January 21, 2018

"If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!"

ADDED: I'm trying to read the NYT article on the shutdown, "Bitter Bickering Muddies the Path to Ending the Government Shutdown."
The immediate cause of the shutdown, which began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday after Senate Democrats blocked consideration of a House-passed stopgap measure, was a dispute over spending. But it was a stalemate over immigration policy, the topic that propelled Mr. Trump’s political rise and has dominated his first 12 months as president, that snarled the negotiations, as the president vacillated over what approach he should take and advisers including Mr. Kelly counseled a harder line.
Wait. The immediate cause of the shutdown was... Senate Democrats blocked consideration of a House-passed stopgap measure. What's all that other material?! The Democrats blocked the vote that would have avoided the shutdown. That's clear, and one answer is, go to majority voting so this chaos isn't inflicted on us. Or is the shutdown just political theater that doesn't really mean anything?

Bill Maher wonders how he's supposed to be a comedian in this time that I call The Era of That's Not Funny.

"I'm down with #MeToo. I'm not down with #MeCarthyism. Something is way off when Senator Kirsten Gillibrand can go unchallenged saying 'when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation.' Can't we just be having an additional conversation? Can we only have one thought now? I get it that Al Franken had to become roadkill on The Zero Tolerance Highway — a highway, it seems, only Democrats have to drive on — but do liberals really want to become The Distinction Deniers, the people who can't tell or don't want to see a difference between an assault in a van and a backrub by the watercooler? Masturbation is normal and healthy. But not in the park. Giving up on the idea that even bad things have degrees? That is as dumb as embracing the idea of 'alternative facts.' I get it when Trump's side doesn't want to talk. He only knows 88 words. But we are supposed to be The Conversation People. Justice requires weighing things. That's why Lady Justice is holding a scale, not a sawed-off shotgun. Senator Gillibrand went on to say, 'You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is okay.' Yes. Agreed. But we can't walk and chew gum anymore? We can't agree that groping and rape are both unacceptable and one is worse?..."

"One year into the Donald Trump administration, Oklahomans generally seem happy with the results, even if they don’t always appreciate the president’s style."

"'I thought he would really be good for the economy, and I feel like he’s got that off to a good start,' said Sage Smith of Claremore, who was interviewed near downtown Tulsa last week. 'A lot of people feel like his antics on Twitter go a little too far,' Smith said. 'It doesn’t bother me that much. But, being president, he probably shouldn’t do some of that.'"

The view from Oklahoma, recounted in "'He's done some amazing things': One year into his presidency, Trump remains a favorite in Oklahoma" (Tulsa World).

Why is Althouse reading Tulsa World? Is she traveling? No, I stumbled into Oklahoma as a result of the images searches done for the previous post, which got me to "Table Talk: Tulsa's 'Rosie the Riveter' to speak at VFW brunch" ("The 94-year-old [Marina] Metevelis was 16 when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941. She applied for a job at the Wichita (Kansas) aircraft plant where B-17 Flying Fortresses were manufactured, and she became a riveter her senior year in high school").

That's from October 2016, back when TV news-talk-show people were telling us the election was over, and Hillary had won...

Confession: I rewatch videos like that frequently.

AND: Michael Moore's "5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win" was the most prescient thing anyone had to say before the election. I think people thought he was just kidding and trying to be provocative to get attention.

"Get Congress back. Everything is at stake… we can do it. Time is up!"

Said Jane Fonda, quoted in "Jane Fonda, Gloria Allred, Tessa Thompson Slam Trump at Sundance Women’s Rally" (Variety).

It seems like every day I see headlines about various people slamming Trump. Has anyone ever been so slammed? And to so little effect? And yet, Fonda and her ilk assert we can do it. Did you see the "We Can Do It" sign in the photo at the link?

Not terribly well drawn. She almost looks like she's hugging him, when clearly what is intended is a murderous chokehold. Through Google image search, I found this better-drawn version of the idea:

ADDED: The artist on the well-drawn version of the idea appears to be Kevin Karstens.

