January 17, 2017

Obama frees Chelsea Manning!

The NYT reports:
President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted the administration, and made WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures, famous.

The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.
Manning gets out this May, instead of in 2045.

We were just talking yesterday about the NYT's sympathetic highlighting of Manning's plight. And we were just talking today — it's one post down — about the NYT editorial "Mr. Obama, Pick Up Your Pardon Pen."

ADDED: Obama has also pardoned James Cartwright:
Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, pleaded guilty in October to a single charge of making false statements to federal investigators in 2012 when he was questioned about leaking top secret information on US efforts to cripple Iran’s nuclear program to two journalists. 

"The clemency process is run out of the Justice Department, where career prosecutors have little interest in reversing the work of their colleagues."

"It’s a recipe for intransigence, dysfunction and injustice on a mass scale. Mr. Obama understands the problem, even if he didn’t fix it. As he wrote in an article published in this month’s issue of The Harvard Law Review, the process operates like a lottery, making it hard to tell what distinguishes the few lucky applicants who get clemency from the many deserving ones who don’t."

So write the editors of the NYT in an editorial titled "Mr. Obama, Pick Up Your Pardon Pen." The headline is misleading. Yes, Obama does have a few days left, and he could issue a bunch of pardons. But the point is that the system is bad, Obama obviously knows it, he could have done something to restructure the process, and he did not.

The final sentence is extraordinary for the NYT: "Perhaps President-elect Donald Trump will learn from Mr. Obama’s failure to heed that wisdom."

1. The word "failure," attached to Obama?!

2. Hope expressed that Donald Trump will fix something.

3. Wisdom attributed to — you have to read the preceding sentence — George W. Bush.

"Did Trump really come and meet with Moscow prostitutes?"

Putin asks and answers:
Firstly he is an adult, and secondly he is a person who for many years has organized a beauty pageant, socialized with the most beautiful women in the world. It is hard to believe that he ran to a hotel to meet with our girls of a low social class, although they are the best in the world. But finally, you know, what I want to say, prostitution is a serious, ugly, social phenomenon, young women do this connected to the fact that they cannot survive any other way and that is a problem of society but people who order false information and spread this information against the elected President, who fabricate it and use it in a political fight, they are worse than prostitutes.
Ah! This pithy statement proceeds in stages:

1. Defense of Trump: He's got so much access to the most beautiful women that it makes no sense to think he'd consort with low women.

2. Defense of prostitutes: Our prostitutes are great prostitutes!

3. Feminist/left-wing critique: Don't speak of prostitution in terms of low women choosing a degraded way of life. Society forces them into it, and society deserves the blame, and we must improve it.

4. Attack on the purveyors of fake news: Worse than prostitutes!

IN THE COMMENTS: Lyssa quoted "It is hard to believe that he ran to a hotel to meet with our girls of a low social class, although they are the best in the world" and asks: "Did Trump craft this statement? It sounds so much like something that he would say. Maybe he'll fire back at the perceived slights to America's prostitutes."

Freeman Hunt scripts tweets for Trump:
"Even prostitutes are poor in Russia. Sad! American prostitutes at all income levels. Bad work but more money in US!"

"Poor women forced to hook in Russia! Sad! Americans prostitutes by choice. Some big $$$! Against law though. Don't do it! Gross!"

"Americans richer than Russians. No need to be prostitutes! Russian prostitutes better because American prostitutes lazy. Just guessing!"

"Putin wrong. American prostitutes best in world! Have heard. No experience. Always gotten from classy women free. Not prostitutes!"

Here we are.



ADDED: Here's an older video of jack rabbits fighting.



It's interesting, I think — if you want to understand the art of film — that the first video feels immediately and continuously hilarious and the second video — much longer and with insistent music — may not even make you laugh at all.

My first stab at analysis is that the darkness and absence of context in the first video makes it feel abstract and allegorical, causing you to instantly visualize the rabbits as stand-ins for human beings: I know people like that. Silly people are like that. Hey, we're all kind of like that.

You go hurtling through important thoughts quickly. It's not a nature film of curious animal behavior. It's a horror flick shocking us with a harsh look at how stupid we are.

"So Yahoo's now called Altaba - not to be confused with Alt-Abba, the crypto-white nationalist Swedish pop group with hits like #DanzigQueen."

Mocking the Yahoo name change.

That's from a week ago, when the news hit that Yahoo — with one of the all-time great company names — was changing its name to Altaba.

