December 11, 2017

At the Sleeping-Dogs-Lie Café...

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... you can lie all you want or rouse yourself and tell the truth.

And you can shop at Amazon, using this special link, if you've got some shopping to do. If you're looking for a video to stream, here's the movie Meade and I just watched (for only 99¢). It wasn't really a great documentary, but how could it be, made out of reels and reels of badly shot footage of a very long bus trip that was mostly happening inside the head of a bunch of people who were in no position to show or tell us what it was like for them. Occasionally a word of wisdom seeps through, like the fact that no matter how much you believe you can, you can't pick up a saxophone for the first time and play like John Coltrane and why the bus was called "Further" rather than "Farther."

"Sexbots With Full Motion Are Closer Than You Think."

That sounds dangerous. You're making them sound like stalkers. In the next room, perhaps.

The headline is from Pajamas Media, linked by Stephen Green at Instapundit. The first comment is "Faster, please."

Full motion? Can they rape you? Can they strangle you if you rape them? What are we talking about, full motion?

As I've said before, I think someone really interested in sex would prefer some sort of virtual reality machine. A full size, human-like robot is more of an all-around companion:
It occurs to me that the preference for a robot over virtual reality reflects a longing for a real human companion. You have this human-sized, human-looking object in your home. Why would you want that? Perhaps to give the feeling you have company, someone to talk to. And it would talk to you. If it were only for sex, wouldn't virtual reality work better and seem more realistic as sex?

There are so many lonely people.... You might say: Deprive them of realistic robots so they will be forced to get out in the world and find somebody. But not everyone can do that easily (or without exploiting or manipulating another human being). I don't want to say that anyone is too old, ugly, disabled, diseased, or disagreeable to find a sex partner, but it's a big challenge for some people.

"I want greater honesty regarding judicial clerkships. Law students are often told in glowing terms that a clerkship will be the best year in their career."

"They are never told that it might, in fact, be their worst—and that if it is their worst, they may be compelled to lie to others in the name of loyalty to their judge. I also want law schools to start giving our best and brightest students accurate advice about clerkships. Students are often told that if they receive a clerkship offer from a judge, they must say 'yes' without hesitation. I cannot imagine a situation more rife for abuse. Students should feel free to say no to any judge who triggers their discomfort for any reason."

That's one of 4 proposals at the end of the compelling narrative written by Heidi Bond (AKA Courtney Milan), which is the background to "Prominent appeals court Judge Alex Kozinski accused of sexual misconduct" (Washington Post). I had not seen Bond's full statement when I wrote about the WaPo article 2 days ago, and if the link is in there, I'm still not seeing it. I got the link from Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, who begins "Heidi Bond’s account of her interactions with Alex Kozinski needs to be read in full...." I agree. Please read the whole thing. It made a very different impression on me than the WaPo article... and from the things Paul Campos goes on say.

Here's Campos:
It’s important to recognize that men like Kozinski — and there are obviously a lot of them in our society — are sadists. That is, they get off, metaphorically and no doubt literally, on being cruel to people who are relatively powerless. Power, sex, domination, hierarchy, cruelty — it’s all mixed up for these guys. They are bullies and perverts, and they are everywhere.
Before taking the time to read Bond's direct account, I was inclined to say that I agree with the generality about some men, but didn't think it was fair to conclude that Kozinski belonged in that category and that we should only be saying that he might and that we only know what Heidi Bond says happened and how it made her feel. It's some evidence, and even if we take it as true, we still need to make an inference to get to Kozinski's mental state. It seemed wrong and unfair for Campos to present that inference as a known fact.

But now I want to step back from a critique of the Campos rhetoric and direct you to Bond's excellent narrative. To encourage you to read Bond, let me extract the part that relates to her career path into writing romance novels:

"If you’re going to make up an entire false identity, why would you make yourself into a shitty person?"

Key question in the tl;dr Deadspin piece, "Teen Girl Posed For 8 Years As Married Man To Write About Baseball And Harass Women."

