December 13th, 2017

Alabama special election: Look for the silver lining…

…in the Moore loss, and there are several possibilities:

(1) On this blog I have defended Moore from the sexual allegations because of a principle I hold to—and apply to members of both parties—which is that unsubstantiated allegations are always to be taken with a grain of salt. But Moore himself was someone I have considered to be one of the weakest candidate ever to have run for the Senate, and as soon as he was nominated I felt (and/or feared) that that seat was potentially at risk even before a single sexual allegation against Moore had surfaced. Moore is a loose cannon with a strong propensity for saying outrageous and difficult-to-defend things (while completely lacking in Trump’s smarts and cunning). If elected, he would have been continually offending nearly everyone in sight. Therefore the GOP would have been constantly needing to defend him, and constantly being put in the position of standing by their man when their man was very problematic indeed. In other words, Moore was the perfect person for the Democrats to have in the Senate to kick around. Now they’ve lost that golden opportunity. And since even the solid-red GOP voters of Alabama have rejected him, it will be hard for the Democrats to call them amoral (immoral?) troglodytes any more.

(2) Many people are saying that now Democrats will find women with sexual allegations against every single GOP candidate and trot them out with perfect timing, prior to elections. I have little doubt that this is true (and it was already being done to a certain extent, i.e. Herman Cain and Trump). The Democrats’ “sacrifice” of Franken and Conyers was part of the preparation for doing just that, after years of cozying up to alleged or in some cases proven sexual predators such as Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Jerry Studds. However, it occurs to me that—just as with the Salem with trials—this pattern may not be able to go on forever before a significant number of voters start to think it’s excessive and begin to get suspicious. So there might be a backlash. I don’t know if that will happen, but I think the Democrats could overplay their hand on this one. Flushed with the triumph of the victory over Moore in Alabama, they would do well to remember that Moore was probably one of the very weakest and most vulnerable to such an approach, considering that he apparently did date teenagers when he was in his thirties. Moore may have been guilty of coming on sexually to a 14-year old and/or sexually assaulting a 16-year-old (and we still have no idea whether he is innocent or guilty of either charge), but we do know that he’s either guilty of those charges or he was perfectly positioned to be the target of false charges. To much of the electorate, both things (guilty, or “credibly” guilty) are nearly the same thing with the same effect. But fortunately, not everyone in the GOP is vulnerable to the degree Moore was.

(3) I’m not so sure that the loss of one vote in the Senate means so very much right now, although the conventional wisdom is that it does and I tend to agree. But the GOP in the Senate was going to have to unite more if they wanted to get much legislation passed, whether they had that seat or not. A loss of a vote is important, but the need for unity doesn’t change.

(4) I wish GOP voters would be smarter about who they choose in primaries to be their candidates. It’s not enough that a candidate be a rebel against the GOPe, or markedly conservative. He (or she) has to have some sort of more universal appeal and come across as worthy of national office.

(5) Steve Bannon’s stock has fallen. And maybe, just maybe, he’s learned something, although I wouldn’t bet on it.

December 12th, 2017

The Strzok/Page texts make it clear that these two people were fully capable of an objective assessment of all things Trump and Clinton

Not. Not. NOT.

I’m not sure what I expected—I expected something pretty bad, because otherwise the two would not have been removed, and it would not have been kept so hush-hush.

But it’s still quite something to read what Strzok and Page were brazenly texting each other while at their respective jobs, without any sense that their texts would ever be read. And this guy is a counter-intelligence officer? I have to say that if I ever was going to write messages so incriminating, I’d make sure they were in a medium that could never, never ever, be seen by anyone else. Maybe I’d send them by carrier pigeon, and then I’d flush the papers down the toilet.

A sampler:

On Aug. 6, Page texted Strzok a New York Times article about Muslim lawyer Khzir Khan, who became embroiled in a war of words with Trump after Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

“Jesus. You should read this. And Trump should go f himself,” Page wrote in a message attached to the article.

“God that’s a great article,” Strzok answered. “Thanks for sharing. And F TRUMP.”