I'm not positive this incredibly stupid change is really happening. There's also this:
Yahoo announced last week that it would be changing its name to Altaba (upon completion of Verizon acquiring core Yahoo) seemingly to reflect the investment in Chinese giant Alibaba.

However, the name change will only take effect if and only if Verizon goes through with the planned acquisition of core Yahoo....
By the way, I'm a little sensitive to all this mockery around the prefix "Alt-." I don't like this late-developing impression that Althouse is a crypto-white nationalist edifice of some kind. The "Alt-" in Althouse means "old" not "alternative" or "high," though "alternative" and "high" are at least as positive as "old." This idea of "Alt-" meaning "crypto-white nationalist" is not only inaccurate, but it's unfair to all of the persons, places, and things that have already constructed our identity with the very positive prefix "Alt-."

"Hillary is going to be very busy as President the next 4-8 years. Donald Trump is going to be very bitter. And the Republicans are just going to be gone. Good riddence."

A comment written 2 months ago on an ABC News article, "2016 Race Stays at 47-43 Through Sunday (POLL)."
Rolling forward to interviews conducted Thursday through Sunday, the ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll shows the same results as its previous estimate of 47 percent for Hillary Clinton and 43 percent for Donald Trump, with Gary Johnson still at 4 percent and Jill Stein now at 1 percent.
I'm reading that today after this brand new article from ABC News, "Trump to Enter Office as Most Unpopular President for at Least 40 Years, Poll Finds":
Donald Trump enters office as the most unpopular of at least the last seven newly elected presidents, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds, with ratings for handling the transition that are also vastly below those of his predecessors.
While you're busy talking about who's the most unpopular President, can you spare a few moments to tell us which news organization has the least accurate polling?

With election polls, you are put to the test and capable of embarrassment in the end, and even so, you're not too reliable. In this current popularity poll, no one can ever show you up. There's no ultimate accounting when the people reveal how much they like or don't like Donald Trump. You can say whatever you want in the form of numbers that are called a poll, but we know that you want to cripple the Trump presidency before it even begins. I consider the poll fake news.

And I realize that from your perspective I am one of those terrible people who have "come unmoored from a shared set of core facts." I'm not hearing the call to adhere to the "knowable, hard, empirical truth." But I can't accept ABC News/Washington Post poll numbers as facts. It's a fact that ABC News/Washington Post got the election polls wrong. I don't want be moored to false facts. It's better to be unmoored. I don't want to believe in a truth beyond the real limits of truth.

I have heard Barack Obama say:
But without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, then we’re going to keep talking past each other.
That's a tricky sentence. If you drift along with it, you might find it blandly pleasant in a can't-we-all-get-along kind of way. But it's actually radically specious! I've written about this sentence before, when I live-blogged Obama's Farewell Address:
Obama resorts to what's been a stock argument with Democrats since the election: We need a "common baseline of facts." That always sounds to me like longing for a time when liberal mainstream media filtered the facts. That's over. What are you going to do about it? The facts are open to debate now, and many voices can be heard. If you really love democracy, why aren't you thrilled?
Looking at this sentence again this morning, I am irritated by its trickiness. The middle part is fine. I like "a willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point" — let's keep learning and let's keep talking — and I agree  that "science and reason matter" — let's research and study and think. I love progress in human knowledge and understanding. But why does that fine middle section belong enclosed within the statement: "But without some common baseline of facts... we’re going to keep talking past each other." That says we can't have a real interchange with each other unless we already agree. It's a complete rejection of the idea that people with different understandings of the world can have a good-faith debate and an opportunity to persuade each other or to see the flaws and gaps in their own knowledge and the need for more research and analysis. Why must conversation begin with a common baseline of facts?

It's an ugly, false statement with a big glob of sweetener plopped into it!

ADDED: The ABC/Washington Post poll oversamples: 31% Democrats and 23% Republicans.

Can the President tweet? Yes, but not very well at all.

ncHe hasn't put anything up since January 10th, and it's just:

That's pointing you to another place, the place where he's most comfortable speaking to the American people: on TV, in a calm, upholstered setting, a few feet away from a news or talk-show celebrity whose face glows with love.

And it's odd, isn't it?, that @BarackObama speaks of Barack Obama in the third person — President Obama reflects on eight years of progress.

That's not really the right way to do Twitter. You should feel like a real person, talking straight to us. Directly at us and in clear words that convey specific, almost startling meaning.

