September 24, 2017

Classic liberal manipulation: Creating the fear that you will be thought of as uncaring.

This is particularly effective used against women. I will never forget the time I heard a little girl in the playground — reacting to a criticism I can only imagine — expressing anguish with the repeated line "I don't want to be mean!"

And that is how women are disciplined into insignificance. 

Professor Mark Kleiman has no reason whatsoever to think that I don't care that young men are suffering brain damage playing football. Yet he throws out that charge about me to push me back and to warn other people (women, especially, I suspect) that we should be afraid that if we don't merge our identity with whatever the liberal line happens to be, we will be regarded as lacking in empathy and deserving of social shunning.

Say no, little girls and little women. Don't fall for that manipulation. I don't fall for it anymore, but I am old, and I lost a lot of time reacting to the fear of being thought not to care and the mind-numbing, thought-inhibiting effort to be nice. Absurdly, I do still care. That's why I have to write a post like this to show my work suppressing the fear. I hope in doing this I've helped somebody like that little girl whose "I don't want to be mean!" made such an impression on me decades ago. 

Does Trump — in the middle of an interview about the National Anthem controversy — give the finger?

You decide:

I got that from Perez Hilton, who is sure it's intentional and says "That's so boldly, wildly absurd, it's actually… kind of funny?? But seriously, after all the bull shit stunts, outright bigotry, and unbelievable ignorance this President has showed off that should legitimately cause outrage, this is just… hilarious."

I don't think it was an intentional finger. He was just preening his eyebrow. Want to see a President give the finger? It looks like this?

Miss him yet?

"Some of the words of the national anthem are white supremacist."

Said Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, on "Meet the Press" today. Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, had just said:
The president is not randomly attacking these players. He is attacking them because they're kneeling during the national anthem. And the national anthem is not a white-supremacist symbol.
When Henderson responded with "Some of the words of the national anthem are white supremacist," it surprised me. I thought about the first verse — the only verse that's sung at games and the only verse I have uploaded to memory — bombs bursting in air? dawn's early light? land of the free? — and briefly considered whether "land of the free" celebrates white supremacy before vaguely remembering reading something about some other verse.

A quick google got me to "Star-Spangled Bigotry: The Hidden Racist History of the National Anthem" at The Root, which I read and puzzled over. There's a line in the third verse, "No refuge could save the hireling and slave," which The Root says exults at the idea of Americans killing freed slaves who were fighting with the British in the War of 1812. "'The Star-Spangled Banner' is as much a patriotic song as it is a diss track to black people who had the audacity to fight for their freedom."

Wikipedia says: "A diss track or diss song is a song primarily intended to disrespect people," and gives examples, including John Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?" which lashed out at Paul McCartney. Every line of that — from "Those freaks was right when they said you was dead" to "You live with straights" — was aimed at Paul. "The Star-Spangled Banner" may have one line about slaves in verse 3, but even that one line isn't aimed at slaves. It's aimed, like the rest of the song, at the British.

I'm not going to attempt to resolve the question of what was in the mind of Francis Scott Key when he mentioned slaves in that verse we don't sing at sports events and maybe don't even ever sing,* but here's a beautiful monument to him in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco:

CC — King of Hearts

Is that on the list of tear-downs?

Back to "Meet the Press." Stephen Henderson said, "Some of the words of the national anthem are white supremacist," and Rich Lowry seemed surprised: "You think the national anthem is racist?"

Henderson said: "I think this is a country whose history is racist, whose history is steeped in white supremacy, and the anthem reflects that in its very words." He had no chance to explain which words or to argue about why they are racist, which might make us think that he's only making the weaker argument that because the country has been racist, the song must reflect that racism.

Lowry's parry — "Well, it's also a nation with very important ideals that have worn down those injustices over time and created a more just society" — makes it most likely that viewers will think Henderson was only making the weaker argument.

