July 23, 2016

Robo, the robot hobo.

"It’s part performance art, part social experiment, as people slowly start to realize that Dirk isn’t an actual human. But dressing it up as a homeless person serves as convincing camouflage for the robot, and helps temporarily overcome the uncanny valley that usually gives humanoid robots away."

Post-Roger Ailes, Fox News should redo its overly overly made-up blondes...

... in the style of Ivanka Trump.

It's a simple upgrade and modernization.

The seemingly scurrilous insinuation that Bernie Sanders is an atheist.

People are acting disgusted at this email — leaked by Guccifer 2.0 to WikiLeaks — from DNC's Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall:
"It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist."
Last February, I had a post "'Why Not Question Trump’s Faith?'/Why not question everything everyone asserts about religion?"  — after an NRO writer (Kevin D. Williamson) questioned whether Donald Trump's faith. I said (boldface added):
I'm inclined to think we should judge each candidate in proportion to how much he or she relies on religion. If someone forefronts sanctimony, we should examine whether it's a lie. But if a candidate takes a minimal position — claiming a faith but grounding himself in morality that can exist apart from religion (which is what Trump does) — there's nothing to delve into. If it's a lie, it's an insignificant social lie, like saying you love your wife when your feelings have in fact gone cold.

There are no visible atheists or even agnostics at the presidential level of American politics. Do you want to start outing them? Maybe Bernie Sanders. He might be an atheist. What do you think? Want to try to smoke him out? He said:
“I am not actively involved with organized religion... I think everyone believes in God in their own ways... To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”
To my ear, that sounds like an effort to say: Even atheists believe in God... in our own way. A mystical attitude toward all of humanity counts as belief in God.
Last March, I had a post — "How would you recognize an atheist if one appeared in American presidential politics?" — that looked at something Sanders said in a debate. Anderson Cooper prompted him to talk about religion, asking him whether he keeps his "Judaism in the background." Sanders said "No. I am very proud to be Jewish, and being Jewish is so much of what I am." But he proceeded to talk about his Jewishness in terms of history and culture — not religious belief. I was struck by the "absence of forthright atheism":
How would you recognize an atheist if one appeared in American presidential politics? He probably would speak of his family and ethnic background, showing respect and making a connection to a religious tradition, and he would present himself as a moral person with the same kind of values embraced by Americans who find those values in religion. He's not going to say "Look, I'm an atheist. There is no God. I believe in science. And as President, I will consult science, not this 'God' my opponent keeps talking about."
ADDED: Maybe Brad Marshall read the Althouse blog: "I think I read he is an atheist." Written in May 2016, after my posts.

AND: "can we get someone to ask"... Anderson Cooper asked. Correlation, not necessarily causation.

The pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 conducted a simulated flight that followed the presumed flight path of the lost plane.

The 2 flight paths, plunging southward:

"New York has obtained a confidential document from the Malaysian police investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that shows that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, conducted a simulated flight deep into the remote southern Indian Ocean less than a month before the plane vanished under uncannily similar circumstances."

"Our poor monkey brains just can't deal with complex combinations of certain logical operators, especially with respect to the logic of contemporary American politics."

Language Log indulges in more analysis than David Frum and The Atlantic deserve for publishing the ludicrous sentence "Many wavering Republicans will come home — even if the home to which they now return has changed in ways that render it almost indistinguishable from the dwelling it used to be."

"I look at Roger, it’s like 'Mad Men.' This guy came of age in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s when it was a whole different culture."

"I don’t think he was thinking that [what he was saying] was really all that bad."

Said an unnamed former Fox News executive, quoted in a WaPo article titled "The fall of Roger Ailes: He made Fox his ‘locker room’ — and now women are telling their stories."
Ailes... succeeded in obliterating his main rival, CNN, in the ratings and making huge profits. He also pushed for a very specific look: blond and leggy. Television had long been the realm of perfectly coiffed commentators and anchors, but under Ailes, Fox seemed to be taking the ethos to another level.