I always say F*** whoever it is I’m being objective and fair about. Don’t you?

More:

And then we have this announcement:

The co-founder of Trump dossier firm Fusion GPS confirmed in court filings on Tuesday that he met last year with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and hired Ohr’s wife to help with the opposition research firm’s investigation of Donald Trump.

Glenn Simpson said in a declaration filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. that he met “at [Ohr’s] request” weeks after the presidential election. Simpson stated that Ohr, who recently held the position of deputy assistant attorney general, sought the meeting “to discuss our findings regarding Russia and the election.”…

In addition to his meeting with Simpson, Bruce Ohr also met last year with dossier author Christopher Steele. Fox News reported last week that Ohr’s meetings with Steele occurred before the election.

Ohr still works at the Justice Department, but he was stripped of one of his positions last Wednesday after Fox News inquired about his meetings with Simpson and Steele. He remains as director of Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Nellie Ohr’s work for Fusion GPS — which Simpson referred to as “confidential” — was revealed Monday night. Fox News reported that she worked for the oppo firm during the presidential campaign. It was unclear until Simpson’s disclosure whether she worked directly on Trump-related matters.

Will anything actually come of these revelations? Nothing came of the exposure of the politicization and weaponizing of the IRS, did it?

Hate to be cynical, but I’m feeling that way at the moment. I think a lot of people are getting away, if not with murder in the literal sense, then with using the mechanism of government to conspiratorially subvert the republic. And funny thing, they seem to think they are being noble in protecting us from Donald Trump, whom they see as the real tyrant.

December 12th, 2017

Open thread for results of Alabama special election

I’m reading that Moore is toast, and then that maybe he’s not. I haven’t a clue which it is.

I do know that the minute I heard Moore had won the GOP primary in Alabama I felt a sinking feeling, because he was a problematic candidate even before the sexual allegations came out.

We’ll…….see. I have no idea what will happen. It all has to do with the different areas of Alabama that are reporting, so although Moore is ahead at the moment the idea is that he’s not ahead by as much as he might need to be at this point to win once results from the more heavily Democratic areas come in.

UPDATE 10:30: Just about all the networks are calling it for Jones.

If that holds up (and I assume it will), then a combination of Moore’s inherent weakness as a candidate and recent allegations of sexual abuse caused a red state to turn blue—at least, for now. This seat will be in Democratic hands until 2020, and the GOP majority in the Senate was already very small. This makes it razor thin.

UPDATE 12:30 AM: And for now, Trump takes the high road. He never was a Moore enthusiast, to be sure:

December 12th, 2017

Moore: the plan seems to be…

to kick Moore out of the Senate if he manages to win.

That’s why Franken was sacrificed—a fake “sacrifice” for the party since the Democratic governor of Minnesota will be appointing a Democrat in his place.

It will be very interesting if they try to kick out an elected senator who was elected when the people already knew of his alleged wrongdoing, and there is no trial pending and certainly no conviction of any level of crime. I believe that if this happens, then all people (especially men) in public life will become fair game for accusations, and that the process will definitely include some false accusations orchestrated for political and/or other reasons. It’s already that way, of course, but it will become more extreme.

At the time of the witch trials, Increase Mather said that it was better that ten witches go free than that one innocent man be condemned. Flip that around and you have today’s climate. The problem is that sexual abuse does exist, and some people are guilty of it, but with the he-said/she-said nature of the accusations it is fiendishly (I use the word purposely) difficult to tell truth from fiction.

December 12th, 2017

Trump’s cunning

I noticed the word “cunning” in the headline of a piece by Spengler entitled “Trump’s Courage and Cunning Confound His Opponents.”

He goes on to say:

I can think of no politician with his combination of courage and cunning since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to whom I compared the then president-elect in a December 2016 essay for Standpoint.

Well, I haven’t yet read that essay for Standpoint. And I don’t see an FDR figure in Trump. But I do think he has courage, and I especially think that “cunning” is a good—if ambiguous—word for a quality in Trump I’ve tried to describe before.

