June 27, 2017

"Mrs. Palin brings this action to hold The Times accountable for defaming her by publishing a statement about her that it knew to be false..."

"... that Mrs. Palin was responsible for inciting a mass shooting at a political event in January 2011."
“Specifically, on June 14, 2017, The Times Editorial Board, which represents the ‘voice’ of The Times, falsely stated as a matter of fact to millions of people that Mrs. Palin incited Jared Loughner’s January 8, 2011, shooting rampage at a political event in Tucson, Arizona, during which he shot nineteen people, severely wounding United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and killing six, including Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old girl.”
ADDED: I've removed my "lawsuits I hope will succeed tag." For reasons discussed in the comments, I think she should and will lose this case. What influenced me was a close look at exactly what the NYT wrote.

AND: Here's The Washington Post piece about the lawsuit. Note the aspect of the Times statement that it focuses on as defamatory:
“Before the shooting,” [the NYT editorial] read, “Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral district that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”

The description was inaccurate. The map had put cross hairs over targeted electoral districts but not Democratic politicians. Following a wave of backlash on social media, the Times issued an apology and corrected the editorial, saying no connection between political incitement and the Arizona shooting was ever established.
That is, it's true that there was a map that used the symbolism of cross hairs, but only the geographic areas were "under" the cross hairs and the NYT falsely stated that human beings (including Giffords) were "under stylized cross hairs." That creates a mental image of a map with the faces of 20 people with cross hairs on them.

(By the way, WaPo has "a map of targeted electoral district," making the image of 20 targets hard to picture. There should be an "s" on "district.")

"CNN in hell" (See ya in hell).

Drudge links to "CNN’s Russia story debacle came at the worst possible time for the network" (WaPo).
Among its other high-profile debacles over the past month, CNN fired comedian Kathy Griffin, who co-hosted its New Year’s Eve program, after she took part in a photo shoot in which she posed with a bloody facsimile of Trump’s severed head. It corrected a story that wrongly predicted what former FBI director James B. Comey would say about Trump in his congressional testimony. And it subsequently canceled a new series, “Believer,” and fired host Reza Aslan after he described Trump in vulgar terms on Twitter....
ADDED: "The specter of a $100 million libel suit scared CNN into retracting a poorly reported story that slimed an ally of President Trump’s — and forcing out the staffers responsible for it, The Post has learned...."
Meanwhile, a CNN insider said staffers are furious at “having lost the moral high ground because of this story.” Sources said Zucker tried to rally his staff during a Tuesday morning conference call.

Your daily Mendota.


It's a 4-day streak now. Different every day. Not that different. But I'm keeping an eye on it for you.

MEANWHILE: Meade was mountain biking and texted me this:


Fake news about fake news.

Rush Limbaugh, today:
Three CNN members of the new investigative unit have resigned, i.e., been fired. One of them is a guy named Thomas Frank...  the name might ring a bell. This guy wrote a book way back when called What’s the Matter With Kansas or What’s Wrong With Kansas? He is an active, uber-leftist. He despises conservatism, and his book about What’s the Matter with Kansas, What’s Wrong With Kansas, was his befuddlement over how middle class Americans in Kansas would vote Republican and thereby vote against their own self-interest....
That caught my attention. What?! Thomas Frank — What's the Matter With Kansas Thomas Frank — was one of the 3 guys fired for the fake news on CNN?! That didn't seem right.

Later in the show, Rush was all...
You know, I was afraid of this. I know that there are two Thomas Franks, and I asked somebody to find out for me today, I was in a time crunch, and I said, “Find out for me if the Thomas Frank at CNN is the same Thomas Frank who wrote the book on Kansas,” and they came back, “Yes, same guy.” But I know there’s a second one out there. So now Snerdley is getting Drive-By calls saying it’s a different Thomas Frank. The author who wrote the book on Kansas is not the Thomas Frank who was on the CNN investigative unit and got blown out, fired, canned, resigned, what have you. So my bad. I thought I had nailed that down. There are two of ’em. One of them may be Franks, the last name may be Franks, Thomas Franks and Thomas A. Frank, I’m not sure which, but I know there are two of them. And I thought they were the same.
Well, how exactly are you better than CNN if you run with something without checking it out competently? I don't see how "I was in a time crunch" is an acceptable excuse.