“Generally, women accept that at Fox you are expected to wear skirts [and] dresses and that the makeup people are going to slather it on and make you look like a bimbo,” said a former frequent guest commentator. One time, the former commentator said, higher-ups at the network reprimanded makeup artists for putting her on-air without false eyelashes, even though she hated wearing them.

A late-night anchor boasted about the “leg chair” on his set, where the audience could get a full view of the on-air talent’s legs.

“From the very beginning, Roger wanted attractive women, translucent desks,” a prominent early staffer said in an interview. The message from Ailes was unmistakable, the former staffer said: “I want to see her legs. I want the viewers to see their legs. I want people to watch Fox News even if the sound is turned down.”
What happens to Fox News now that its trademark style has become connected, in the minds of viewers, with the sexual exploitation of women in the grossest form (the executive punishing or rewarding employees based on their response to his demands for sexual access)? Do those overly made-up blondes seem different and creepy now that you know the allegations against Ailes? Or was what was on screen always overtly sexual, following a longstanding sex-sells formula that everyone already knew about that stands separate and distinct from any behind-the-scenes sexual transactions?

Does Fox News look different to you now?
pollcode.com free polls

"You don’t accept an invite to a woman’s wedding and then give a toast to the groom’s ex-girlfriend."

One of the top-rated comments from the past week at the NYT:
Cruz just ended his political career. And I say that as someone who supported Cruz in the primaries.

There is a time and a place for everything. You don’t accept an invite to a woman’s wedding and then give a toast to the groom’s ex-girlfriend. It is bad enough that he has gone back on his promise to support whoever won the GOP nomination. ... What he did tonight was beyond rude — and then standing there at the podium with a smirk on his face.

Until tonight I thought the rest of the Senate hated him because he would not play ball. While that still might be partly true, tonight I discovered another reason: he is a jerk. I will never support him again.
Well, that's a great bad analogy. A good chunk of the assembled group were delegates pledged to Cruz, not supporters of Trump. And a convention is not necessarily a celebration focused on one couple. Even the couple's kiss was not a thinking-alike sort of thing ....

It's not that hot —  not when you consider the circle of hotness.

More videos of the same brilliantly stupid lady here. As the top-rated comment at YouTube says: "Her an Carl Pilkington should meet."

I love that I already have the tag "hotness."

ADDED: Some people seem to think the woman is actually an idiot. Others recognize what is a Ricky-Gervais-and-Karl-Pilkington routine, with the "smart" one laughing, while the "idiot" continues with his delightfully absurd theory. Having a woman as the delightful idiot makes me want to categorize it as George Burns and Gracie Allen.

July 22, 2016

I don't know if I really need to put up a post for this, because it's very boring...

... but Hillary picked Kaine.

ADDED: Don't get me wrong. I like boring. I'd like a presidential race between Pence and Kaine. I don't want my excitement from government.

At the Red-Orange Café...


... talk about anything you want.

"Feel the Johnson."

Just a little something I found searching the phrase "Feel the Johnson," which I thought was pretty funny. The song doesn't play on the sexual meaning in the phrase, however. It's completely marijuana-focused.

"People seem to love [Trump’s family] in the same way the public loved the Kennedys."

Writes Scott Adams....
And notice how Donald Jr. and Eric both have the speaking cadence of John and Jack Kennedy. 
John and Jack, eh? I love Scott Adams... but he's not infallible. Here at Meadhouse, we were saying Donald Jr. is Bobby Kennedy. That's who he sounded like, and it's distinctive in a way that counting John twice doesn't equal.
Notice also how Melania reminds you of Jackie Kennedy – quiet, smart, and classy. These are coincidences, but your irrational brain doesn’t care. It sees a new batch of Kennedys and wants to see more of them. That’s powerful election magic for a nation that only pretends to care about policies.

A week ago you compared ugly Donald Trump with ugly Hillary Clinton and declared them a visual tie. That matters because our visual “brain” generally wins against whatever part of the brain is pretending to be logical that day. 
Ha ha. Perfect. All is forgiven. Whatever part of the brain is pretending to be logical that day. Love it.
[O]nce we got a look at the entire Trump family, acting as a group, our visual brains started seeing them as a package deal. And when you compare the entire Trump family’s visual appeal to the entire Clinton family’s visual imagery it’s a massacre.