This past Saturday, for example, I wrote:

I’ve never been keen on these “the president is an idiot!!” stories, even when I was a Democrat and they were about Republican presidents or candidates whom I disliked. Reagan seemed smart enough to me, rather than an “amiable dunce,” although I never voted for him. So did Bush in 2000 (didn’t vote for him then; voted for him in 2004)…

Trump is more unusual, to say the least. But I’ve never seen any indication he isn’t plenty smart, although not in a conventional “academic” way—at least, he certainly doesn’t express himself that way. Whether his popular touch is an affectation or the way he just is (I think more the latter than the former), it’s worked awfully well for him so far.

When I look up the word “cunning” I get a variety of definitions, some of them indicating a positive quality and some indicating a mostly negative one, so “cunning” is a great word for Trump-haters and Trump-likers and Trump-in-betweeners. Here is a typical one of the more pejorative sort:

skill employed in a shrewd or sly manner, as in deceiving; craftiness; guile

And here’s one of the more complimentary ones:

1 : very good or very clever at using special knowledge or skills or at getting something done
2 : showing keen understanding

Trump’s cunning also shows in his almost uncanny ability to get his opponents to trip over their own feet, particularly the MSM.

December 11th, 2017

I think it’s pretty clear…

…that no one has a clue who will win the Alabama special election tomorrow. Polls have become rather useless, and in this case they’re contradictory anyway.

By the way, do you recall why Alabama has to choose a new senator? Because Jeff Sessions became Trump’s AG. A lot of people on the right have been very displeased with Sessions’ performance in that capacity, and if Moore ends up losing tomorrow my guess is that we’ll hear a lot more criticism of Sessions.

[ADDENDUM: More—much more—here.]

December 11th, 2017

I used a used toothpick

I was recently in New York and went to an upscale grocery store of the kind that has lots of samples of food in little displays, with containers of toothpicks nearby for the customer to use to spear the delicacies.

Olives, pickled vegetables, crackers, and infinitesimal cubes of cheese that are so tiny it takes some skill to hook one. But I was determined. I took a toothpick from a plastic container, stabbed a cheese tidbit or two, ate them (they were pretty good, and I was hungry), and then looked for a place to throw out the used toothpick.

It was only then that I noticed a second plastic container just like the first one, only the toothpicks in the second were placed in a slightly more orderly and less haphazard fashion than in the first. Oh-oh! I had apparently taken a toothpick from the “used” bin (nearly indistinguishable from the “unused” bin), and re-used it.

Can I sue?

December 11th, 2017

The killing of Daniel Shaver

The killing of Daniel Shaver by a police officer didn’t get much national coverage when it first happened two years ago in Arizona, or even during the trial of the officer. But post-trial, a video of the killing has been released, and it is so shocking that now the case has become national news.

At Red State, Patterico has come up with a theory that defends the police officer, but I don’t think it’s an especially convincing one. I have not watched the video because I have a tremendous reluctance to watch videos of any human being being killed. But I’ve read many descriptions, and it’s evident that the heart of the problem was the incredibly contradictory and nearly crazy instructions given to Shaver (who was drunk at the time), instructions that literally could not be followed:

Brailsford was called to a hotel in Mesa back in January of 2016 on reports that someone had been pointing a rifle out of a window. Daniel Shaver, very drunk at the time, had apparently been messing around with a few pellet guns that he used in his pest control job. Exceedingly stupid behavior on his part, but not deserving of the death penalty. Still, Brailsford and the other responding officers could not have known that they were pellet guns, so it’s understandable that they were on edge.