And you have to put a few things up every day. Before that January 10th tweet, @BarackObama hadn't tweeted anything since before the election. On November 5th, he tweeted: "In the weekly address, President Obama discusses what #Obamacare has done to improve health care" — (another promo for a speech, a little note to say what I have to say will be somewhere other than on Twitter). And he had 2 posts that day. The other one was: "Let's keep working to keep our economy on a better, stronger course."

Now, I'm reading the fine print: "This account is run by Organizing for Action staff. Tweets from the President are signed -bo." I don't think there's been a "-bo" tweet in over a year.

Imagine the praise that would be lavished on Barack Obama if he'd really tweeted in the way that counts as real tweeting. Imagine if he'd said pithy things that cut to the core of important issues and events and if he had taken good-humored shots at critics. Oh! He'd have been celebrated as the new-media-savvy genius of the world!

But Barack Obama will only be President for 3 more days. The incoming President actually has already established himself a brilliant Twitter user. He has leaped over innumerable political and media critics, danced over their heads in a mind-boggling journey to the White House. He's talked to us the People in clear, sharp words and no one could stop him. We liked the straight talk. Not all of us, but some of us, and those that liked it got their/our way.

But the mainstream media will never celebrate his new-media genius. That's why he had to be a new-media genius to get where he did in the most impressive free-speech achievement in the history of the world. Oh! Suddenly, I am celebrating him. But I'm not mainstream media. I'm new media too. I'm savvy in my own way in my little domain of blogging, and I think I can say from one new-media voice to another: I celebrate you! 

And to those old media people who publicly agonize about the prospect of the new President tweeting: I have seen your phony-baloney worried faces on the news shows...



...  as you confront the serioso question whether Trump's advisers can stop him from tweeting. You are worried about yourselves, and rightly so. And you know damned well you'd have been utterly delighted and overflowing with praise if Barack Obama had tweeted like Donald Trump.

ADDED: Organizing for Action. That sounds familiar. Ah! Here it is. My post from January 18, 2013:
"Obama unveils 'Organizing for Action.'"

I read the Politico headline out loud.

Meade immediately improvises a song, and I have the wit and the skill to transcribe as he sings:
Organize for action
Organize for some action, baby
Organize! Organize!
Organize my organ
Activate my organ for organizing
A little girly action
Organize for action
ADDED: "You in?"
Ha ha. And now, clicking on the Politico link, I see why @BarackObama is such a dead, dull Twitter feed:
President Barack Obama on Friday announced the relaunch of his remaining campaign apparatus as a new tax-exempt group called Organizing for Action that will “play an active role” in “mobilizing around and speaking out in support of important legislation” during his second term.
The tax code lures people into restricting their own speech. Obama let his name appear on a Twitter feed that was doomed to be un-Twitter-y by the need to fit the demands of the IRS. Big Government trips over itself. Sad!

ALSO: I am directed to the Twitter feed @POTUS. This too presents itself as Barack Obama tweeting. I see 3 MLK Day tweets. e.g., "Dr. King and those who marched with him proved that people who love their country can change it. As Americans, we all owe them a great deal." Before that there is a January 12th post expressing pride in the arrival of Obama's autograph on Mars.

There is a January 12th post:
Thank you for everything. My last ask is the same as my first. I'm asking you to believe—not in my ability to create change, but in yours.
Ask not what your President can change for you, ask what you can do for change.

On January 1st, similarly, Barack Obama spoke in vague terms about himself:
It’s been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. I look forward to standing with you as a citizen. Happy New Year everybody.
And, also on New Year's, he approved of himself in a series of tweets like:
From realizing marriage equality to removing barriers to opportunity, we've made history in our work to reaffirm that all are created equal.
I've reviewed this Twitter feed too, and I stand by my position that Barack Obama is not doing anything that I would count as real tweeting. There's no sense that the human being Barack Obama is using Twitter to speak to us directly and to speak clearly in his personal voice. Like @BarackObama, @POTUS feels like banal PR written by some unknown person with an assignment to cause a Twitter presence to exist. 

AND: I've actually followed @POTUS since its inception, so I have seen it come up continually as I read Twitter. It's obviously not made an impression on me as something beyond a generic White House PR feed.

January 16, 2017

The 18 highest ranked comments on the NYT article "Chelsea Manning Describes Bleak Life in a Men’s Prison."

The disjuncture between the NYT and its readers is extreme. 