I got there from Metafilter, which sums it up like this:
A 13-year-old girl managed to become a writer for on-line sports publications. She pretended to be a man and kept up the masquerade for eight years. During this time she harassed and insulted women on line, even getting nude photos from a few before being exposed....  
As for that question I put in the title — "If you’re going to make up an entire false identity, why would you make yourself into a shitty person?" — I've got to say that every time I've contemplated writing through an alter ego — on another blog or as a sock puppet here — the attraction was being a shitty person.

To be clear, I never wanted to do this for the purpose of engaging in bad behavior or hurting anyone in any way, and in fact, I never have created an alter ego. But to the extent that I've been interested in adopting a fictional persona as a writing experiment, I wanted to be a "shitty person."

It would be like writing a novel and creating a great villain. Who writes a novel for the purpose of showing a wonderful, saintly person? I know there are such characters in fiction, but I think novelists create them for the purpose of torturing them, so the novelist, along with his readers, are getting off on the sadism.

I'm not saying that's good. As the grand mufti said in the context of film: fiction is a source of depravity.

"Me and the wife are thinking about voting for Moore, but I just don’t like some of the things they saying about him."

Roll Call finds an Alabaman to quote.

"In the latest in a series of gestures toward modernization that would once have seemed improbable, Saudi Arabia announced on Monday..."

"... that it would allow commercial movie theaters to open for the first time in more than 35 years" (NYT).
Although satellite television and video downloads have made the ban on commercial theaters all but moot, the announcement highlights the diminishing power of the kingdom’s conservative clerics. The grand mufti, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, publicly called commercial films a source of “depravity” and opposed the opening of movie theaters as recently as a few months ago.

And opening the door to such changes raises suspenseful questions about how far they will go, beginning with the issue of what movies will be shown and how they may be censored.
I welcome the liberalization of Saudi Arabia, but I want to give the grand mufti his due: Commercial films are a source of depravity.

"I’m a human just like anybody else. I’m a man just like the other man in the stands."

"Folks in the stands was throwing beer and throwing soda, whatever. I mean, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do... I’m a human just like anybody else. I’m a man just like the other man in the stands. I’m not going to let somebody disrespect me, throw a beer on me."

From "Seahawks Game Turns Ugly As Fans Throw Food At Ejected Player" (HuffPo).

Quinton Jefferson was ejected for unnecessary roughness, and I see one fan throw one thing at him as he leaves, and he comes back out and "had to be restrained from climbing into the stands."

There's news of an explosion in the subway in NYC.

I saw the report in the NYT and turned on the TV to get some immediate, on-the-scene news. I rarely switch out of print media to watch the news on TV, but there are some events that have a live quality that makes me think I should be watching television. (I sat at my dining table reading the paper NYT on the morning of September 11, 2001). 

So I went straight to CNN — which I still imagined was the right place to encounter the live news — and there was some over-made-up lady teasing a story about how President Trump, according to The New York Times, watches TV for 4 hours a day. 

The NYT story about Trump watching TV appeared on the NYT website on Saturday, and I blogged it at 7 a.m, yesterday. So much for switching on the TV to get the news of what's happening right now!

Ironically, that NYT story about Trump watching TV says that the first thing he does in the morning is turn on CNN, which is where he goes "for news." So if he did that this morning, he turned on the TV for news and got news of him turning on the TV for news, but that news was 2 days old, and it wasn't news that he needed any news at all to know. 

Imagine turning on the TV and getting the news that you watch TV. And it isn't news, not just because you're already in the know about the fact that you're watching TV, but it's from 2 days ago. 

But back to the real news, the explosion in the NY subway. 

And why doesn't CNN have someone on the scene covering it? Maybe it does, but it wasn't the first thing I saw when I turned on the news, and I was completely disgusted by what was getting palmed off as new news — and it was only a teaser that they were going to give this old news later — so I turned it off.

The morning after the 50-year anniversary of the death of Otis Redding.

I put up a post last night, linking to a New Yorker tribute, with my own photograph from an airplane of the Madison lake where Redding's plane crashed. This morning, I'm clicking on my Otis Redding tag, because there's one thing I know is there and I want to find it. But I'm interested in all the old Otis Redding posts, and I'm going to list them here.