But this is where it gets not-so-understandable. Shaver emerges stumbling out of his hotel room. He’s told to get on the ground, and he immediately complies. Shaver attempts to follow every instruction shouted at him, but he has difficulty because the instructions make no sense. Here’s a verbatim transcript of everything Brailsford told Shaver to do, as he pointed his rifle at him and threatened repeatedly to kill him: “lie on the ground,” “put both hands on top of your head and interlace your fingers,” “take your feet and cross your left foot over your right foot,” “keep your feet crossed,” “put both hands flat in front of you” (while they’re on his head and interlaced?), “push yourself to a kneeling position” (have you ever tried to push yourself up while your arms are extended all the way in front of you?), “put both hands in the air,” “crawl towards me” (with his hands in the air?), “stop,” “crawl,” “keep your legs crossed” (while crawling?), “put your hands in the air,” “keep your legs crossed,” “crawl” (so he’s supposed to crawl again with his hands in the air and his legs crossed). In the midst of this flurry of hysterical, arbitrary commands, as Brailsford continually reminds Shaver that he’ll die if he “makes a mistake,” Shaver cries and begs for his life.

Then comes the fatal moment. As Shaver crawls, awkwardly and wobbly, trying to keep up with this deadly game of Simon Says, his pants begin to fall down. He reaches to pull them up and Brailsford immediately sprays him with bullets. Shaver followed his ridiculous instructions for five minutes and still wound up dead.

Of course, Brailsford’s defense was that Shavers [sic] reached for his waistband. Fine. But what was he worried about? That Shaver would pull a rifle from his basketball shorts? And even if he did have a gun, how was he going to pull it out and get off a shot from the crawling position?

However, the person giving those crazy impossible-to-follow orders was not the guy who killed Shaver. The guy talking was Sgt. Charles Langley, who retired from the police department a few months after the shooting. Both Langley (the officer talking) and Brailsford, the officer shooting, say they feared Shaver was reaching for a gun, but the shooter Brailsford hadn’t issued the ridiculous orders. I believe that it was actually Langley who caused Shaver’s death, but what could he be charged with, since he didn’t do the shooting? Negligent speech? I don’t think there is any crime that meets that description; he wasn’t yelling “fire” in a theater, he was just messing up the instructions to the suspect.

The whole situation is absolutely terrible. And it seems quite clear that Shaver was actually trying to obey the officer’s orders rather than defying him in any way.

One of the reasons we didn’t hear much about this case is that the video was suppressed by the court till after the trial was over, and it’s the video that is so very distressing. It’s also likely that if Shaver had been black the furor wouldn’t have waited for the video release; this could have been an even bigger story than Brown, since Shaver is clearly trying to comply and never attacked any officer.

Had Shaver been black and with the same set of facts, the shooting officer’s actions would have been ascribed to anti-black bigotry. But just because a person is black it does not mean that every error of judgment on the part of an officer, including a fatal error of judgment, is due to bigotry. Everyone in this story was white, as far as I know, and Shaver still ended up dead.

December 11th, 2017

What was that name again? (Garrison Keillor, unperson)

[UPDATE 6:30 PM: It’s come to my attention that MPR may have done this because, when it severed its relationship with Keillor and his companies, it may have lost at least some of its rights to post the material from his shows at its website. See this. Of course, one of the reasons they may have severed the relationship in the first place is that they were eager to divest themselves of all connection with him. It’s not clear what the legal situation actually is in regard to the archives; the message was that MPR does not fully own the rights.]

One of the most fascinating portions of Orwell’s brilliant Nineteen Eighty-Four is Newspeak, an invented language that he presents in his dystopic book as the language of Ingsoc (English Socialism). I read that book when I was about twelve years old and it scared the proverbial crap out of me, but I sure remember a lot about it.

Like the term “unperson”:

An unperson is someone who has been “vaporized”—not only killed by the state, but erased from existence. Such a person would be written out of existing books, photographs and articles so that no trace of their existence could be found in the historical record. The idea is that such a person would, according to the principles of doublethink, be forgotten completely (for it would be impossible to provide evidence of their existence), even by close friends and family.

Mentioning an unperson’s name, or even speaking of their past existence, is itself thoughtcrime; the concept that the person may have existed at one time and has disappeared cannot be expressed in Newspeak.

That’s pretty extreme. But it’s based on the sort of thing that actually happened in the USSR.

And now (except for the actual killing part), it’s apparently happening to Prarie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor.