The highest rated comment is this:
As a physician who has worked with prisoners, what bothers me is how many medical amenities Chelsea is getting compared to the average prisoner. Prisoners show up with horrific late stage disseminated cancers because of staff apathy. If a patient shows up struggling to breathe or talk because there's a laryngeal mass in their hypopharynx closing off their airway and they had to wait 2 years to be seen, why should Chelsea Manning get speech therapy? The system is struggling to have life threatening conditions treated, it is not justified to spend resources on elective therapy.
(According to the article, Chelsea Manning receives "speech therapy to feminize the tone and pitch of her voice.")

Next highest:
Maybe he shouldn't have committed a crime. We're 20 trillion in debt why are we paying for prisoner sex changes. Real vets, who served with honor and distinction, who are wounded need care, can't get it, commit suicide at alarming rates and we waste money on prisoner sex changes. This is insane. What happened to common sense.

"Cobb said the final play was not an actual playcall. Rodgers just told each receiver what to do..."

"... like a kid drawing in the dirt. Seriously."

"It’s very hard to lose weight in the Trump era.... I’m trying so hard to have it not turn into 30 pounds."

"I think it tests our ability to not want to numb out. There’s so many things that are hard to hear every day that you do want to have some Oreos. Like people say, what do you invest in during the Trump era? I feel like, Hostess Cakes. Most of us are just scared and eating ice cream."

Said Judd Apatow. He was talking Maureen Dowd, whom he treated to a meal of "spinach omelets with hash browns and hot sauce that he has picked up after dropping off his daughter at school."

I extract these details from the column because:

1. It's a somewhat charming, self-effacing confession that anyone might make: What's happening in politics seems horrible to me, so I comfort myself with the sweet, creamy foods of childhood.

2. Apatow is a big old powerful movie maker, so why is he being such a big baby? My guess is that his success lies in channeling the mundane reactions of young and powerless people, so it serves him well to relax into immature thinking patterns. It's creative, lucrative work for him. Easy work! What a lucky guy!

3. He's eating Oreos? That's his food reference? Trump owns Oreos foolery:



4. What kind of rich man entertains his NYT interviewer by serving her a take-out spinach omelet with hash browns and hot sauce? Take-out is bad enough, but a take-out omelet? I think an omelet is something you get out of the pan and onto the table in seconds or you just don't serve it at all. And then to make it spinach? What the hell are you trying to say? It would make more sense to serve Oreos and ice cream.

5. Has Maureen Dowd ever indicated her amenability to omelets? Back in February 2010, she forefronted an omelet served to her in a restaurant — so presumably she ordered it — in the presence of Harold Ford Jr. — or maybe it's only what he's eating — and she connected said eggs to the grossness of Harold Ford's feet:
Between bites of an egg-white garden omelet at a bistro in his Union Square neighborhood, Harold Ford Jr. defended himself on pedicures and flip-flops.

“I either run or try to play basketball every day,” he said. “I have severe athlete’s foot — feet. I get a foot scrub out of respect for my wife because getting into bed with what I have when I take my socks off isn’t respectful to anybody.”
I'm not reading that as an OK on omelets. I'm reading that as wafting methanethiol. And that was a high-tone, fresh-cooked, designed-for-a-lady egg-white garden omelet, not something that would be dumped into a styrofoam container to be called back to life with hot sauce.

January 15, 2017

Rockslide on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.


Photograph by Zion National Park.

That's approximately 200 tons of rocks that slid down on Friday evening.

We'd been thinking of Zion National Park as a good winter road trip destination. We are recalibrating.

Trump has interviewed 11th Circuit Judge William Pryor — one of the candidates on the list for Supreme Court nominees.

David Lat reports and explains why Pryor's chances are so good:
First, Sessions is a major Pryor proponent — and now that Sessions is definitely going to be AG, having killed it at his hearings, his Trumpworld stock is way up and his views enjoy greater sway within the administration. Sessions and Pryor are close friends and have known each for more than 20 years....

Second, the success of Sessions shows that what gets liberals all hot and bothered isn’t necessarily enough to stop a nominee — and this might encourage the Trump Administration to “go bold,” swing for the fences, and put up Pryor. Judge Pryor, more than any other potential Trump nominee, triggers strong opposition from liberal interest groups — civil rights groups, LGBT groups, and especially pro-abortion groups, who loathe his comments about Roe v. Wade (“worst abomination in the history of constitutional law”)....

Judge Pryor is very conservative and very outspoken — but he’s also very smart and a stickler for preparation, and he would likely perform well at confirmation hearings....

"They are the opposition party. I want 'em out of the building. We are taking back the press room."