Meanwhile, on State of the Union, the host Jake Tapper was talking to Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator who's now a CNN commentator, and she said it was "utterly ridiculous" for Trump "to pick up this fight" about protesting the anthem. Tapper said he had "a feeling" she's right and that "this is going to drive people to Kaepernick's side." Tapper asked Turner if she thought "it's an accident that he's talking about predominantly African-American players." She said:
Not at all. Look at his audience. It's no accident. He doesn't do anything by accident, he's very strategic about this. 
So Trump is not the chaotic, impulsive, crazy man?! He's got it all planned out. Turner went all Scott Adams there for a second. She continues:
And this kind of (INAUDIBLE) is right up his alley. He loves when all this chaos and confusion -- this feeds his agenda. 
Oh, so it only seems like "chaos and confusion," but that's what's so deviously strategic about it. Maybe Turner got an advance copy of Scott Adams's forthcoming book.


* The song has 4 verses. Have you ever heard anyone sing them all? I have a feeling I've heard at least one other verse sung, but the 3d verse is completely alien to me and, I presume, to the vast majority of American sports spectators who care about the opening ceremony. I went looking for the full version, and this was the finest one I found, by Tom Callinan (even though he botches the word "hireling" in the crucial line):

Midway through that recording, I suddenly wondered whether I was enjoying it because of whiteness. Colin Kaepernick is not going to allow us to go back to our lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

"Trump is wrong on the flag and the anthem. Forced respect isn't respect, it's submission."

So writes ace commenter rhhardin in the previous post, which is about Trump's new tweet, "If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!"

1. Trump did not say You must respect. He didn't even say You must stop disrespecting. He only made an observation about cause and effect: If fans stop attending games because the showing of disrespect is part of the spectator experience, it will create market pressure on management and players to improve their product to win back their customers.

2. There is a difference between outward display and what is in a person's heart, but you can refrain from displaying disrespect toward people and things you don't respect because you, in fact, do have a sincere appreciation for peace and civility or because it's in your social or economic interest. That's something most of us do every day, when we refrain from vocalizing random unkind thoughts or smile and speak pleasantly to people who are bothering us for one reason or another.

3. Let's assume that management gets the message that the product — a football game — is unacceptable to the customers —  the spectators — without the traditional opening ceremony — all players standing as a group and not drawing attention to their own individual opinions. How can management insure that every single player goes along? Trump's idea is: Just make it clear that it's a firing offense. Presumably, then, every man would stand there as required.

4. Now, the problem raised by rhhardin is that we would know they were all just standing there like that because of the firing threat. When the camera shows the faces of the players, there'd be static in the old-time fan-fantasy that these guys really love our country. We might think: Oh, he's just doing what they forced him to do.* That's not real love. He might be seething inside, hating the country even more, because he knows he's doing it for the money. ("[T]he average salary of an NFL player is only $1.9 million per year.")

5. The serious question — as I hear rhhardin's pithy comment — is what is the satisfaction for the fans? How will they experience the new product? It may look like respect, but we know what some of them are really thinking, and they're only acting respectful because their livelihood was put on the line. Let's do a poll:

Under the proposed new policy, what would be the most common experience for the kind of football fan who cares about the traditional opening ceremony? free polls


* As I read this post out loud, this sentence makes Meade start singing the same Bob Dylan line that was in my head as I was writing: "Sooner or later, one of us must know/That you were just doin' what you’re supposed to do..."

Just when liberal media was gearing up to destroy football over all the brain damage, Trump calls for a boycott of football over the National Anthem protests.

Here was the devastating NYT story 3 days ago: "Aaron Hernandez Had Severe C.T.E. When He Died at Age 27":
Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end and a convicted murderer, was 27 when he committed suicide in April. Yet a posthumous examination of his brain showed he had such a severe form of the degenerative brain disease C.T.E. that the damage was akin to that of players well into their 60s.

It was, a lawyer for his family said, in announcing the findings on Thursday, “the most severe case they had ever seen in someone of Aaron’s age.”

C.T.E., or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has been found in more than 100 former N.F.L. players, some of whom committed suicide, according to researchers at Boston University.
Well, that's it, I said to myself. That's the end of football. How can we sit back and enjoy watching activities that we know are wrecking the players' brain?