AND: Look at this other poster that came up on my "we can do it trump" search: A "We Can Do It"-type woman carving up Trump's head on a plate.

"Reading about [Aziz Ansari], I realize how lucky I am that so much of my sex ed came from Harlequins."

Says chick-lit writer Jennifer Weiner in "We Need Bodice-Ripper Sex Ed" (NYT).
Because these books were written for and consumed by women, female pleasure was an essential part of every story.... Shirley Conran’s “Lace” features a heroine telling her feckless husband that she’d used an egg timer to determine how long it took her to achieve orgasm on her own and that she’d be happy to teach him what to do. At 14, I never looked at hard-boiled eggs the same way again.

The books not only covered blissful sex but also described a whole range of intimate moments, from the awkward to the funny to the very bad, including rape of both the stranger and intimate-partner variety. Beyond the dirty bits, the books I read described the moments before and after the main event, the stuff you don’t see in mainstream movies, where zippers don’t get stuck and teeth don’t bump when you’re kissing; the stuff you don’t see in porn, where almost no time elapses between the repair guy’s arrival and the start of activities that do not involve the clogged kitchen sink....

Porn, necessarily, cuts to the chase: a little less conversation, a little more action.

Talking’s not sexy, people complain.

But when you don’t know how to ask, when you can’t bring yourself to tell, when you don’t possess the language with which to talk about desire, that’s when you can end up with crossed wires, missed signals, mixed messages, a guy who goes to sleep thinking, “That was fun!” and a girl who goes home crying in an Uber.
Talking's not sexy? I'd say, depends on the talking. I think there can be a lot of talking during sex, and not just instructions and continuing updates about the level of consensuality. Who are these people who complain that talking during sex is not sexy? If the thoughts in your head would be unsexy if vocalized, maybe you shouldn't be having sex. If you continually withhold your thoughts during sex out of concern that they're not sexy, why are you having sex? At one end of the bed, the genitals are interlocked, and at the other, you've got 2 heads that are 2 separate planets.

ADDED: I reacted to the subject of talking and not much to the proposal that reading romance novels is helpful. I've never read these things. So let me quote the top-rated comment at the NYT:
No. Just no. Romance novels give women an unrealistic view of sex and romance and are not remotely empowering. The woman is nearly always "saved" by a man in some way. Things always manage to "work out" in the end. Women's bad behavior (playing hard to get, expecting men to read their minds) never has consequences.

Romance novels are fine for adult women that have already experienced the reality of dating, romance and sex, but for teen girls? They should be off-limits. Teenagers should be reading books, fiction or non, that focus on females being independent, of having agency, of discovering things, having careers and thoughts of their own.
This makes me think of Tina Brown's excellent book "The Diana Chronicles," which quotes the romance writer Barbara Cartland: "The only books she read were mine, and they weren't very good for her." And please read page 26 (click to enlarge):

January 20, 2018

Trump displays kindly humor and good will toward a protest intended against him.

Nice! It's almost like something from a children's story. A hated character doesn't realize that he is hated and greets his haters with warm wishes and imagines their expressions of anger against him to be a celebration in his honor. Of course, Trump is under no delusion, but I love this upbeat sunniness as a way to acknowledge the protest and maybe coax a smile from the women who can't all want to stay angry, one year into the ordeal of a presidency that, after all, hasn't really hurt just about any of them.

Scott Adams is, he says, shocked surprised to see this comic got published.

Coffee break...


... keep the conversation going.

"Trump’s love of tabloid gossip complicates his denial of affair allegations with Stormy Daniels."

What? That's a headline at WaPo (for a column by Callum Borchers). Here's the concept:
The White House has dismissed the alleged encounter between Trump and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels as tabloid trash. But Trump’s denial is complicated by his history of associating with publications such as In Touch and lending credence to their work.