The possible plan to move the press corps out of the White House press room over to the White House Conference Center or to the Old Executive Office Building.
Reporters have had some sort of workspace at the White House since Teddy Roosevelt's time, but the current press room is an artifact of the Richard Nixon era, the dawn of the symbiosis of the press and the modern presidency. The "room" is actually a space containing work stations and broadcast booths, as well as the briefing area that is so familiar to viewers of presidential news conferences.

For the media, the White House press room—situated on the first floor, in the space between the presidential residence and the West Wing—is not only a convenience, with prime sources just steps away. It is also a symbol of the press' cherished role as representatives of the American people.....
Should they be ousted if they are not playing the role the place supposedly symbolizes? Are they representing us, the People, who, collectively, elected Trump, or are they representing the Democratic Party?

I don't know that the symbolism is what should determine whether the press has that space or some other space, but I don't think the press — with respect to the Trump administration — represents the people. I think the statement "They are the opposition party" is much more accurate. Too bad they did that to themselves. We could use a vigorous, professional press.

"Don't give up blogging; our minds would rust without you. But I think you have earned a retirement from watching those Sunday morning panel shows."

I'm reading the comments on yesterday's post "This blog is 13 years old today" just after shutting off the TV — after 2 minutes — with the thought I don't have to do this. Not that I ever had to do it. It wasn't my job to monitor the Sunday morning shows.

The quote is from WA-mom. And thanks to all who commented on my bloggiversary post — and on all posts, which (I assure you) are written because I have genuinely found something interesting. I'm not under assignment to do any of this. It's not like the way I had to submit myself to the task of reading, say, Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, when it was my job to teach Conlaw1.

Why have I watched the Sunday shows? It's a one-day-a-week variation from the usual approach to looking around for something to talk about. Often I do sit through 3 or even 4 or 5 of them. This morning, I couldn't get started even on the first one.

What's blocking me isn't that I just retired and I'm living in a new way. It's that — or so it seemed from the first 2 minutes — the shows are grinding through all the complaints about Donald Trump. I feel I've heard them, I've had my fill of the grousing, and I think a new President deserves his moment of elevated pomp followed by a fair chance to show he can do something beneficial for the country. I've never seen anything like this kind of hostility and opposition thrown in front of a new President.

I think Trump has figured out how to thrive on hostility and opposition, and I know it causes me to root for him. It's my instinct to pull for the underdog, even as I recognize the absurdity of seeing the most powerful man in the world as the underdog. But that's what the Trump haters have done. Congratulations, you nitwits. Now, could you sing me a song about your triumph?



By the way, celebrities, "I Will Survive" is not "by Gloria Gaynor." The song was written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris. The big hit version was sung by Gloria Gaynor, but when it's you singing it, you're not singing a song by Gloria Gaynor. But I appreciate your underscoring how embarrassingly stupid you are. That helps the rest of us "survive" — by ignoring everything you have to say.

It's not just something that happens in cartoons.

The circus is over.

After 156 years, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end.
"It's been through world wars, and it's been through every kind of economic cycle and it's been through a lot of change," said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, owner of the Ringling Bros. "In the past decade there's been more change in the world than in the 50 or 75 years prior to that. And I think it isn't relevant to people in the same way."...

Movies, television, video games and the internet captured young minds. The circus didn't have savvy product merchandising tie-ins or Saturday morning cartoons to shore up its image. After 1956, the circus no longer performed under tents, moving to arenas....

Animal rights activists put pressure on cities where the circus toured.... In 2014, Feld Entertainment won $25.2 million in settlements from groups including the Humane Society of the United States, ending a 14-year legal battle over allegations that circus employees mistreated elephants.

The initial lawsuit was filed by a former Ringling barn helper who accepted at least $190,000 from animal-rights groups. The judge called him "essentially a paid plaintiff" who lacked credibility and standing to sue, and rejected the abuse claims.

Kenneth Feld testified about the elephants' importance to the show at that 2009 trial. "The symbol of the 'Greatest Show on Earth' is the elephant, and that's what we've been known for throughout the world for more than a hundred years," he said. Asked whether the show would be the same without elephants, Feld replied, "No, it wouldn't."

And, it wasn't. Feld Entertainment removed the elephants in 2016, sending all 40 of them to their Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida. Ticket sales plummeted. The circus, already an afterthought for many, receded further in the public mind....
So it wasn't all that complex. The end of the circus is explained in one word: elephants.

January 14, 2017

"How could I have this much hate spewing at me, and I haven't even done anything?"