Whether you previously liked Keillor or not, let me just say that, although I’ve never been a Keillor fan (I just don’t get “bachelor farmer” humor, for example), and although I disagree with what I know of his politics, what has happened to his oeuvre is really chilling and also sad:

Keillor and his entire body of work from “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Writer’s Almanac” have been effectively erased from the archives of MPR, along with the work of all the other storytellers, singers, poets and production staff who made the shows successful.

..[But] Spacey’s movies still remain available, as are those that Harvey Weinstein produced. If Hollywood were to follow MPR’s Memory Hole model, we would also lose “The Usual Suspects,” “American Beauty,” and “L.A. Confidential.” We would lose “The English Patient,” “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction,” and hundreds of other movies and television shows.

We don’t really want that to happen. The internet is already fragile, brimming with rotten links and ephemeral websites. And when news organizations are bought out or go bankrupt, as was the case most recently with The Gothamist, the work of reporters disappears, a loss to a community’s understanding of its past…

As consumers of news, entertainment and art, we should be able to choose what we want to watch. If you’re uncomfortable with the work of sleazy movie stars, celebrities and producers, then you can ignore them. That shouldn’t be MPR’s call.

Ah, but the erasure of history is a thing now, don’t you know? Remember the tearing down of the monuments?

Sometimes I think people have gone mad in their race to show who’s the most righteous of all in pursuing and destroying the witches of our age.

[NOTE: By the way, although MPR has never said what the charges were except that they involved “sexual misconduct,” which covers a multitude of sins, we do have Keillor’s description. If the following is actually the gist of Keillor’s alleged offense (and we have no way to know if it is or isn’t; there certainly might be lot more, but the silence from MPR is odd), the punishment seems way out of line:

“I put my hand on a woman’s bare back,” he told Minneapolis’ Star-Tribune, “I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called…

Keillor adds:

If I had a dollar for every woman who asked to take a selfie with me and who slipped an arm around me and let it drift down below the beltline, I’d have at least a hundred dollars. So this is poetic irony of a high order.

So, is he alleging that women are regularly feeling him up in the genitalia while taking selfies? A hundred women? Garrison Keillor? Forgive me if I find this a trifle difficult to believe.]

[ADDENDUM: In the comments, it’s been pointed out to me that maybe Keillor is saying the 100 women groped him in the butt rather than the genitals. On reflection, I think that may be it. I’m not in the habit of feeling men up when I’m not already in a very intimate relationship with them, so I may not be up on my technique. When I read the word “around” I took it literally, as in “all the way around.” But I see that that’s not a reading justified by the text, as they say.

So if it’s the butt, I still wonder about 100 woman. But maybe.]

December 9th, 2017

The dance world and sexual harassment

Peter Martins has been accused of sexual harassment in his capacity as long-time director of the New York City Ballet and teacher at the company school. Martins has headed the company since the death of its founder George Balanchine in 1983—first as co-director with Jerome Robbins, and since 1990 as sole director.

That’s a long time to be in charge, and a lot of power. In fact, at this point Martins has directed the company for approximately the same amount of time as Balanchine did.

But Martins is no Balanchine (to be fair, nobody is). Balanchine was a master choreographer who changed the face of ballet and was extraordinarily prolific, and was also a strong and unique personality. Martins was primarily known as a dancer of cool classicism and chiseled strong-jawed blond good looks. Here he is in his dancing heyday, as he was when I saw him dance many times:

Martins has also choreographed quite a few dance works, and I’ve seen several of them—and detested every single one. They’re disjointed, boring, and difficult, and I’m hardly alone in saying that. For example, from an article in the NY Times in 2013:

Mr. Martins has long been castigated as a choreographer. All too many of his pieces are both heartless and sketchy.

On the other hand, I almost always enjoyed Martins’ dancing. There are basically two kinds of dancers, Dionysian and Apollonian, and Matins was an excellent example of the latter type.

But the scuttlebutt about him that I came across in the dance world (many years ago, I might add) was that he wasn’t a warm fuzzy guy, to put it kindly. That’s not an unusual phenomenon in ballet for directors and/or teachers, who tend (or tended; again, my information is rather out-of-date) towards the autocratic, although there were many exceptions. Ballet may look airy, but many of its stellar lights have been hard as nails. It used to be thought almost necessary; perhaps it still is.

