December 7, 2016

"In the autopsy of the doomed Clinton campaign, there is no shortage of fatal causes."

"Expectations certainly missed their target: the race between the first plausible female presidential candidate and a man who bragged about grabbing women 'by the pussy' did not boil down to gender. In interviews across the country in the year leading up to the election, many voters suggested that shattering the glass ceiling wasn’t an urgent priority for them. Some took it as a given that a woman will be President one day, and it wasn’t worth electing someone they believed was the wrong woman just to show it could be done."

From Time's Person-of-the-Year "Short List" article about Hillary Clinton.

"What amazes a lot of people is that I’m sitting in an apartment the likes of which nobody’s ever seen. And yet I represent the workers of the world."

Said Donald Trump, quoted in TIME's "2016 Person of the Year Donald Trump."

This is not the article linked in the earlier post, about the process of picking Trump for Person of the Year. This is the article about him. It's written in a fancy style (by Michael Scherer) with sentences like — referring to Trump's apartment — "It’s gilded and gaudy, a dreamscape of faded tapestry, antique clocks and fresco-style ceiling murals of gym-rat Greek gods."

And if you can wade through enough heavy prose, you'll find the dark side of journalism:
By seeking to condemn the dark side of politics, Clinton’s campaign may have accidently [sic] validated it. By believing in the myth that Obama’s election represented a permanent shift for the nation, they proved it was ephemeral. In the end, Trump reveled in these denunciations, which helped him market to his core supporters his determination to smash the existing elite. After the election, Trump’s campaign CEO Stephen Bannon—the former head of a website known for stirring racial animus and provoking liberal outrage—explained it simply. “Darkness is good,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.

This is the method of a demagogue. The more the elites denounced his transgressions, the more his growing movement felt validated....
In the space between those 2 paragraphs is a black-and-dark-gray photo of Steve Bannon, brooding. Keep scrolling for similar dark pictures of Kellyanne Conway and (unrecognizable) Reince Priebus.

"Trump’s unpredictable style unnerves corporate America."

That's the WaPo headline for the story reporting: 1. Trump's tweet decrying the cost of Boeing's Air Force One project, 2. the announcement that Softbank would invest $50 billion in the United States, 3. the news that Trump sold his entire stock portfolio months ago.

Those 3 things are all very interesting, but why is the headline that the vague entity called "corporate America" is having a particular emotional reaction — being unnerved.

Is that what we call fake news?
It was a day of big pronouncements and few details, leaving many wondering whether this would be the unusual and unpredictable way that Trump will govern when he takes office next month.
Many! The famous Many! Well, WaPo, what did Many say that revealed the internal mental state of wonderment?

There was just no way to weasel out of it.

TIME picked Donald Trump as Person of the Year.
This is the 90th time we have named the person who had the greatest influence, for better or worse, on the events of the year. So which is it this year: Better or worse? The challenge for Donald Trump is how profoundly the country disagrees about the answer....
Points for resisting mentioning Hitler as a former Man of the Year as you remind us that it's not necessarily positive.
It’s hard to measure the scale of his disruption. This real estate baron and casino owner turned reality-TV star and provocateur—never a day spent in public office, never a debt owed to any interest besides his own—now surveys the smoking ruin of a vast political edifice that once housed parties, pundits, donors, pollsters, all those who did not see him coming or take him seriously. Out of this reckoning, Trump is poised to preside, for better or worse....
Again with the "for better or worse."

Smoking ruin.... how about the smoking ruin of mainstream media?

"Black Lives Matter — really! In my hometown, Chicago, they are being extirpated at an alarming rate."

"The discourse about race, violence, and the value of human life has been held hostage to partisanship — Black Lives Matter vs. Blue Lives Matter. We can do better than that. The election is over. And, the body count mounts. I'm interested now in SOLUTIONS and, frankly, I don't give a damn where they come from. Obama ignored this catastrophe unfolding in his adopted home town for nearly a decade. At the moment, I'm inclined to #GiveTrumpAChance to 'fix it.' Anybody with a better idea? Speak now."

Writes Glenn Loury, linking to "Chicago tops 700 homicides — with a month to go in violent 2016."

"Former Senator Bob Dole, acting as a foreign agent for the government of Taiwan..."

