September 25, 2017

At the Cat-Reads-Althouse Café...

... I don't know if the cat is commenting, but you sure can. Feel free to pass along your cats' and dogs' views and also to write about whatever you want.

The photo was emailed by a reader, who gave me permission to use it. Thanks!

As usual, I will prompt you to use The Althouse Amazon Portal, which keeps this crazy thing going.

"I haven’t seen a single play that happened yesterday in the NFL. And I’m not urging people to… It’s not a boycott. I just didn’t feel it."

"As I said, the thrill’s gone. The sadness was overwhelming.... I don’t know that the NFL understands what’s happening to it. I really don’t think they do," said Rush Limbaugh on his show today.
Trump supporters to this day are not understood. They are still impugned and mocked and laughed at. But they have grown tired of a country they love as being under assault as unjust or immoral or illegitimate. They’re fed up with it. Their president defends it, defends them. The specifics don’t matter. There is finally somebody speaking up for America. “But, Rush! But, Rush! The protesters are speaking up for America.” They may think so, but they’re not, in the eyes of most NFL fans. They’re not speaking up for America. This is not complicated, either....

Donald Trump instinctively knows where the heart of America is. The National Football League all these years has thought that it knew because of its robust popularity and money. But it turns out it didn’t, and doesn’t.

Here’s another theory that was sent to me. My old buddy Seton Motley said: “The left’s idea to play up the NFL protests knowing it would further the left’s effort to kill the NFL by bringing the right against it is brilliant strategy, and the political neophyte NFL is the useful idiot in its own impending demise.”
Motley's point, by the way, is close to what I was saying yesterday in "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."

"Anthony Weiner got 21 months of hard time."

That's The Daily News, stooping to the "hard time" joke.
The disgraced pol, crying and grabbing tissue after tissue, was sentenced Monday by Judge Denise Cote for sending sick messages to a 15-year-old.
Worth a click to see the courtroom sketch of the disgraced pol, crying, with Kleenex.
Weiner had sought probation. He argued he is sick and needs therapy, not incarceration.

"I victimized a young person who deserved better,” Weiner said in court. “I am not asking that I be trusted ... I ask you for the opportunity on probation to keep my sworn oath.”
There's something terribly wrong with that man. People need protection from him, but I feel sorry for him.

Remember — it was so long ago — the big impression he made back in 2010 when this clip came out:

There were those who adored that vigor and aggression. Watching it again now, I'm trying to imagine what it must feel like to be him. What a colossal screwup.

"Is it just me, or are the comments under Althouse's post nonsensical?"

"It's like a bunch of stoners waxing profound without the ability to complete a thought. Not that there's anything wrong with that."

A comment on an Instapundit post:
ANN ALTHOUSE ON MARK KLEIMAN: Classic liberal manipulation: Creating the fear that you will be thought of as uncaring. “And that is how women are disciplined into insignificance.”

The thing is, the more they do this, the less people care — even about being thought of as uncaring.

"The 33-year-old self-proclaimed anarchist from Janesville smiled as he closed one eye, cocked his head and made a clicking sound to mimic gunfire coming from an assault rifle..."

"... one of more than a dozen guns he admits he stole a few days earlier from a Janesville gun shop. 'Those were the best days of my life,' said [Joseph] Jakubowski, then the subject of one of the largest manhunts in Wisconsin history after he mailed an anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump, stole the weapons, burned his truck and disappeared on April 4. 'For once in my life I was free. Nobody told me what I had to do. All I had to do was wake up and live.'.... But the hike took a toll. The two heavy backpacks he carried as well as a duffel bag in which he said he kept the stolen guns eventually wore him down. He also had to forage for food because the apples, oranges and noodles he brought with him lasted just a couple of days. 'I was exhausted at the end, mainly because I was so hungry,' he said."

From "Joseph Jakubowski's one regret: that he survived his failed quest to 'get off the grid'" (Wisconsin State Journal).

The shooting he's reminiscing about in the quote in the post title was of a wild turkey that he seems to have been able to kill and eat.

"How can you know I've never said one thing about a particular topic unless you yourself have been stalking me?"

I'm responding to this:

He's reacting to something we discussed at some length last night in "Classic liberal manipulation: Creating the fear that you will be thought of as uncaring."

I have to deliver a second push-back.

And notice that the idea is that I must not only take care of the women's issues, but that I must do it the right way, the Democratic-Party-supporting way. I'm supposed to take as a given that Trump was "’disciplining and repressing’ HRC in gendered ways." Ridiculous. By the way, what's with the quotes on "disciplining and repressing"? That seems original to Kleiman, so I guess it's air quotes, mocking me for saying that he is using a technique that manipulates women (and other people) by scaring us into worrying that we lack empathy. I did say "And that is how women are disciplined into insignificance." And you better believe I believe that. 