1. April 30, 2005 — "Songs transformed with the sex of the singer."
What songs well-known as girl songs would take on intriguing meaning sung by a guy?... The obvious actual example of this is Aretha Franklin singing Otis Redding's "Respect."... The trouble with a man singing that song is that it's a bit ugly: I make the money, so you owe me. It's the conventional arrangement. The lyrics are a bit awkward in the female re-sing. Why was Aretha giving this guy "all my money"? But we ignored that. It was the remnant of the Otis version. She sang through that and pulled out the better, female meaning through sheer force.
2. June 4, 2006 — "Convergences."
... I put in my earphones and fired up Pandora and meant to type in "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" to get to some more music like that. Mixing in the movie title ["Coffee and Cigarettes"] and influenced by that coffee I was drinking, I typed in "Cigarettes and Coffee." Pandora turned up a song I'd never heard before called "Cigarettes and Coffee" -- by Otis Redding. I wasn't meaning to listen to that kind of music but I liked it well enough.... [T]he theme [of "Theme Time Radio With Bob Dylan"] this week is "Coffee," and one of the songs on the playlist was "Cigarettes and Coffee" by Otis Redding.... Bob mentions how Otis died, converging by airplane with a lake here in Madison, Wisconsin. And he plays a clip from the movie "Coffee and Cigarettes"...
3. March 4, 2007 — "It is [blank] that makes us human."

"The possible marginal tax rate of more than 100% results from the combination of tax policies designed to provide benefits to businesses and families but then deny them to the richest people."

"As income climbs and those breaks phase out, each dollar of income faces regular tax rates and a hidden marginal rate on top of that, in the form of vanishing tax breaks. That structure, if maintained in a final law, would create some of the disincentives to working and to earning business profit that Republicans have long complained about, while opening lucrative avenues for tax avoidance. As a taxpayer’s income gets much higher and moves out of those phaseout ranges, the marginal tax rates would go down. Consider, for example, a married, self-employed New Jersey lawyer with three children and earnings of about $615,000. Getting $100 more in business income would force the lawyer to pay $105.45 in federal and state taxes, according to calculations by the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation. That is more than double the marginal tax rate that household faces today. If the New Jersey lawyer’s stay-at-home spouse wanted a job, the first $100 of the spouse’s wages would require $107.79 in taxes....."

From "The Taxman Cometh: Senate Bill’s Marginal Rates Could Top 100% for Some/Certain high-income business owners would face backwards incentives; lawmakers work to bridge gap" in The Wall Street Journal (which you can get into without a subscription if start at Drudge, where it's the top story right now).

So the rich are fighting back. The effort to make the tax bill politically palatable with these phaseouts at the high end created what is either a terrible problem or the raw material to frame an argument that the phaseouts are unfair. So the rich have got the Wall Street Journal drumming up sympathy for the group that was getting less than zero sympathy. These people who needed to be deprived of a tax cut now need to be saved from radical unfairness. Or so this article says.

I don't know if this is enough to leverage the GOP in Congress to help the rich (but I've heard that's what the GOP really always wants to do). It needs a lot of political cover. The WSJ paints a vivid picture of unfairness — even for a New Jersey lawyer who makes $615,000, normally one of the least sympathetic characters on the face of the earth.

If this article is wrong, somebody better get on the task of showing why it's wrong. Who's motivated to disprove what this article says? I don't think it it would be the Democrats, who hate the tax bill and want to see the whole thing fail. And it won't be the GOP people who actually want to help the rich and don't like the phaseouts. It might be someone who wants the big tax cut and also wants to make sure the rich don't get it — which could be someone who simply believes that for GOP to prevail in the next 2 elections, it must deliver a tax cut that does not hand the Democrats the argument that the GOP gave a big tax cut to the rich.

Aging... at the NYT.

Screen shot from an inner page at the NYT — "Things I’ll Do Differently When I’m Old" — with the comments open and showing the highest-rated comment at the top (click to enlarge):

December 10, 2017

"Fifty years ago, on December 10, 1967, a private plane carrying Otis Redding and the members of his touring band stalled on its final approach to the municipal airport in Madison, Wisconsin..."