Here's the top-rated "NYT Pick" comment there:
I'm a diehard football fan, but the moment is rapidly approaching when I'll stop watching. The Kaepernick situation. The head injuries. The continued blind eye and mishandling of domestic violence cases. Plus, the Giants are 0-2 with no signs of a new left tackle anywhere in sight. I'll miss the ritual of the whole thing most of all (I love spending Sundays with my wife and freinds-eating nachos, drinking beer and watching endless truck commercials), but I think football is something that future generations will look back on with much the same feeling of shock and mild disgust that we feel when contemplating Roman gladiators.
This is a blunt, loud call to stop watching. You're a bad person if — knowing what you know now — you continue to watch football. This isn't a new message. Rush Limbaugh has been saying for years that this issue has already killed football, and it's only a matter of time. But this news about Hernandez was a devastatingly hard hit. Here's how it looked in the middle of the NYT front page last Friday:

Football was down. The end. We, the good people who read the NYT, must say no to football. What is known cannot become unknown except by willful, immoral forgetting. No decent person can take pleasure in football. No fit parent can allow a child to take up the game. The era of American football is over. Bury it. We can end the misery through the simple and necessary refusal to watch anymore. Say no, America... or hey, wait a minute. Here's that nasty President of the United States and he's calling for a boycott of football...

Now, what?! If you really hate brain damage, you might say, great. We can successfully destroy football now, because we've got a powerful second reason for football-watchers to end their support for the evil, destructive game. The people who are least receptive to the brain-damage problem might be the most likely to get into the strict discipline of firing players for "disrespecting our Flag & Country." Look at that capitalization, from the man who said "I love the poorly educated." He knows his audience. They don't read The New York Times. They're not going to let complicated news stories about CTE stop them from watching football. Can they even say chronic traumatic encephalopathy? But they sure get the prod from the Prez about Flag & Country.

Do you ally with your enemy against a common enemy? But Trump isn't the enemy of all football. The National Anthem protests have been hurting football. The ratings have been declining badly, seemingly because of those protests. Trump may be trying to revive football, by demonstrating the strength of the support — among the real fans — for a harsh policy that would end the protests and bring the fans back. But it seems unlikely that football management will adopt that approach, as Trump must know, and so I imagine he's thinking that he's putting his personal stamp on the protest problem. He told management what it needed to do: Fire the protesters. They didn't do it, and the decline of football continued. He told them. He showed them how to save football, and they wouldn't do it, because they don't respect their own fans. They listened to the elite media that has no respect for the people who really watch football (and who vote for Trump).

So, watch the liberal media endeavor to save football from bad old President Trump. He's a racist. This is his racism once again, stirring up the stupid people who voted for him. Here's the NYT today:
The tweet suggested that the president, who used an expletive on Friday night to refer to players who kneel or sit in protest during the anthem — a practice that took hold last season among some African-American players after Colin Kaepernick, the now-former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, did so to protest racial and social injustice — is bent on deepening a bitter culture-war fight with the N.F.L.

It is a highly charged debate, with unmistakable racial undertones, pitting advocates of free speech who argue that professional athletes should have a right to use their positions to call attention to social issues against those who contend that refusing to honor the anthem disrespects the military and the nation, and that sports is no place for such displays.
Let the brain damage continue. We've got a culture war to fight.

September 23, 2017

"Student survives three days in a cave after college spelunking group leaves him behind."

"The Indiana University student [Lukas Cavar (luckless caver?)] had been exploring Sullivan Cave, about 10 miles south of his school in Bloomington, Ind., on Sunday with other members of the Caving Club, a campus extracurricular group that promotes 'responsible caving practices with opportunities to visit caves around the area.' Over several hours, Cavar got separated from the group — and then left behind in the cave after the other the club members exited and padlocked the entrance gate.... On Sunday, after he realized he had been forgotten by the group, Cavar spent hours screaming out of the cave’s locked entrance — about a 1½-by-3-foot hole in the ground, surrounded by concrete with metal bars welded into place — in the hopes that someone would hear him from a nearby road. No one did.... He used the energy bar wrappers to collect moisture and the water bottles to collect rainfall and puddled cave water. Cavar also licked the cave’s damp walls to quench his thirst. Hunger drove him to consider foraging for cave crickets, although he didn’t eat any of the small insects.... His friends noticed that he missed physics class Monday, which was unlike him, they said. When he didn’t show up Tuesday and never went to work that day, they knew something was wrong..... When Norrell and other friends couldn’t find Cavar around campus, they contacted the Caving Club, and that’s when they realized that he might still be in the cave...."