Martins—like Balanchine and Barishnikov—was also heterosexual, which is hardly unknown in ballet but is certainly not a given. For Martins (as for Balanchine and Barishnikov), that meant that there were a number of romances and/or affairs and/or relationships with the female dancers around him. Martins has been married to star ballerina Darci Kistler since 1981 (after a shorter first marriage), and although they’ve had a few rough patches—including an allegation of physical abuse that was later withdrawn—they’ve remained together.

Their romance was a union of two people who were both already stars, however; Martins had little to nothing to do with her rise in the company, which had occurred during the Balanchine years. So it’s safe to say that Kistler became a star without much or even any help from Martins—in fact, I believe she was the last favorite of Balanchine (and he was so elderly and already starting to become ill), and she had such extraordinary physical prowess as a dancer that I think she probably did it on the strength of her dancing. Kistler herself has stated that she “didn’t have a deep personal relationship” with Balanchine, and I believe her. But she also said that Balanchine had taught her “how to live life” and that “all the things he said to me, echo.” Ballet directors (and even some ballet teachers) tend to have that total-immersion quality.

So, what about the harassment charges against Martin? It’s very unclear; all we know so far is that someone wrote an anonymous letter to the company stating nonspecific accusations of sexual harassment against him, and the company has taken the precaution of removing him from his teaching duties for the moment. If that description of what’s happened is correct, then of all the allegations of sexual offenses I’ve heard in the last couple of months, that just might be the most Kafkaesque.

But the story started me thinking about ballet and its relation to sexual harassment/abuse/assault. Ballet differs from other arts (and certainly from politics or broadcasting or even acting) in that the body is completely the instrument, the mechanism by which that art is expressed. There is nothing else, not even talk (as in acting). Not only that, but the way the body looks is nearly as important as the way it moves, or at least inextricably connected with it. It’s no exaggeration to say that virtually every dancer in the professional dance world is a physically beautiful person with an extraordinarily beautiful body. And even the older directors (such as, for example, Martins) have an aging version of the same, and often a personal magnetism and power that cannot be denied. It was part of the reason they were stars, although not all directors were once performers or stars.

But it all seems like a recipe for sex, doesn’t it?

The themes of ballet often involve love, as well—romantic, sexual, some combination of the two. So there’s no getting away from it.

What’s more, there’s often a lot of interaction and touching in the choreography and in the studio, even during class. Teachers touch their students all the time—that’s how they convey what’s needed—adjusting a hand, helping the dancer bend in the right direction by giving a little push, turning the head just so. Partners touch their partners all the time, and the communion between partners can be extraordinarily intimate. It can also lead to an actual romance (and of course sex) in real life—what little the dancers have of real life, that is, after the rigors of taking class and rehearsals and performances and shoe preparation and all the rest.

Company directors (the heterosexual ones, that is; I know less about the habits of the gay directors, but I’m assuming the story is not too different) often sleep with their dancers. They even sometimes marry them; Balanchine, for example, was famous for this, having married (and divorced) a whole series of them.

So the idea in ballet is not to eliminate the sex or the touching—I think that would be impossible—but to eliminate the harassment. How would “harassment” be defined in a world like that? Unwanted touching? Touching that goes beyond what’s required for the class or the choreography or the correction? Whether there is a quid pro quo for the sex: “sleep with me and I’ll make you a star”?

Even with all the sex that goes on there’s not usually an explicit quid pro quo in ballet—at least, that isn’t the way I’d always heard or read that it worked (no personal experience here, by the way). I believe what tends to happen more often is that the choreographer or director is attracted to the better dancers, the ones who already inspire him (or I suppose inspire “her”; for example, modern dance pioneer Martha Graham married one of her dancers, and “Men invaded her company – and her life – from time to time; but in her choreography they had a tendency to remain as sex objects, often scantily clad and explicitly animal”—but that’s a subject for another day). After all, if a director promotes a bad dancer, the problem will be revealed when she just can’t perform the choreography, because you can’t fake ballet technique.