"... and crashed into the waters of Lake Monona, killing all but one of the eight people onboard.... When he came up, in 1962, he was a completely unschooled performer who stood stock still onstage as he sang the pining, courtly ballads that brought him his first success. Over time, however, as his repertoire broadened to include driving, up-tempo songs, Redding found a way to use his imposing size and presence as a foil for his heartfelt emotionality, eschewing the conventions of graceful stagecraft in favor of a raw physicality that earned him comparisons to athletes like the football star Jim Brown. Marching in place to keep pace with the beat, pumping his fists in the air, striding across stages with a long-legged gait that parodied his 'down home' origins, Redding’s confident yet unaffected eroticism epitomized the African-American ideal of a 'natural man.'... And then he was no more. Redding’s sudden death thrust him into the ranks of a mythic group of musical performers that included Bix Beiderbecke, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Charlie Parker, Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, and Redding’s own favorite, Sam Cooke––artists whose careers ended not only before their time but in their absolute prime, when there was every reason to expect that their finest work was yet to come...." — Jonathan Gould (The New Yorker).

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If Roy Moore wins, says David Brooks, Republicans are "for a generation...repulsive" and "repulsive to people of color forever."



Brooks gets awfully grandiose and contemptuous (on "Meet the Press" today), especially at the end when he tells Republicans "you end up, not only making yourself unpopular but sort of corrupting a piece of yourself... There is no end to what they are going to be asked to tolerate, and that is just, internally, so corrosive."

Does a win by Roy Moore really mean all that? Why can't it just mean that the voters of Alabama — deprived of these allegations (about old events) until after the primary — were stuck with a choice between a particular, possibly morally flawed Republican who would represent them in Congress by voting for the policies they want and a Democrat who might be less morally flawed but would vote against the policies they want, and they voted according to their policy choices and not as a judgment on the morality of the man?

If Roy Moore's opponent wins, I would expect Democrats to exult at the fabulous new political opportunity and even to laugh openly at the Alabamans (who will be on the receiving end of contempt no matter what they do).

And I do not believe that after this election there's going to be any great shift to voting based on which candidate is more moral. I watched the Sunday shows this morning. All that cheesy emoting in the Theater of Sanctimony. Such scenery chewing! Especially by Brooks.

Isn't he too a sinner?

On the morning bakery run...

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... we found lots of stuff to love.

Enjoy the open thread.

And please use this link — which is also always in the sidebar — if you feel the urge to shop at Amazon. Here are some cookie cutters in different sizes, for making "gingerbread children" and "gingerbread parents."

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Don't even ask what I was playing on YouTube that made it serve this up...

... but I love the lighthearted jaunty feeling:



Oh, I'll tell you what I'd been playing. It was "Charmaine," by The Harmonicats:



That's something I used to like to play (with hippie irony) in 1969 at a diner in New Jersey that had individual jukeboxes built in at every booth table. I'd forgotten about those things but the old memories came back to me suddenly when I saw a picture (on Facebook) of somebody eating at a table at Outback that had a digital device built into the table. It wasn't for music, but for ordering food. So I went looking for "Charmaine." (Hey, isn't that the music that's playing during "medicine time" in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"? (a 1975 movie and not the source of my belief that it was funny to play that song in the diner).)

But back to The George Shearing Quintet. You may remember that I listened to an entire The George Shearing Quintet album and blogged about it back in 2013:
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this music, even as I remember feeling perfectly annoyed at my father for listening to something that seemed so inanely smooth and pleasant....

I expected this album to be Muzak — schmaltzy, embarrassing junk. But it was detailed and crisp, and I asked the spirit of my father to forgive me for my deafness to the things that he loved.
It's so funny that I've stumbled into the topic of Muzak, because twice in the past week, I've expressed the opinion (to Meade) that I think Muzak will be the piped in music in the future. It makes you feel calm and happy (as long as you let it!) and public places are going to want to exclude music with lyrics, because — more and more — people will come to feel that song lyrics are sexual harassment. Too many stray "I want your body" lyrics.

Should Justice Ginsburg at least explain why she does not recuse herself in the travel ban case?