And I don't like being disciplined by being told that I must support political candidates because they are women. At least Kleiman doesn't threaten me with hell for failing to support the woman.

"Remember a few weeks before the election, when Hillary Clinton said, 'I’m the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse?'"

"I think she was basically right. Part of the job of a columnist, as I see it, is to bear witness to a nearly inconceivable civic disaster, and part of it is to grope toward an understanding of how it happened and how to move forward."

Says Michelle Goldberg, in a dialogue with NYT op-ed writer (and former editorial page editor) Gail Collins. Goldberg is the new NYT columnist.

I'll just highlight one comment:
No mention of the Book Review gaffe? What is the purpose of this column?
The comment links to the Vanity Fair piece from 5 days ago: "'HUMILIATING': INSIDE THE LATEST CONTROVERSY TO ROIL THE NEW YORK TIMES/A deeply inaccurate book review has set off much consternation, and soul-searching, at 620 Eighth Avenue."

What Miss Turkey 2017 tweeted that made them take away her crown.

"To celebrate July 15 Martyr's Day, I began the morning by getting my period. I am celebrating the day by bleeding representing the martyrs blood."

Later, Itir Esen, 18, said "as an 18-year-old girl, I had no political agenda when I posted" and "I made this post with innocence during a sensitive time without thinking. As any one who feels like a victim during their menstruation, it does not contain any meaning other than 'it is July 15 and this is my situation right now.'"

I had to look up the term "Martyr's Day." My understanding is that the countries who use this term — including Turkey (and with the exception of Uganda) — use it to refer to military deaths. So the issue in this case is about disrespecting the military, not violating religious sensitivities.

The oldest meaning of the word "martyr" in English is specifically religious: "A person who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce faith in Christ or obedience to his teachings, a Christian way of life, or adherence to a law or tenet of the Church; (also) a person who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce the beliefs or tenets of a particular Christian denomination, sect, etc." (OED).

The other meanings of "martyr" in English (according to the OED) retain the original religious connotation.  So: "In extended (esp. non-religious) contexts: a person who undergoes death or great suffering for a faith, belief, or cause, or (usually with to; also with of, for) through devotion to some object."

To my English-hearing ear, "martyr" isn't the right word for someone who fights within his country's military, no matter how much he believes in its cause, because the enemy isn't targeting him because he's adhering to his beliefs and he can't save himself by renouncing them. But obviously Turkey is not operating in English and its connection to Christianity is complicated.

Anyway, I'm heartened that a teenager in Turkey felt free enough to tweet about her period.

All the best to Itir Esen.

"Far-right party AfD in disarray a day after historic German election result."

CNN reports.
The AfD won 13% of the vote and came a stunning third place behind the main center-right and center-left parties. It becomes the first far-right party to enter the Bundestag since 1961. But it has been riven with internal strife: [party chairwoman Frauke] Petry has been regarded as a more moderate force in the party, arguing that it had to break with the far right in order to move from opposition into government.

"Today we must be open that there is internal dissent within the AfD," Petry said at the press conference. "We must not be silent about this. The community needs to know that we have controversial debates." She told reporters later that she would sit in the Bundestag as an independent.

AfD co-founder Alexander Gauland repeatedly called after Petry, saying "I do not approve of this behavior." He described the walkout as a bombshell.

"I just laid quietly and played like I was dead."

"I got up close to the wall so if somebody came in they would probably walk past me, and put my purse over my face so I couldn’t be seen... He never said anything," said Catherine Dickerson, who survived the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee yesterday.

Do you think, if you were in a situation where your best strategy is to play dead, that you'd be any good at it? It probably will never happen to you, but if it does, it will be too late to look up how to do it. I'm seeing articles directed at actors who need to do death scenes:
Make sure to position your body in a way that looks dead instead of just asleep. Some ways to do this are to position your body in an unnatural way, bend your limbs so that they look broken, or twist your torso so that it looks like your back is broken.
Breathing seems to be the hardest part. One choice is to hold your breath:
Holding your breath is a useful technique, because you will have no body movement at all. Most people can learn to hold their breath for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Practicing holding your breath for as long as possible, but do not hurt yourself. If you try holding your breath for too long, you may actually pass out....
You can practice, and I would think you should practice how, after you've held your breath, to take the next breath without it being a deep breath. So it might be better, especially if you think you'll need to go longer than a minute, to go with "low, shallow breaths":
Keep your breaths low and shallow by slowly inhaling and exhaling small amounts of air at a time.... Visualize that you are breathing from... your neck and throat. Your lungs will still be working, but this visualization will minimize the movement of your chest cavity.... Focus only on your neck and throat. Pretend as if all of your air is coming from that area, and not from your chest or abdomen.

When you practice this technique, hold your hand on your throat area to direct your focus. Once you've directed your focus, you should be able to see and feel a difference in your body movements while breathing.

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