“I’ve always said, ‘Why didn't the National Enquirer get the Pulitzer Prize for Edwards?’” Trump said on the campaign trail in 2016. He was referring to the Enquirer’s revelation that John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina and 2008 presidential candidate, had an affair and fathered a child with a campaign aide.
I'll leave it to you to make the In Touch/National Enquirer distinction if you want. I think it's funny to remind us of the monumental Edwards screwup (when a man who was collecting contributions and running in part on empathy for his dying-of-cancer wife was having an affair during his presidential campaign). And I thought we'd all already absorbed the assumption that private citizen Donald Trump had sex with a porn star 12 years ago. But here's WaPo, ever chiseling away at Trump's inexplicable popularity, bonking us over the head with his vouching for the National Enquirer that one time. Sad!

Here's a song to cheer you up:

You were the sunshine, baby, whenever you smiled/but I call you stormy today.... Oh, stormy, oh, stormy, bring back that sunny day....

But here's the headline I was looking for when I got waylaid into WaPo: "Stormy Daniels launches ‘Make America Horny Again Tour.'" Meade read that out loud to me and my reaction was: Great! I won't detail why just now, because it's time for my coffee break.

"On a positive note we now know for certain he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time..."

"... performing live with his unmatchable rock band for his loyal fans on the biggest tour of his 40 plus year career. He was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed."

Tom Petty's family communicates after receiving the news from the coroner that Petty died from an accidental overdose of painkiller drugs.

Like Prince, who also died from an accidental overdose of painkiller drugs, Petty suffered from physical injury in the hip bone. In Petty's case: "On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication."

I've written before about the "died doing what he loved" statement. It is what people tend to say, even when it's a tough fit. I've heard it used to adjust to a murder that happened to a person who was walking down the street. It's a big cliché, but obviously entirely understandable and only worth pointing out from a great distance.

In this case, if Petty went on stage after hearing this news and played one great concert, while overusing dangerous drugs, I'm not convinced he didn't decide to check out from this life, but there's no suicide note, and the family should interpret the evidence in the way it likes best. There's no greater truth than that we believe what we want to believe.

Is Larry Tribe trying to talk like Trump?

ADDED: Is it a coincidence that #TrumpShitdown and "Shitty Media Men" are happening at the same time?

"How Trump and Schumer Came Close to a Deal Over Cheeseburgers."

Do I have to talk about the "government shutdown"? I don't want to supply any audience for this political theater, so I'm just selecting one headline that I like. That's from the NYT.

The negotiations between Mr. Trump and Mr. Schumer, fellow New Yorkers who have known each other for years, began when the president called Mr. Schumer on Friday morning.... In a lengthy phone conversation, both men agreed to seek a permanent spending deal.... Less than an hour later, Mr. Schumer was meeting with Mr. Trump over cheeseburgers in the president’s study next to the Oval Office....

As the meal progressed, an outline of an agreement was struck, according to one person familiar with the discussion: Mr. Schumer said yes to higher levels for military spending and discussed the possibility of fully funding the president’s wall on the southern border with Mexico. In exchange, the president agreed to support legalizing young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.....

“In my heart, I thought we might have a deal tonight,” Mr. Schumer recalled later.... As the evening wore on, Mr. Schumer got a call from Mr. Kelly that dashed all hopes....

“What happened to the President Trump who asked us to come up with a deal and promised to take the heat for it?” Mr. Schumer asked on the Senate floor. “What happened to that President Trump?”
He's the same President Trump, the deal artist who touches your heart and then leaves you crying and wondering what went wrong.

January 19, 2018

At the Winter Walk Café...


... it's not as bleak as it looks.

May I encourage you to shop Amazon through the Althouse Portal.

Dylan Farrow gives an emotional interview to "CBS This Morning."

Here's the transcript. Here's Woody Allen's response.

It's an old story made new by the "Time's Up" movement in Hollywood and Farrow's going on camera (asking us to see and believe).
KING: Are you angry with the people, with the celebrities that are starring in his movies, that hold him in high regard and continue to compliment him?