Lawprof Ronald Rotunda — in a WaPo op-ed — says that she should.
We already know what Ginsburg thinks of the president. She told us more than a year ago that she “can’t imagine what the country would be . . . with Donald Trump as our president.” Facing criticism for her apparent endorsement of Hillary Clinton and her attacks on Trump, Ginsburg doubled down, emphasizing in a CNN interview: “He is a faker.” She then went on “point by point, as if presenting a legal brief,” the CNN analyst said.

Her statements are particularly troubling in the context of the travel ban case, in which the crucial issue — at least, according to the lower courts and the plaintiffs — is the personal credibility of Trump and whether he delivered his executive order in good faith — in other words, whether he is faking it....
This reminds me most of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, watching the election results at a party on November 7, 2000, as described (on Christmas Eve, 2000) by Michael Isikoff in Newsweek, :
[S]urrounded for the most part by friends and familiar acquaintances, she let her guard drop for a moment when she heard the first critical returns shortly before 8 p.m. Sitting in her hostess's den, staring at a small black-and-white television set, she visibly started when CBS anchor Dan Rather called Florida for Al Gore. "This is terrible," she exclaimed. She explained to another partygoer that Gore's reported victory in Florida meant that the election was "over," since Gore had already carried two other swing states, Michigan and Illinois

Moments later, with an air of obvious disgust, she rose to get a plate of food, leaving it to her husband to explain her somewhat uncharacteristic outburst. John O'Connor said his wife was upset because they wanted to retire to Arizona, and a Gore win meant they'd have to wait another four years.
Not long after that outburst, O'Connor participated in the Bush v. Gore litigation. Should she have recused herself?

Ah, here's a Washington Post piece by Aaron Blake from the summer before the 2016 election, talking about whether Ginsburg should have to recuse herself:
It's not clear that there is any real precedent for what Ginsburg just did.

Then-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was criticized by some in 2000 after Newsweek reported her saying, "This is terrible," at an election-night watch party after Florida was prematurely called for Al Gore. Some argued that she should have recused herself from Bush v. Gore.
In some ways, what O'Connor did seems worse, since she revealed a personal interest in seeing Bush elected (though she did not retire until after he was re-elected). But Rotunda identifies a special problem with Ginsburg's indiscretion: The case may turn on whether to trust Trump about whether the purported reason for the ban is the real reason. She's asked to decide if it's real or fake, and she called Trump a faker.

Drudge attributes superhuman powers to Trump.



Too mean? How hurt is she? Not that hurt:
Looks like i have an acute facet (spinal joint) dysfunction. I got compressed on the 6th gate and my back seized up. Rested and had a lot of therapy tonight. We will see how I feel tomorrow and then decide if I will race....
What did she say about Trump? Asked if she'd do the traditional visit to the White House after the Olympic, she'd said "absolutely not." Later, she clarified: "I was asked my opinion and I gave it. I mean, it's not necessarily my place to be sticking my nose in politics, but as an athlete I do have a voice." She also said that at the Olympics she would "represent the people of the United States, not the president." She didn't mention Trump, but she did say she admired Colin Kaepernick, which the linked article (to Fox News) connects to Trump, in that Trump has tweeted about Kaepernick. But Kaepernick's protest wasn't about Trump. If I remember correctly, Kaepernick protest is about race and the police (something we don't hear much about anymore).

"How did CNN end up aggressively hyping such a spectacularly false story? They refuse to say."

"Many hours after their story got exposed as false, the journalist who originally presented it, Congressional reporter Manu Raju, finally posted a tweet noting the correction. CNN’s PR Department then claimed that 'multiple sources' had provided CNN with the false date. And Raju went on CNN, in muted tones, to note the correction, explicitly claiming that 'two sources' had each given him the false date on the email, while also making clear that CNN did not ever even see the email, but only had sources describe its purported contents... [H]ow did 'multiple sources' all misread the date on this document, in exactly the same way, and toward the same end, and then feed this false information to CNN? It is, of course, completely plausible that one source might innocently misread a date on a document. But how is it remotely plausible that multiple sources could all innocently and in good faith misread the date in exactly the same way, all to cause to be disseminated a blockbuster revelation about Trump/Russia/WikiLeaks collusion? This is the critical question that CNN simply refuses to answer. In other words, CNN refuses to provide the most minimal transparency to enable the public to understand what happened here."