"... worked behind the scenes over the past six months to establish high-level contact between Taiwanese officials and President-elect Donald J. Trump’s staff, an outreach effort that culminated last week in an unorthodox telephone call between Mr. Trump and Taiwan’s president."

First sentence of NYT article "Bob Dole Worked Behind the Scenes on Trump-Taiwan Call."

December 6, 2016

"I agree WaPo's comments policy is capricious and arbitrary. I suddenly hate this paper more than usual."

"Can someone please explain why comments are actually open for this article? It seems to meet the criteria that has, up to now, been consistently applied by the WaPo to disable comments for incidents involving tragedies. If this doesn't qualify then I don't know what would."

From the comments section of the WaPo article, "'All we could do was stand there': She watched Oakland’s inferno consume the one she loved the most."

"And... I see the climate science skeptics within the scientific community as being similar to Shy Trump Supporters."

"The fact that a majority of scientists agree with climate science either means the evidence is one-sided or the social/economic pressures are high. And as we can plainly see, the cost of disagreeing with climate science is unreasonably high if you are a scientist. While it is true that a scientist can become famous and make a big difference by bucking conventional wisdom and proving a new theory, anything short of total certainty would make that a suicide mission. And climate science doesn’t provide the option of total certainty.To put it another way, it would be easy for a physicist to buck the majority by showing that her math worked. Math is math. But if your science depends on human judgement to decide which measurements to include and which ones to 'tune,' you don’t have that option. Being a rebel theoretical physicist is relatively easy if your numbers add up. But being a rebel climate scientist is just plain stupid. So don’t expect to see many of the latter. Scientists can often be wrong, but rarely are they stupid."

From "The Non-Expert Problem and Climate Change Science" by Scott Adams, who has surprised me by reopening his comments section. (I'd believed his notice that his comments were "temporarily" closed was a funny way to say they were permanently closed. (In the manner of "Is never good for you?"))

And while we're on the subject of climate change, here's an article on what Al Gore said about his meeting with Ivanka Trump.
"I appreciate the fact that she is very concerned about this." Gore... called it a "very intelligent exchange."

Ivanka Trump has singled out environmental regulation as her primary policy focus as an incoming first daughter, despite her father's past claims that climate change is a hoax propagated by China. Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, in recent days said Trump's "default position" on the topic was that “most of it is a bunch of bunk.”
Gore also met with Trump:
“It was a sincere search for areas of common ground.... I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I'm just going to leave it at that.”
Gore was sent to Ivanka first, and then to Trump. Interesting theater. Gore must be tempted to make himself relevant again, and the Trumps must see a use for him. It's political theater, and Gore is a big ham, no? How can he resist the charm of the Ivanka-and-Donald routine?

A new class-action lawsuit accuses a big job-placement agency of discriminating against blacks job-seekers — in favor of Hispanics.

The NYT reports.
Kevin James, 29, one of the named plaintiffs in the suit, said he had applied for work through MVP on roughly 20 occasions but had been given a job only once. He sat in the MVP office waiting in vain while Hispanic applicants got assignments, he said.

On the one occasion when Mr. James was given a job, he said, he was sent to a packaging company where supervisors were hostile toward him, “hovering” over him and other black employees as they worked.

“It just seemed like a lot of tension, like they didn’t really want me to be there,” Mr. James said. He added that the staff of the MVP office in Cicero “was mainly Mexicans” and that the employees were not welcoming toward African-American job seekers. “I’d say the whole staff was Mexican,” he said. “It was like the whole thing was built up mainly around Hispanics."
There is evidence that MVP used the code words "guapo" — handsome — and "feo" — ugly:
"They said African-Americans wanted to keep their hands clean and not get dirty and not work as hard as a Mexican — that’s why they called them guapos,” [said Rosa Ceja, 29, a former dispatcher at MVP’s office in Elmwood Park, Ill.]. MVP employees were told that using the words “black” or “Mexican” instead of the code words, especially in an email, was a fireable offense....

The vast majority of Hispanic job applicants served by MVP were in the United States illegally, Ms. Ceja added, and their vulnerability made them attractive short-term workers. “That makes it harder for them to complain or do anything,” she said. “They are so scared to raise their voice and say, ‘Hey, this is not fair.’”
More at the link.