By the way, Thomas Frank's newest book — "Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" — is excellent.

And as long as I'm talking about the 3 fired CNN guys, let me show you the ludicrous final paragraph of the Washington Post column by Eric Wemple, "Three CNN employees resign over retracted story on Russia ties":
Critics will long cite this episode as evidence that CNN is precisely what Trump has called it — “fake news.” Yet the departure of three journalists immediately following a mangled story provides a counterpoint to this particular slander. Purveyors of fake news, after all, don’t take drastic personnel moves following a bogus story. They rejoice in it.
They got caught! Publicly. They had to put on a show that they don't tolerate fake news. That's exactly what a purveyor of fake news would do.

"Nobody asked me to do this and it would not be the same thing I do if they had asked me."

"One is sometimes asked 'by what right' one presumes to offer judgement. Quo warranto? is a very old and very justified question. But the right and warrant of an individual critic does not need to be demonstrated in the same way as that of a holder of power. It is in most ways its own justification. That is why so many irritating dissidents have been described by their enemies as 'self-appointed.' (Once again, you see, the surreptitious suggestion of elitism and arrogance.) 'Self-appointed' suits me fine. Nobody asked me to do this and it would not be the same thing I do if they had asked me. I can’t be fired any more than I can be promoted. I am happy in the ranks of the the self-employed. If I am stupid or on poor form, nobody suffers but me. To the question, Who do you think you are? I can return the calm response: Who wants to know?"

From "Letters to a Young Contrarian" by Christopher Hitchens.

Samurai armor.

From the exhibit at the Chazen Museum:



You can talk about whatever you want in the comments. I'm ending the morning session of blogging before the sharpness, humor, and insight fade.

(May I just add a reminder that you can support this blog by shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal?)

"Keeping his own gray suit immaculate and his tone emotionless, O'Brien calls intermittently on a team of hazmat-suited torturers, issuing such concise instructions as 'Fingertips' or 'Teeth.'"

"Bursts of strobing light and jackhammer sound effects follow those orders, but even though we see the bloody aftermath and not the acts, the carnage is not for the faint of heart. Even worse is the ghastly anticipation fed by O'Brien's one vivid description of the ultimate torture, which plays on Winston's pathological fear of rats to make him surrender all sense of self.... There's no doubt that this imaginative production conveys the claustrophobic terror of a totalitarian state. But, especially right now, when many of us read the news each morning with a sick feeling of dread, who wants to go there?"

From a review of a New York play based on Orwell's "1984."

From "Why Broadway's '1984' Audiences Are Fainting, Vomiting and Getting Arrested":
The cast knew how the shocking scenes would be presented, but “it wasn’t until we got in front of an audience, when I saw and heard people responding, that I was suddenly aware of how powerful it was,” said Reed Birney, who has previously yelled back at a ticketholder who pleaded for his character to stop the torture. Meanwhile, Tom Sturridge, whose character bleeds heavily while being electrocuted, told THR that he makes a point of staring into the eyes of individual audience members, calling them “complicit” as they watch him suffer onstage.
That seems to be inciting audience members to come up on stage and save the character. I'm thinking of that protest at the "Julius Caesar" performance recently where a woman went up on the stage and denounced the performance. Here, the actors are breaking the 4th wall and begging the people in the audience for help. 

The travails of a puppeteer.