WaPo reports.

Glad he survived, but what an incredible screwup! How does something like that happen? How many people were in the group? How do you separate yourself from the group and not remain aware that they are leaving a place that has a 1½-by-3-foot exit hole with a lockable gate on it? How does the group not take care to count that everyone's out before locking the gate? What kind of kind of "caving club" is this? And how sad to have friends who not only lock you in a cave but only notice your absence when you fail to show up for physics class and only think of trying to help you after you miss that class twice.

Milestone passes unnoticed.

This is the 50,050th post on this blog. That means that there was some post, one day this week, that was the 50,000th post. I'd been planning to celebrate that milestone, and not only did it slip by me, it took 50 additional post before I noticed that it had been passed. It's unlikely that I'll make it all the way to 100,000, so there's no rounder number that's I can look forward to. I can only look back and wonder why I didn't see it approaching and slow down for the experience.

Ah, I've counted back. The big 50-thousandth post was: "Does Trump have a sense of humor?" That's funny enough — just another inconsequential ripple on the face of the blogosphere.

At the Cool Blue Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

That photo shows Lake Mendota at about 8 a.m. this morning (when I took my long walk to avoid the heat).

Please consider shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!"

Tweets Trump.

That's the basketball + Trump news. In football + Trump news, there's: "NFL Stars Erupt In Anger Over Donald Trump’s ‘Son Of A Bitch’ Speech":
During what was supposed to be a stump speech for Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), Trump drifted away from campaigning to ask members of the crowd if they’d “love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired?’”
Here's the video:

ADDED: On a fashion note, what's up with the peppermint candy necktie?

Trump approval improving.

The Real Clear Politics average:

Why do you think the polls are improving? Check all the apply: free polls

"Saudi Arabia accidentally prints textbook showing Yoda sitting next to the king."

The Telegraph reports.

"Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday scrapped a key part of government policy on campus sexual assault..."

"... saying she was giving colleges more freedom to balance the rights of accused students with the need to crack down on serious misconduct," the NYT reports.
The move, which involved rescinding two sets of guidelines several years old, was part of one of the fiercest battles in higher education today, over whether the Obama administration, in trying to get colleges to take sexual assault more seriously, had gone too far and created a system that treated the accused unfairly.

The most controversial portion of the Obama-era guidelines had demanded colleges use the lowest standard of proof, “preponderance of the evidence,” in deciding whether a student is responsible for sexual assault, a verdict that can lead to discipline and even expulsion. On Friday, the Education Department said colleges were free to abandon that standard and raise it to a higher standard known as “clear and convincing evidence.”

September 22, 2017

At the Garden-Hose-Rainbows Café...


... you can pursue your heart's delight or spritz on somebody else's.

And another thing to do is support this blog by doing your shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

Bill Clinton wrote a novel?

The headline at EW — and linked at Drudge — is "Bill Clinton's first novel to become a Showtime TV series in major deal."

But I guess it depends on what the meaning of writing a novel is:
The former president and bestselling author James Patterson have selected Showtime to adapt their upcoming thriller, The President Is Missing.
Is the title a clue to who wrote the novel?
The novel, set to be published in 2018, tells the story of a sitting U.S. president’s mysterious disappearance with the level of detail that only someone who has held the highest office can know.
So Clinton at least told Patterson some details. Am I supposed to know of Patterson? I had to look up his Wikipedia page. It says:
Patterson has written 147 novels since 1976. He has had 114 New York Times bestselling novels, and holds The New York Times record for most #1 New York Times bestsellers by a single author, a total of 67, which is also a Guinness World Record. His novels account for one in 17 of all hardcover novels sold in the United States; in recent years his novels have sold more copies than those of Stephen King, John Grisham, and Dan Brown combined. His books have sold approximately 305 million copies worldwide.
I guess it's well established that this Patterson character can crank out a book. Clinton aligns with him to feed him some supposedly special details of life as a President or (even more conveniently) to allow the PR to say he did, and it's no surprise studios and networks vie for the privilege of throwing money at them.
“Bringing The President Is Missing to Showtime is a coup of the highest order,” said Showtime president and CEO David Nevins. “The pairing of President Clinton with fiction’s most gripping storyteller promises a kinetic experience, one that the book world has salivated over for months and that now will dovetail perfectly into a politically relevant, character-based action series for our network.”
A kinetic experience lubricated with months of drool? Sounds delicious. 