Glenn Greenwald, at The Intercept, "The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened."

How does the NYT know what Trump does in his bedroom when he wakes up in the morning?

I'm reading "INSIDE TRUMP’S HOUR-BY-HOUR BATTLE FOR SELF-PRESERVATION/With Twitter as his Excalibur, the president takes on his doubters, powered by long spells of cable news and a dozen Diet Cokes. But if Mr. Trump has yet to bend the presidency to his will, he is at least wrestling it to a draw."

The article — by Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, and Peter Baker — says it's based "on interviews with 60 advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress." But that doesn't mean every stated fact has 60 sources. Who was in the bedroom? The most logical guess is that the report comes from Trump himself:
Around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to “Fox & Friends” for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day.

Energized, infuriated — often a gumbo of both — Mr. Trump grabs his iPhone.
So first he turns on the TV, watches it until he gets excited, and then he grabs his iPhone? Personally, I begin by grabbing my iPhone — oh, sometimes I just pick it up — and I read the news, probably the NYT, until feel so inspired to blog that I jump out of bed. Just kidding. I don't jump out of bed. And, really, who "jumps" out of bed in real life? But it's what everyone does in writing, just like they "grab"* their iPhone.

Anyway, I believe that when Trump wakes up, he turns on the TV and uses it to orient himself to the morning. Is he looking for something precise, like "news" from CNN, "comfort" from Fox, and "fire" from MSNBC — and in that order? "Friends suspect"! Well, I suspect some poetic license is taken there, but the reporters have deniability: They're passing along the suspicions of "friends." How many friends — all 60? What could they know of the order Trump flips through the news channels, what he's seeking on each of the channels, the feelings that actually arise — a "gumbo" of energy and fury! — and whether those feelings impel his famous fingers to the small electronic device.
Sometimes he tweets while propped on his pillow, according to aides.
Does he really tweet from the iPhone? That takes dexterity... or willingness to use speech-to-text. I never do that. I have to leap out of bed — literally hurtle myself out — to get to a real computer with a good keyboard, not just to make typing easier, but to feel better grounded in the real world. But then, I am clinging to the edge of reality in my remote outpost in Madison, Wisconsin, and President Trump, even propped on his pillow, is in the White House, and when he turns on the TV, on multiple channels, people are talking about the fact that he's in the White House. I'm sure he feels grounded. Or insane. One or the other.

But that gumbo, I want to talk about the gumbo. I know HabermanTrushBaker are using "gumbo" to mean "stew," but "stew" is well established to mean "A state of excitement, esp. of great alarm or anxiety." The OED has that meaning for "stew" going back to 1806, whereas "gumbo" only means okra, the "soup thickened with the mucilaginous pods of this plant," something mud-related, and "A patois spoken by black people and Creoles in the French West Indies, Louisiana, Bourbon, and Mauritius." Yes, metaphor can take you beyond those meanings, but why express contempt for Trump by using a word associated with black people?
Other times he tweets from the den next door, watching another television. Less frequently, he makes his way up the hall to the ornate Treaty Room, sometimes dressed for the day, sometimes still in night clothes, where he begins his official and unofficial calls.
So the man walks down the hall, possibly in his pajamas. Or what are we talking about here — "night clothes"? "Quite undress'd, with only Night-cloaths on my Head, and a loose Morning Gown wrapt about me." I'm back to reading the OED. That quote is from the 1722 novel "Moll Flanders," by Daniel DeFoe. I'm just going to picture Trump in pajamas and a bathrobe. Maybe they didn't want to say "bathrobe" because there are too many bathrobes in the news lately. (I see a Slate article from last month, "Ban Men's Bathrobes.")