"The White Man Who Was Inside the Black/Rasta/Mammy Puppet at the Fremont Parade Says He Is Not a Racist."
I am the anonymous puppeteer who had the large black puppet in the Solstice Parade, and got such a public drubbing for being racist.... I fully intended for my puppet to portray in the most positive and upful way the contribution of people of color to the celebratory spirit of humanity.

One lady (white) came up at parade beginning and said that because I was white my puppet was racist—I was hurt surprised and shocked. I thought she was maybe a little nuts (from that Trump guy being president, all the shootings of black people, and the general rise of open racism recently). I told her I did not share her perspective on my puppet but she was having none of it....

Behind me a bare assed Trump statue was flipping everyone off—was this why people thought I also was disrespecting them? I never felt so misunderstood in my life....

What's the most disgusting thing about this Looper video, "Actors Who Were Drunk During Filming"?

I'll give you my answer later.

ADDED: The commenter Virgil Hilts essentially got it, in this comment that went up 9 minutes after the post (and it took 6 minutes to watch the video):
Thinking like Ann -- wow, the only examples they could come up with for actresses related to shooting sex scenes.

Thinking like most men -- wow, why didn't they show the actual sex scenes from the movies involving the drunk actresses.
Yes, all — I think all — of the actresses had used alcohol to get through sex scenes. There was variety to the stories of the male actors, and I don't think any of it had to do with sex (or even with overcoming inhibition caused by the ordeal the script imposed on them (unless you count Omar Sharif's fear of falling off a camel)).

Meade says that morning posts and morning comments are the best — sharp, humorous, insightful.

Later in the day, the quality declines, and at night... look out.

Is Meade right?
pollcode.com free polls

Project Veritas captures a CNN exec agreeing that the Russia narrative is "bullshit" and volunteering that it's all about ratings.

As the Project Veritas website puts it: "CNN is actively plotting a fake news campaign, aimed squarely at Trump--and Project Veritas just caught them red-handed."

"This 3,000-Year-Old Wooden Toe Shows Early Artistry of Prosthetics."

"Crafted from leather and wood, the ancient Egyptian prosthesis was was adjusted to precisely fit its wearer’s foot."

"Between new shops, expansions, and menu upgrades, 2017 is set to be the breakout year for edible cookie dough."

"Dō — based in New York City, where there is a line for everything — certainly garnered a lot of publicity during its January opening, but it wasn’t the only doughy debut of the year. In February, Tart Sweets bakery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, started selling its dough in 'doughwiches' and by the scoop through its cookie dough bar.... Earlier this year, Yoyo Berri frozen yogurt shops in Nebraska and South Dakota started offering raw cookie dough to liven up yesterday’s snack craze...."

Eater reports, giving the answer to my main question and using that word I've told you not to use.

My main question about eating cookie dough is: What about the problem of raw eggs and salmonella? The answer is they use "pasteurization and heat treatment" — i.e., the eggs are not raw. So if you like your cooked eggs with lots of sugar and flour mixed in, you're ready to enjoy this trendy dessert.

The word I told you not to use is, of course, "garner."

Urban Dictionary Word of the Day: Broflake.

"Straight white male offended by any feminist or ethnic activity which is not directly designed for him."

"Zillow is threatening to sue me if I don’t delete most of the posts on this blog."

Says McMansion Hell (a very funny and useful blog).

ADDED: The blogger is not deleting the blog. Start here and scroll to see the posts. I'm pretty sure I've linked to it before. If you like mockery of bad architecture and interior decoration, it's great.

ALSO: The post about the litigation threat went up on the same day that The Washington Post published an article — "The ultimate symbol of the pre-recession boom is back" — that talked about McMansion Hell and featured the blogger (Kate Wagner) in a very charming video:

Ah, yes. There's an update on the WaPo article:
Update: On Monday evening, after this story was published, Wagner received a letter from house hunting website Zillow that accused her of violating the site's terms by using its images. The "cease and desist" letter demanded she take all images down.
So it's a terms of use violation (not a copyright claim). Terrible. Zillow should be ashamed of itself. What crap PR for Zillow. It just pointlessly and stupidly makes people hate Zillow.