Would you prefer seeing Bill and Hillary Clinton decompose in front of your eyes for eight years, or watch the Trump family develop their dynasty?

Here comes the daughter.

"Ivanka Trump glided onstage to the Beatles’ 'Here Comes the Sun.' It was apt. She was sun-kissed, her blond hair perfectly sleek, blowing photogenically, no doubt from a fan in the podium. The fashion entrepreneur’s blush-pink sheath and stilettos looked Fifth Avenue chic." So begins Maureen Dowd's column, "Ivanka the Fabulous Fabulist."

My post title is Meade's bon mot from last night.

Dowd uses the same word to describe Ivanka that seemed like the right word to meglossy. But Dowd extends the word into an insult: "She was glossy... She glossed over all of her father’s ugly rhetoric and incitements..."

Something Ivanka did that I wish Donald (and many other speakers) would have done.

When she got a crowd reaction, she paused only briefly, then continued to talk right over the noise. Of course, the microphone works to make every word come through, and the speech rolls on fluently. I wish everyone who speaks at these conventions would watch the video of her speaking and learn.

Great speech. Almost too great, since Trump had to follow her and his appearance and tone are far less glossily perfect. Trump said "I am your voice," but it seemed that Ivanka was stepping forward to be the voice for women. We'll see how the campaign goes forward with her, perhaps, doing the job of making him not merely acceptable to women, but distinctly preferable to Hillary. The factual material is there to be used for this sales job, and I can't imagine anyone more able to run with it than Ivanka.

A 70-year-old man spoke for almost 80 minutes after 10 p.m.

Trump had a long speech in the Teleprompter and he lengthened it with many impromptu additions along the way, even as the time approached midnight. Here's one of the last paragraphs, with the unscripted material in boldface:
Remember: All of the people telling you that you can’t have the country you want, are the same people that wouldn't stand -- I mean, they said Trump doesn't have a chance of being here tonight. Not a chance! The same people. Oh, we love defeating those people, don't we? Love it, love it, love it. No longer can we rely on those same people in politics and in the media, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place. Instead, we must choose to Believe In America.
The man has energy. He didn't need to make that speech so long, and he certainly didn't need to deviate from the script, continually making it longer.

July 21, 2016

The last night of the convention.

What are you looking for?

Watch with me. Comment!

Politico has what's purported to be Trump's speech, here. But I'm not interested in reading it in advance. It's all in the delivery, no?

UPDATE: Why is the speech so long? To displace the commentators?

AND: You know who gave a famously long speech? Bill Clinton.

"To me, America First is a brand-new modern term. I never related it to the past."/"So it’s not what Lindbergh had in mind?"

From the transcript of Trump talking to the NYT.
TRUMP: It’s just, no. In fact when I said America First, people said, “Oh, wait a minute, isn’t that a historical term?” And when they told me, I said: “Look, it’s America First. This is not ——”

SANGER: You were familiar with the history of the phrase.

TRUMP: I was familiar, but it wasn’t used for that reason. It was used as a brand-new, very modern term.

HABERMAN: What does it mean to you?

TRUMP: Meaning we are going to take care of this country first before we worry about everybody else in the world.
Much more at the link.  Here's some background on the Charles Lindbergh use of the phrase "America First," including the famous Des Moines speech of September 11, 1941, which I'm reading in full for the first time. Excerpt:

At the Twisted Café...


... you can talk about anything.

Sinkless sinks.

Via Reddit.

"Brazilian police have arrested 10 people suspected of planning terrorist acts during the Olympics...."

"The group was inspired by ISIS and only had contact with the group via the Internet..."
Earlier this week, a jihadi channel on the messaging app Telegram called for attacks against the Games and detailed targets and methods, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

SITE said a message was posted to "Inspire the Believers!" saying, "Lone wolf from anywhere in the world can move to Brazil now."