"I guess it's not like those old days when political views were your own and you had freedom of speech. ... We live in a different time now and a decision to go and do something for America is not so clear-cut anymore."

Said Jennifer Holliday, who was going to to perform at the Trump inauguration. I'm completely unsurprised that she's been bullied into withdrawing.

50 years ago today: The Human Be-In.

Ah! Watch it in its 1967 glory — San Francisco takes off toward the Summer of Love:



In the early 60s, we'd had "sit-ins," when civil rights advocates quite logically made a protest out of sitting at lunch-counters where black people had been excluded. The "-in" suffix got attached to "teach" when the Students for a Democratic Society held a teach-in at the University of Michigan in March 1965. The "Be-In" of January 14, 1967 preceded the "love-in" and the TV show "Laugh-In."

In the hippie era, the idea that we could simple "be" felt — often with the prompting of LSD — so right. To hold an event that was patterned on a protest with that "-in" but at which you would just be... well, it was very 1967, as was the delight at the cosmic pun on "human being." Remember, this was before hippies seemed dumb. Imagine a time when hippies felt like the cutting edge of enlightenment:
The Human Be-In focused the key ideas of the 1960s counterculture: personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, communal living, ecological awareness, higher consciousness (with the aid of psychedelic drugs), acceptance of illicit drug use, and radical liberal political consciousness....
California had, only a few months earlier, banned LSD, shutting the door to cosmic perception. Timothy Leary was there to say "Turn on, tune in, drop out." Among the other gurus: Richard Alpert ("Ram Dass"), Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Dick Gregory, Lenore Kandel, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Jerry Rubin. Yes, there were also women in those days, but it was before prideful enlightened men noticed a need to perform gender-diversity theater. Male human was human enough for the Human Be-In. There is, however, a snakily sexy lady dancing in the audience in that video.

Hells Angels provided security. Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service played music. There was "White Lightning" LSD from Owsley Stanley and free turkey provided by the Diggers.

The serious adults who ran the mainstream news and covered the Human Be-In didn't think they were running free ads for LSD and the counterculture but they were. And those ads were vastly more effective than ads for conventional trips to tourist destinations. We teenagers watched and dreamed of making it out to San Francisco where life was beautiful and love was everywhere.

ADDED: "There was an awakening going on, and we knew it was happening across the country, and we knew there were pockets of people out there who felt isolated and alone and scared. We wanted to send a signal out to them: 'Hey, it’s OK to come out and spread your wings. Be your fully glorified self in all your beauty and joy. … You are not alone.'"

"The bikers are certainly used to being outnumbered and we are prepared to form a wall of meat."

Said Chris Cox, founder of Bikers for Trump, who are attending the inauguration.

That quote dragged the word "Altamont" up out of the swamp of my memories.

"A 1989 photograph of Donald Trump tossing a red apple was installed today at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C."

"This photograph has led many lives, nearly disappearing into obscurity. In 1989, Trump posed for [Michael] O'Brien, who was on assignment for a Fortune magazine story on American billionaires. From the beginning, O'Brien knew he wanted to place Trump against a backdrop of a bright blue sky and cotton ball clouds, a sky he says was inspired by the surrealist painter Rene Magritte. The apple was a last-minute addition, he told NPR. 'On the day of the shoot I thought, "It needs some type of action, something unexpected but telling." Bingo! A big red apple popped into my head ... It was sort of subconscious the apple. It was sparked by a color scheme, and I later realized it was symbolic of New York.'... [A]bout a year later, Random House asked O'Brien for the rights to use the image for the cover of Trump's autobiography Trump: Surviving at the Top. Over 20 years after that, the image was acquired by the museum. Today the portrait hangs under wall text that reads ' 2017 Inauguration, Donald J. Trump.'" Reports NPR.



Nice picture. Especially because the apple represents the geographic place Trump dominated, it makes me think of Chaplin tossing the globe around in "The Great Dictator":



But O'Brien says he was inspired by Magritte:



That's the one with the apple, but the sky is not bright blue with cotton-ball clouds. That seems to point to this famous Magritte image:



Perhaps O'Brien conflated the images. Question which of the 2 relates more to Trump. Trump doesn't seem to get obscured by things in front of his face, so I think the second image is more relevant. The surrealism is the nighttime on the ground while it is daylight in the sky. These are dark days, it seems, to many of us as we short-sightedly observe our immediate surroundings. But perhaps it is Morning in America, and those with their head hung down cannot see it.