"Senator John McCain of Arizona announced on Friday that he would oppose the latest proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act..."

"... leaving Republican leaders with little hope of succeeding in their last-ditch attempt to dismantle the health law" (NYT).

So Lindsey Graham’s being his best friend was not enough.

"Imagine there’s a country somewhere in the world where the legal system works like this..."

"... the judge sits there, bangs his gavel, and declares: ‘The defendant will now rise!'... 'The court finds you guilty of armed robbery, and hereby sentences you to thyroid cancer.’ Or, let’s say, a panel of three judges finds you guilty of rape and sentences you to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Or they say this: ‘The court is informed that the prosecution has entered a plea bargain with the defense, and so instead of that German dude, Alzheimer, the defendant will only undergo a stroke. And for tampering with evidence he’ll get an irritable bowel.'"

From "A Horse Walks into a Bar: A novel," by David Grossman.

Yes, I read another novel! I've read 2 novels this month, very strange for me. I usually read nonfiction books. I read the other novel for reasons described in this post, and I guess it must have stimulated a taste for fiction.

"France threatens to skip 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea over security concerns."

The L.A. Times reports.
Other countries — including the U.S., Japan and China — have insisted their teams are continuing to prepare for Pyeongchang.... Pyeongchang lies in mountainous terrain just south of the demilitarized zone. Olympic leaders have said only that they are monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula, giving no indications that the Olympics might be postponed or moved to another location.
A comment at the link: "I'm not visiting Paris because I have the same concerns."

"Life Lynn DeKlyen, baby whose mother chose giving birth over chemo, has died."

"The infant's death was announced Thursday on the couple's Facebook page" (Chicago Tribune).
"It is with great sadness and a absolutely broken heart that I tell you Life Lynn passed away last night," the post read. "Carrie is now rocking her baby girl. I have no explanation of why this happened, but I do know Jesus loves us and someday we will know why. The grief we feel is almost unbearable, please be praying for our family."...

Life was delivered by Caesarean section as Carrie DeKylen was dying.

"That's what she wanted," Nick said earlier this month. "We love the Lord. We're pro-life. We believe that God gave us this baby."

Ridiculous WaPo headline: "Tiffany Trump may be schooled by her dad’s nemesis, Sally Yates — a new lecturer at Georgetown Law."

"Law school just got a bit more awkward for first daughter Tiffany Trump: Georgetown Law just announced that its newest guest lecturer is Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general her dad very publicly fired after she refused to defend his controversial travel ban."

1. As the top-rated comment over there says:
I really doubt that Sally Yates will be teaching Tiffany Trump.... First year courses tend to be taught by tenured professors, not lecturers. Lecturers come in and teach one course -- usually very specific to their area of expertise. These are upper level courses. Law students choose their upper level courses, and they know who teaches those courses when they make their selections.

So if Tiffany Trump were to end up in Yates's course as an upper level, it would be because she wanted to be in it. Also, skipping over the whole blind grading thing, Yates is a professional, she's not going to treat a student differently because of who her father is.
2. The verb "to school" seems to be used in the slang sense of "To defeat or put down decisively, especially in a humiliating manner." Here's an Urban Dictionary definition:
Being taught the proper way to preform an action, via extreme ownage and embarrasment. This requires the schooler, who is always of such a high level of skill that the schoolee has no chance of saving his reputation, to utterly dominate and show no remorse. If remorse is shown, it is done in a cool and laid-back way, as in to say "Your not even worth the effort of my pinkie finger", which ironically is just as brutal as an all-out ownage.
"Ownage" is "The act or state of perpetrating fierce and unholy domination against another, typically in a videogame setting, resulting in shame and embarassment for the victim and his/her family until the end of time."

"Group of 45 men dressed like Magnum, P.I. kicked out of Detroit Tigers game."

The LA Times reports:
The Tigers said in their statement: "It was inappropriate behavior; the group was given multiple warnings. They violated the code of conduct and were asked to leave and have not been banned from the park."