"I look down to see the people that are governing me and making my rules — and they haven’t got any hair on their head. I get very uptight about it."

Said Bob Dylan in 1963, quoted at "Longhair Presidents of the United States."

I've been thinking about how we haven't had a long-haired President in quite a while, but it's not as though we never did. Fun is made of Donald Trump's hair, and the comedy swirls around its unique weirdness — the color, the strange arrangements of strands with frontal projection and swooping sides.

But calm down and think about long hair on men and how for the most part — despite decades of admiring men with long hair — we have expected the men wielding political power to keep their hair short. (Not too short, though. There are no buzz-cut Presidents.) What does it mean that after all these years, we — some of us — have accepted a leader with long hair?

We haven't had one since James Polk:

It doesn't count that some Presidents had long hair after they left office...

... or when they were little boys...

ADDED: Here's Buzzfeed's (pre-Trump) effort at ranking the Presidents by their hairstyles, e.g., #14 Zachary Taylor — "I like that he probably just rolled out of bed that morning and was like 'What’s up, I’m the President, bitches.'" You can see how the line "What’s up, I’m the President, bitches" seemed funnier before Trump got elected. Or maybe you think it's funnier now. For some reason, Andrew Jackson is only #3:

That's got the kind of swirling dynamism we see in Trump. And without hair spray. Impressive. That look on his face though. I get very uptight about it.

2 things about Trump that are viral in China.

1. A video of Trump's 5-year-old granddaughter Arabella reciting ancient Chinese poetry in Mandarin.

Hoeing millet in the midday heat,
Sweat dripping to the earth beneath.
Do you know the food on your plate,
Each grain was hard-earned.
2. As I learned from this video (which discusses the love for Arabella): the idea that Donald Trump looks like this particular pheasant:

Ah, here. It's a golden pheasant called "Little Red" at Hangzhou Safari Park in eastern China. The keeper of the 50 pheasants at that zoo said: "I had not noticed the likeness in the past because I had not paid particular attention to the pheasant's hairstyle. But after Trump was elected President of America, I start seeing more pictures of him and I think the pheasant looks a little bit like him."

The pheasant's hairstyle...

A commenter at a Chinese news site said: "Not only does the pheasant's appearance looks like Trump, its facial expression looks like Trump's too. Look at its eyes, they are very similar [to Trump's]. The only difference is the man doesn't have a beak."

"Adult Swim cancels alt-right sketch show Million Dollar Extreme."

AV Club reports.

Top-rated comment over there: "Meanwhile, despite a reportedly troubled production, the offensive, ramshackle alt-right sketch show The Trump Presidency is still scheduled to premiere January 20."

"I am going to run in 2020."/"For what?"/"For president. What the hell man, anyway."

Biden will be 78 in 2020, and I assume he's joking or maybe combination joking and preserving a remote option, but anyone who cares about the Democratic Party should be horrified at this interference with the development of younger talent. Hillary performed that function for so long, to such a dreary effect.

December 5, 2016

Goodbye to Judge Leonard B. Sand.

"Leonard B. Sand, Judge in Landmark Yonkers Segregation Case, Dies at 88," is the headline at The New York Times.
The charges against Yonkers were brought in a lawsuit that the Justice Department filed in 1980 in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The case was assigned to Judge Sand, who had joined the court two years earlier.... Some applauded him as rightly following precedents when, in 1986, he ordered that the city remedy the housing portion of its violations by adopting a plan for building up to 1,000 units of low- and moderate-income housing in predominantly white neighborhoods.

They praised him again when he imposed potentially bankrupting fines on Yonkers to overcome its City Council’s repeated defiance of his mandated remedy.... Critics, however, viewed him as engaging in “social engineering,” and some called him a “judicial tyrant.” Yonkers officials, who denied they were responsible for the segregation, denounced the judge, as did many white residents, some of whom picketed his weekend home in northern Westchester County....

Other widely noted decisions by Judge Sand included a 1990 ruling that overturned a ban on panhandling in the New York City subway system. It was the first time a federal court found that panhandling was a free-speech right protected by the First Amendment....