Back to the NYT article:
As he ends his first year in office, Mr. Trump is redefining what it means to be president. He sees the highest office in the land much as he did the night of his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton — as a prize he must fight to protect every waking moment, and Twitter is his Excalibur. Despite all his bluster, he views himself less as a titan dominating the world stage than a maligned outsider engaged in a struggle to be taken seriously, according to interviews with 60 advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress....
But that is the way they portray him in the news —  a maligned outsider engaged in a struggle to be taken seriously. I don't need 60 insiders to explain that to me. It's an accurate picture of the media. Now, you may say, he just shouldn't watch the TV, shouldn't pay attention to media, should let media do its thing and stick to what's conventionally presidential — ignore what's being said about him.
Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals. People close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted, marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back.
Don't fight back. Be above it all. Remember how well that worked for George W. Bush? But that's not Trump. I can see why he uses Twitter. He's a master at Twitter, keeping the media honest (or at least looking as dishonest as it is (or might be)). Maybe you think he shouldn't stoop to things like this:

But I don't believe that sort of thing takes much time, just like I don't believe that having a muted TV running in the background for 8 hours means he's spending 8 hours watching TV.  I read Trump's Twitter feed. Some days there's nothing. Some days there is one thing. Occasionally, he spreads out and drops 4 or 5 tweets. How much time does that really take? It might save time, because instead of feeling irritated and distracted by some stupid news report (e.g., Weigel's "phony photo") and involving somebody else in doing something about it, Trump spends probably one minute typing out a tweet. Efficient, effective. The media would, I'm sure, prefer to filter his message through their own template, replete with naysayers and qualifications. But Trump leaps over the media. He springs. He vaults.

Yes, yes. Excalibur. I haven't talked about Excalibur....
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* "Grab" is an evocative word in anti-Trumpiana, because of "Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything."

"The huntresses’ war cry — 'believe all women' — has felt like a bracing corrective to a historic injustice."

"It has felt like a justifiable response to a system in which the crimes perpetrated against women — so intimate, so humiliating and so unlike any other — are so very difficult to prove. But I also can’t shake the feeling that this mantra creates terrible new problems in addition to solving old ones. In less than two months we’ve moved from uncovering accusations of criminal behavior (Harvey Weinstein) to criminalizing behavior that we previously regarded as presumptuous and boorish (Glenn Thrush). In a climate in which sexual mores are transforming so rapidly, many men are asking: If I were wrongly accused, who would believe me? I know the answer that many women would give — are giving — is: Good. Be scared. We have been scared for forever. It’s your turn for some sleepless nights.... I believe that the 'believe all women' vision of feminism unintentionally fetishizes women. Women are no longer human and flawed. They are Truth personified. They are above reproach. I believe that it’s condescending to think that women and their claims can’t stand up to interrogation and can’t handle skepticism. I believe that facts serve feminists far better than faith. That due process is better than mob rule."

This is an excellent NYT op-ed — "The Limits of 'Believe All Women'" by Bari Weiss, and I'm sorry I didn't catch it when it was first published, on November 28th. Why am I reading it this morning? Because I did a search of the NYT archive for the name "Glenn Thrush." (See it in there: "behavior that we previously regarded as presumptuous and boorish (Glenn Thrush).")

Why was I searching for the name "Glenn Thrush"? Because I remembered that the NYT reacted to the allegations about him by suspending him. (Here's the NYT announcement of that on November 20th.) Yet I see his name on  a big NYT article about Trump that went up last night "INSIDE TRUMP’S HOUR-BY-HOUR BATTLE FOR SELF-PRESERVATION/With Twitter as his Excalibur, the president takes on his doubters, powered by long spells of cable news and a dozen Diet Cokes. But if Mr. Trump has yet to bend the presidency to his will, he is at least wrestling it to a draw."

I am going to blog about that article in the next post, so please don't comment on the details of what's inside that article in this comment thread. Please pay attention to Bari Weiss's excellent op-ed, which is similar to some of what I said in my December 8th post "How the Franken & Franks resignations will, I'm afraid, end up hurting women."

The Weiss line I most wish I'd written is: "I believe that the 'believe all women' vision of feminism unintentionally fetishizes women."

And feel free to talk about how Glenn Thrush got unflushed.

ADDED: Now, I see the note at the bottom of the long article: "Glenn Thrush contributed to this article before he was suspended pending the result of an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior." So, he's still in exile.