And the dancer generally sleeps with the director because she’s genuinely intrigued by him, too—his power or his artistry or his looks or his grace or some combination of these qualities. There would ordinarily be no need for “harassment” of the usual sort; the sex happens as part of the big picture that draws these people together in the first place: their art and the spell it casts, and the realization that they can help further each others’ careers.

I’m pretty sure I’m not describing the way it works all the time. I would assume there are exceptions and scheming people who use sex to promise advancement or to get roles (or with the thought that they’ll get roles). It often doesn’t end well, either. But from what I recall hearing, the sex tends to come after the first big roles. And as far as Martins goes, I have no idea—zero—whether he sexually harassed anyone or not.

[NOTE: In the process of writing this post I watched some videos, and one of them features an interesting story told by a retired dancer about her coming-up years. Her mentor and director was Barishnikov, who plucked her out of the corps and promoted her. There seems to have been no sex of any sort involved in that process. The events she describes in this clip began when she was 18:

I’ve seen every single person she mentions in that video perform. Brings back good memories. At 22, Yaffe married—a conductor, not a dancer.]

December 9th, 2017

First significant snow of the year. Twilight.

Just now:

My new tires, purchased for a pretty penny and reputed to be all-weather tires that are good in snow, managed to climb the hill that had defeated my their worn-out predecessors.

December 9th, 2017

The MSM seems to think it’s a good idea to give us a daily dose of “Trump’s an idiot” stories

Today’s appears to be a report that Trump watches TV 4 hours a day or more, according to the trustworthy insider informants at the NY Times. And this, despite the fact that he claims he doesn’t watch much TV:

The Times reports that Trump begins each day around 5:30 a.m. by turning on CNN before quickly flipping to Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.” He occasionally watches MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” because it works him up, Trump’s friends told the Times.

Trump’s favorite programs include “Fox & Friends” as well as Fox News primetime shows from Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro. Trump sometimes “hate-watches” CNN host Don Lemon, according to the report.

The Times also reports that the only people allowed to touch the remote control for the White House television are Trump and White House technical support staffers.

During his trip to Asia last month, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he doesn’t watch much television at the White House because he’s busy “reading documents.”

“Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television,” Trump said. “People that don’t know me, they like to say I watch television — people with fake sources. You know, fake reporters, fake sources.”

If you read that in light of yesterday’s CNN blooper/whopper (take your pick as to which it was, error or lie), it’s actually rather amusing. The dilemma for the reader is: who do you believe, Trump or the NY Times? I tend to believe my own observations, which tell me that Trump seems to get a lot of work done. If he’s watching that much TV and gets as much accomplished as he seems to, more power to him.

I’ve never been keen on these “the president is an idiot!!” stories, even when I was a Democrat and they were about Republican presidents or candidates whom I disliked. Reagan seemed smart enough to me, rather than an “amiable dunce,” although I never voted for him. So did Bush in 2000 (didn’t vote for him then; voted for him in 2004). I watched Bush, I listened, and I saw someone who wasn’t the most articulate person on earth but who had plenty of native intelligence and got his point across, even though I didn’t like his points.

Trump is more unusual, to say the least. But I’ve never seen any indication he isn’t plenty smart, although not in a conventional “academic” way—at least, he certainly doesn’t express himself that way. Whether his popular touch is an affectation or the way he just is (I think more the latter than the former), it’s worked awfully well for him so far.

[NOTE: By the way, I haven’t read the NY Times story to which the link refers (the link I offered is to a story in the Hill based on it). The Times is behind a firewall and I refuse to pay, and I’ve already used up my stories for this month. But the Times story, listed on memeorandum, is apparently headlined “Inside Trump’s Hour-By-Hour Battle for Self-Preservation.” That’s another meme of which the MSM is fond, which might be called the “Trump is on his last legs” meme. This has been the subject of article after article for most of Trump’s presidency, but so far I see no sign of it being true—which doesn’t seem to stop it from being a perennial favorite of the MSM and its readers.]

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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