Perhaps Judge Sand’s most prominent criminal trial was that in 2001 of four terrorists who were convicted of conspiring in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa, which killed 224 people. Two defendants then faced a death penalty hearing, which resulted in life sentences after the jury could not agree on imposing a death sentence.... [S]ome jurors noted that the terrorists “were suicide bombers, so why give them what they want?”...
I clerked for Judge Sand from the fall of 1981 to the summer of 1982 — the between-pregnancies period of my life. He embodied the qualities you imagine when you think about the ideal judge. It was wonderful to go from law school to the experience of watching him manage the day to day ordeals of the lawyers and clients of the Southern District of New York.


AND: Asked about Trump's tweeting, Dick Cheney said:
I think one of the reasons people get so concerned about the tweets is it is sort of a way around the press. He doesn't have to rely upon, uh, rely upon [the press]. This is the modern era, modern technology. He's at the point where we don't need you guys anymore.

Few benefit from the treatment of being bathed in cream...

Don't try to friend me on Facebook. I limit my scope over there. I just wanted to show you this:

7 reasons to be happy about the election of Donald Trump.

2 are things you could have taken into account when voting, and the rest are things that have accumulated in the transition period.

The link go to Instapundit, who warns "Don’t get cocky, because he could still blow it and the press will be looking for anything they can use to destroy him, as they do with every Republican president."

The warning interestingly interplays with reason #5, "Crushing the media’s sense of self-importance":
They thought they were going to hand this election to Hillary. Now they’re realizing just how few people like or trust them, while Trump bypasses them using Twitter and YouTube. As I’ve said before, in the post-World War II era, the press has enjoyed certain institutional privileges based on two assumptions: (1) That it’s very powerful; and (2) That it will exercise that power responsibly, for the most part. Both assumptions have been proven false in this election cycle. Like many of the postwar institutional accommodations, this one will be renegotiated under Trump. It’s past time. After getting spanked in 2004 over RatherGate, the press realized with Katrina that if they all converged on the same lies they could still move the needle. Now they can’t.

Edgar M. Welch came to Comet Ping Pong to "self-investigate" Pizzagate.

He fired a rifle...
People inside the restaurant fled, and the police locked down the area, ordering patrons of a nearby bookstore and cafe called Politics and Prose to remain locked inside. Officers with rifles and protective gear surrounded the restaurant and apprehended Mr. Welch....
The owner of Comet Ping Pong said:
“What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences.... I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today and stop promoting these falsehoods right away.”
The co-ower of Politics and Prose said:
"This is one of the things we feared... That this could go from a social media attack to something much more dangerous and physical."
This isn't just about Pizzagate. It's about all the crazy stuff people are cranking each other up about — including the freakout over the Trump election. There are unstable people out there who can get the notion that they need to take action.

AND: I'm not saying that good people have to tone it down lest they set off some nut. I'm for vibrant speech. Just think about the kind of person you want to be. If it's winding people up, ask yourself why.

The sanctuary cities issue has the left inspired about federalism.

There's Jeffrey Rosen in the NYT, "States’ Rights for the Left."
IN the wake of the presidential election, as Democrats realized that Republicans will soon control all three branches of the federal government, progressives disinclined to secede from the Union rediscovered another exit strategy: states’ rights.

Mayors in several so-called sanctuary cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago and New York, immediately reaffirmed their commitment not to work with federal immigration officials in detaining and deporting illegal immigrants....
More detailed, doctrine-wise, is Ilya Somin in WaPo, with "Federalism, the Constitution, and sanctuary cities," explaining Printz v. United States (the anti-commandeering doctrine) and NFIB v. Sebelius (the limit on using the spending power to coerce compliance).

This is the main subject I wrote about when I wrote for law journals. See, e.g., "The Vigor of Anti-Commandeering Doctrine in Times of Terror." My experience was that liberals and lefties got annoyed at the suggestion that doctrine from conservative Justices could serve liberal causes.

ADDED: The post title is not intended to imply that Ilya Somin is himself a man of the left. And he now has a newer post: "Trump, federal power, and the left – why liberals should help make federalism great again."

"Tech-savvy rightwingers have been able to ‘game’ the algorithms of internet giants and create a new reality where Hitler is a good guy, Jews are evil and… Donald Trump becomes president."

The subtitle of "Google, democracy and the truth about internet search," a Guardian article by Carole Cadwalladr. (I know: Your first thought is I really want to move that e from her first name to her last name.)