FARROW: I'm not angry with them. I hope that, you know, especially since so many of them have been vocal advocates of this Me Too and Time's Up movement that, um, they can acknowledge their complicity and maybe hold themselves accountable to how they have perpetuated this culture of – of silence in their industry.

After "Fire and Fury" and the "shithole" smear, Trump isn't any less popular than before.

He seems to be even a little more popular:

But, who knows?, maybe the possibility that he had sex with a porn star 12 years ago or the Senators shutting down the government over DACA will turn people against him.

"You could see the television from the little dining room table and he was watching Shark Week and he was watching a special about the U.S.S. something and it sank and it was like the worst shark attack in history."

"He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks. He was like, 'I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die' He was like riveted. He was like obsessed. It’s so strange, I know.... So we finished dinner and we moved to the sofa so he could get a better view of Shark Week.... He kept rubbing my leg and was like, 'You know, you’re so beautiful. I love your little nose, it’s like a little beet.' I go, 'Did you say a beet? Like, what the f---?' I started giving him a hard time about it. And he goes, 'No, no, no, no! It’s majestic. It’s a very smart nose, like an eagle.'"

From "Stormy Daniels' Explosive Full Interview on Donald Trump Affair: 'I Can Describe His Junk Perfectly' (EXCLUSIVE)" (In Touch).

The U.S.S. something... That is the U.S.S. Indianapolis, sunk by Japanese torpedoes in 1945, as described here (BBC):
"We were sunk at midnight, I saw [shark] the first morning after daylight. They were big. Some of them I swear were 15ft long," remembers [one survivor Loel Dean] Cox. "They were continually there, mostly feeding off the dead bodies. Thank goodness, there were lots of dead people floating in the area... We were losing three or four each night and day.... You were constantly in fear because you'd see 'em all the time. Every few minutes you'd see their fins - a dozen to two dozen fins in the water.  They would come up and bump you. I was bumped a few times - you never know when they are going to attack you.... In that clear water you could see the sharks circling. Then every now and then, like lightning, one would come straight up and take a sailor and take him straight down. One came up and took the sailor next to me. It was just somebody screaming, yelling or getting bit."
There were 1,200 men on the ship, and 317 survived.

"[My pussy hat] covers our John Wayne bust in our front hallway. I feel ever more depressed and angry when I look at it."

"Every day I see it and think of my granddaughters, who also marched, and their future in this America, where Donald Trump is truly destroying all we stand for. I like the color though."

From "The Second Lives of Pussy Hats/One year later, these Women’s March symbols have found new purpose as stuffed toys and talismans (when they’re not being worn, that is)." (NYT).

Attempted coinage fails, as I discover "mactation" is an existing (though rare) word.

For some reason, we were discussing the topic of male lactation.

Anyway, "mactation" is "The action of killing, esp. the slaughtering of a sacrificial victim" (OED). To go back to 1563: "The Lambe of God..of whose mactation Isayas fore prophecieth." And in the 20th century, there's T.S. Eliot: "If the mactations, immolations, oblations, impetrations, Are now observed."

1965 and 1967 — a comparison.

"Do you think racial stereotypes are false? Are you sure? I’m not asking if you’re sure whether or not the stereotypes are false..."

"... but if you’re sure whether or not you think that they are. That might seem like a strange question. We all know what we think, don’t we?... [W]e might be sincerely mistaken about our own beliefs.... Studies show that people who sincerely say that racial stereotypes are false often continue to behave as if they are true when not paying attention to what they are doing.... People think that the stereotypes are true but also that it is not acceptable to admit this and therefore say they are false. Moreover, they say this to themselves too, in inner speech, and mistakenly interpret themselves as believing it. They are hypocrites but not conscious hypocrites. Maybe we all are...."

From "Whatever You Think, You Don’t Necessarily Know Your Own Mind" by Keith Frankish (Big Think).