Reason.com presents LSD Microdosing as "The New Silicon Valley Productivity Hack."

That's mostly an interview with George Burke, who takes a tenth of a "typical dose" of LSD every day.
"I notice that my brain seems to be able to solve problems a little bit better than...before," says Burke, who runs a startup called Fuel that helps its clients custom tailor their diets to their unique genetic makeups.
I notice that his noticing is under the influence of LSD and that he's subtly acknowledging that by saying "my brain seems...." Why should we believe his perception? I'd like to see some scientific studies of how LSD affects problem solving ability.

Also, Burke talks about taking medication for ADHD and LSD working as a substitute for that drug. So he's struggling with something that is or has been diagnosed as a mental disorder. He's not beginning at normal/"normal" and edging away from that, but at disordered and attempting to replace whatever drug someone in the medical profession prescribed.

So the video isn't very convincing except as an appeal to freedom: We should be allowed to experiment with our own brains. We feel strongly entitled to affect our mind through reading, talking, and thinking about ideas, whether these ideas are at all likely to be useful or true and even if the ideas are shown to be plainly false and actively dangerous. If you can read, say, "Daily Inspirations for Creating a Life of Passion and Purpose," why can't you take a daily microdose of LSD? Whatever the actual value of either of these things to the human mind — even if it's nothing or less — it's a matter of freedom of thought, and it belongs in the realm of the individual.

June 26, 2017

Obama "didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good."

4 Trump tweets from a few hours ago:

1. "The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win.."

2. "...and did not want to 'rock the boat.' He didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good."

3. "The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia..."

4. "..under a magnifying glass, they have zero 'tapes' of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!"

Police seem to confirm what most viewers of the viral video were saying.

That girl was to blame for falling out of the Sky Ride gondola.

Of course, it was decent and good for people to gather underneath and risk injury to catch her, even if she was to blame for getting herself into that dangling-from-a-gondola predicament.

Here was a memorable comment that appeared on the WaPo article that appeared yesterday (before the police blamed the girl):
As a past ride operator at an amusement park I am going to chime in here. The way she was situated at the beginning of the video suggests to me she somehow got herself into that predicament. I'm not saying definitively this is true. But, I've seen people do pretty risky things on rides. One trick is to lift your knees as the staff is checking the bars are secure. This allows the bar to not be as tight as it should be. I've caught hundreds of people doing that in my years as a ride operator. Another thing people do is try to rock carriages to scare each other. I don't know if it is possible on that ride. In terms on the knee bar lift, it is the responsibility of the ride staff to catch people doing it. It is also the responsibility of the staff to not let people ride who are super anxious. Who knows if she was or not. At the end of the day, I'm sooo happy she is ok! How amazing the people who caught her!....

"CNN is imposing strict new publishing restrictions for online articles involving Russia after the network deleted a story and then issued a retraction late Friday..."

Buzzfeed reports, citing "an internal email," from Rich Barbieri (CNNMoney's executive editor), which read:saying "No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason." (Jason Farkas is a CNN vice president).

Buzzfeed also quotes an anonymous source saying the deleted story was a "massive, massive fuck up and people will be disciplined."

Meade texts me a photo of the backyard, and I squint at the image. Did a huge branch of the oak tree just fall down?


Home, I hurry through to the deck that overlooks the yard from the second floor, and nothing seems to have changed. Meade is casually raking the semi-circular lawn. What was I seeing in that photograph? That's the view from the roof — which is 3 floors above the ground. I'd been out walking the shores of Lake Mendota one more time...


He knows I don't like to think of him up on the roof, and I guess he took advantage of my absence to climb out there and clear the gutters.

Here's a view — from last February — of how that branch looks from the second floor — that is, how I see it for many hours every day — to give you an idea of how weird that texted photograph looked to me: