust anybody over 30," and I understand the sensitivity about who feels as though they're actually in your generation. I grew up as a Baby Boomer, always knowing I was a Baby Boomer, and then — rather recently — seeing Baby Boomer defined as anyone born from 1946 to 1964. Sorry, but people who were babies in the 60s never felt like Baby Boomers to me. You're talking about people who don't remember Elvis as a new and exciting phenomenon, didn't live through the Kennedy assassination, don't remember the arrival of The Beatles, never faced (or had classmates who faced) the draft, and did not learn about sex when abortion was a crime? They're not my generation.

But what are the big differences between old and young millennials?
“Early millennials grew up in an optimistic time and were then hit by the recession, whereas late millennials had their worldview made more realistic by experiencing the recession while during their formative years,” explained [social psychologist Jean] Twenge. According to Twenge, this has led to certain differences between older and younger millennials that manifest in the data. 
Jeesh. What a dreary distinction!
For example, she’s found some evidence from survey data that younger millennials “are more practical — they are more attracted to industries with steady work and are more likely to say they are willing to work overtime” than older ones. Us Old Millennials could afford to develop views on work and work-life balance that were a bit more idealistic.

Then there are smartphones and social media, which hit the two halves of the generation in massively different ways. “Unlike [Young Millennials],” wrote [Juliet] Lapidos, “I am not a true digital native. The Internet wasn’t a fact of nature. I had to learn what it was and how to use it. I wrote letters home when I was at summer camp. I didn’t have a mobile phone until I was 19.” For us Old Millennials, the social aspects of our middle- and high-school-years were lived mostly offline....
Yeah. Sounds massive all right. Millennials.

Obama speaks!

He's back, and talking to students at the University of Chicago. I haven't watched it yet, but here's the whole thing. I'll comment later if I can think of anything:



ADDED: Sorry, I cannot watch this. I'm just going to quote some things people were saying in the open thread a couple posts down. Chuck wrote:
Is anybody watching this Obama thing?... Words sort of fail me, in trying to describe what a feckless production disaster this is. It is as if Resident Director Barack Obama was meeting with all of the kids in his dorm hall. I think that they are passing the talking pillow, as they share their feelings.
And then:
I hope Althouse (Obama-voter Ann Althouse) does a post on that thing. It was hilariously bad. If she watches it, and blogs it, it will spare countless innocents from being bored into insensibility. If she does watch it, and doesn't turn it off after ten minutes...
Yeah, which is what I did.
... we will all owe her for blogging above and beyond the call of regular duties.

I read Obama's expression as, "OMG what am I doing here? Valerie is going to have hell to pay, for roping me into this..."

The disastrousness of this won't last. There is so much happening this week, and there was so little newsworthiness with Obama, that it won't even be news in a couple of hours. I'd understand, if she blew it off.
Thanks for your understanding.

3 more things from "Shattered."

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm reading "Shattered/Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign." Listening to the audio version on my walk along the lake today...

DSC04787

... I made a mental note of 3 words — "-splain-," "clutch," and "construction" — so I could find 3 passages in the Kindle version and quote them for you here:

1. 18% of the way into the book, we encounter the delightful word "campaign-splained": "[I]n early September 2015... the New York Times had just published a story about a coming Clinton campaign strategy shift. Hillary would 'show more humor and heart,' the headline declared.... Clinton supporters across the country read it [as] a pure what-the-fuck moment... [Susie Tompkins Buell, a big donor] scolded [Clinton campaign manager Robby] Mook...  The campaign’s inability to reveal Hillary’s authenticity— and its ham-fisted effort to manufacture a false version of it — was infuriating.... Trying to placate Buell, Mook offered up [communications director Jennifer] Palmieri as a sacrifice. The large, domineering communications team was pretty much a separate shop within the operation, he campaign-splained."

2. 29% of the way in, we see this contrast between Bill Clinton and Robby Mook that makes Mook sound modern, even as we know — having watched the Sanders and Trump campaigns — it is probably even more passé than what Bill wanted to do: "[Bill] liked to go to small towns in northern New Hampshire, Appalachia, and rural Florida because he believed, from experience, that going to them and acknowledging he knew how they lived their lives, and the way they made decisions, put points on the board. Mook wanted Bill in places where the most Hillary-inclined voters would see him. That meant talking to white liberals and minorities in cities and their close-in suburbs. That was one fault line of a massive generational divide between Bill and Mook that separated old-time political hustling from modern data-driven vote collecting. Bill was like the old manager putting in a pinch hitter he believed would come through in the clutch while the eggheaded general manager in the owner’s box furiously dialed the dugout phone to let him know there was an 82 percent chance that the batter would make an out this time."

3. At 30%: "[T]he one aspect of her campaign that [Hillary Clinton] was most confident about was that none of the tribes" — The Mook Mafia, The State [Department] Crew, The Consultants, and The Communications Shop — "separately or in collaboration, had any idea how to construct a winning message for her. In her view, it was up to the people she paid to find the right message for her — a construction deeply at odds with the way Sanders and Trump built their campaigns around their own gut feelings about where to lead the country."

At the Fritillaria Café...

P1130338

... come up with your own topics.

(And remember The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"A liberal blogger who wrote satirical critiques of the Maldivian government and the spread of radical Islam..."

"... died Sunday after being stabbed in the stairway of his apartment building."
[Yameen] Rasheed was best known for satirical Twitter posts and weekly posts on his popular blog, The Daily Panic, which riffed on the week’s headlines, often criticizing the government’s use of religion to appeal to the public....

Celine Peroni, Mr. Rasheed’s girlfriend, said he was “just the smartest, wittiest and sweetest person I’ve ever met.”...

“He was aware of the threats, but cautious,” she said. “He wanted the voice of the truth to be heard, despite the risks.”

With Gorsuch, will the Supreme Court take the cake?

We've been waiting and waiting to see if they'll take the cake.
So this week’s conference will be the first for Gorsuch. That fact is reflected in this week’s unusually long roll of relists, which are plentiful enough that it appears that the court may have simply rolled over the entire “discuss list” from last week’s conference. Three of last week’s relists return again, including the closely watched six-time relist and potential blockbuster Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 16-111, involving a cake decorator who refused on religious grounds to make a cake for a same-sex wedding....

"We did not want to make this pink-washed. This is not a girl’s condom."

"It’s not just like, ‘Hey, I’m the guy, I bring the condom.’ It’s people involved together making decisions for their sexual health."

Said Bruce Weiss, Trojan’s vice president of marketing, explaining a new product with "more gender-neutral purple packaging" and "a carrying case that could slip easily (and discreetly) into a purse," quoted in a NYT article titled "XOXO Campaign: Will It Spell Profit or Trouble for Condom Maker?"

The "trouble" is, we're told, that in today's "unforgiving environment,"* Trojan could get criticizes for seeming to shift responsibility onto the woman when it — like the condom — belongs on the man.

Fortunately for Trojan, the NYT extracted a quote from Naomi Wolf, who enthuses:
“It wonderfully addresses women as adults who can take responsibility, not victims of whatever the guy happens to have in his pocket or not,” Ms. Wolf said. “It addresses women as adults who are thinking about their sexual health.”
Victims of whatever the guy happens to have in his pocket — great phrase.

_________________

* E.g., the reaming given to Pepsi for seemingly trivializing Black Lives Matter

"Fire Spicer and hire O'Reilly. It would be the most fun ever."

Surfed wrote in the comments to the post about the Trump interview transcript.

Meade wrote:
I said that very thing just a few days ago. So great minds think alike. A least I've heard they do. I don't know. Maybe great minds don't think alike. But I've heard it. From great scholars. The greatest. So I'm pleased either way.
I can vouch for Meade. He really did say that. About Spicer and O'Reilly. Not about great minds thinking alike. I don't think they do. See?

By the way, recently Trump said: "I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in."
Trump even likened Spicer’s daily news briefings to a daytime soap opera, noting proudly that his press secretary attracted nearly as many viewers....

During an intimate lunch recently with a key outside ally in a small West Wing dining room, for instance, Trump repeatedly paused the conversation to make the group watch a particularly combative Spicer briefing....
ADDED: Also in the comments on that other post and before Surfed made his proposal, EDH wrote:
Here's what I propose: Trump hires Bill O'Reilly. They set up a fake "old school" cathode ray tube TV cabinet in the Oval Office. Bill O'Reilly then does The O'Reilly Factor show live in person from inside the hollowed-out TV cabinet while Trump watches the program.

Trump asked.

Here's John Henry in the comments to the post on Trump's interview transcript:
I sold machinery for 22 years and now sell myself as a consultant. I used to read a lot of books and listen to a lot of motivational tapes on how to be a better salesman. They really do work. They helped me a lot.

If I had to pick one thing that a successful salesperson does and that the moderately or un-successful person doesn't do, it's this: ASK FOR THE ORDER!!!!!

A lot of different ways to do this and phrase this but it is amazing how many times salespeople fail to do this and then can't understand why they didn't close the sale.

So something that jumped out at me from the interview was this:
AP: Can you tell me a little bit about how that came about?

TRUMP: No, just — you know, I asked the government to let her out.

TRUMP: You know Obama worked on it for three years, got zippo, zero.

AP: How did you hear about this story?

TRUMP: Many people, human rights people, are talking about it. It’s an incredible thing, especially when you meet her. You realize — I mean, she was in a rough place.

AP: Did you have to strike a deal with (Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah) el-Sissi over this?

TRUMP: No. No deal. He was here. He — I said, “I really would appreciate it if you would look into this and let her out.” And as you know, she went through a trial. And anyway, she was let go. And not only she, it was a total of eight people.
And there was this with the Italian Primo:
TRUMP: He’s going to end up paying. But you know, nobody ever asked the question. Nobody asked. Nobody ever asked him to pay up. So it’s a different kind of a presidency.
President Trump has been a salesman all his life. You may or may not like what he is selling but he has been a master of it. He knows that the most important part of the sales process is knowing to ask for the order. Knowing how and when is important but the most important is asking.

We saw that in his campaigning style. He went out among the people and asked for the order (their vote) Loser-loser Hillary couln't be bothered. She could have had Wisconsin for the asking, probably. She didn't ask.

Ya don't ask, ya don't get.