Coronavirus is a Republican plot to prove Trump right?

“The Purell presidency: Trump aides learn the president’s real red line” (Politico, January 7, 2019):

A self-described germaphobe, the 45th president is strictly enforcing proper hygiene inside the White House — and wherever else he goes.

He asks visitors if they’d like to wash their hands in a bathroom near the Oval Office.

“If you’re the perpetrator of a cough or of a sneeze or any kind of thing that makes you look sick, you get that look,” said a former Trump campaign official. “You get the scowl. You get the response of — he’ll put a hand up in a gesture of, you should be backing away from him, you should be more considerate and you should extricate yourself from the situation.”

The president’s admitted germaphobia has been a fixture throughout his career — from real-estate deal rooms to casino floors — and it’s now popping up in more public ways. It could create another round of tactile challenges as Trump launches his 2020 campaign, during which he might try to steer visitors toward his signature thumbs-up selfies and away from handshakes for the next 16 months.

Democrats on Facebook love to say that Donald Trump is stupid, but doesn’t coronavirus make him look smart in retrospect? Maybe COVID-19 came out of a secret Republican National Committee laboratory?

Separately, a Facebook post from a righteous (and now disappointed) Elizabeth Warren supporter:

The news needs to show more White people with covid19 to help quell this tide of insane anti-Asian racism.

(She may have a point; we went for dim sum a couple of weeks ago and there was no wait for a table!)

Full post, including comments

Elizabeth Warren’s Legacy: Idea that Trump is an ordinary rich guy

Elizabeth Warren is gone, much to the dismay of my Facebook friends, especially degreed women who don’t work. Before Warren dropped out, one of my friends on Facebook said “More of this, please!” over a video of Elizabeth Warren in which she says that replacing Donald Trump with Michael Bloomberg would “Just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another”.

Of course, I couldn’t resist asking “Shouldn’t she be happy if any Democrat replaces Trump? How can she say that it wouldn’t be progress for the virtuous billionaire to replace the hated dictator?”

His response included the following:

You are making the claim that neither Warren nor I appreciate that Trump and his minions are a threat to democracy and Bloomberg is not. I don’t believe you believe this claim. Therefore I believe you are trolling.

“Trolling” seems to mean “point out a logical inconsistency,” so had to continue:

“Just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another” does not seem like a great way to highlight that one of said billionaires is a “threat to democracy”.

Perhaps Elizabeth Warren would personally have voted for Michael Bloomberg if he’d won the nomination, but that’s just Pepsi vs. Coke according to her, right? Not “new Hitler” or “threat to Democracy” or “insane” versus “reasonable”, “rational”, and “righteous”.

After telling Americans that they might not survive four more years of Donald Trump, that the Trump Presidency was a “national emergency,” etc., the Democrats have their smartest politician on record saying that one of their own is scarcely superior.

I’m wondering if this will be the only lasting legacy of the Warren campaign.

Related (loosely):

Full post, including comments

What happened at the Harvey Weinstein trial?

I saw from the headlines that the Harvey Weinstein trial in New York is over (but he still has one or more to go in California?). I hadn’t followed the case because the judge said prior to the trial that Harvey was going to spend the rest of his life in prison (Vice); it was only a question of whether it would be for using his phone in the courtroom or something related to the transactional sex that we read about (and would a jury who got even a quick look at the obese elderly Harvey need convincing that sex in which he was participating was transactional?).

Given that the outcome was predetermined, was there anything new that came out?

Separately, back in 2017 I asked “Where can Harvey Weinstein go for a peaceful retirement?”. It turns out that Harvey might have accidentally escaped prosecution if he’d followed his political heart. From a September 2016 article:

Talk turned from Oscar voters to American voters as fervent democrat Weinstein, appearing in Switzerland for the European premiere of the Garth Davis directed drama, was asked if he’d move to Canada if Donald Trump were elected US president.

“I’ve known Hillary Clinton 20 years. The allegations about her being untrustworthy are not true,” he said.

“I don’t think anything she did [with email servers] was intentional. The Clinton Global Initiative has the highest rating of any charity in America, and probably as good as any charity in the world, and I’m proud I’m part of that too.

“It’s insane that she doesn’t have the trustworthiness and it’s the only thing keeping her from winning. I don’t want to move to Canada, but I certainly don’t want to see Donald Trump [win] with bigotry and racism.”

Weinstein, who has hosted Clinton fundraisers this year, continued: “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. This is not Mitt Romney or Robert Dole, or anybody you could afford to have as president.”

The Oscar season veteran didn’t mince his words when it came to Clinton’s opponent.

“Ronald Reagan ran the country and it survived. This is not George W. Bush. This is really serious. It’s somebody appealing to the worst in us.”

Mr. Weinstein, at least, seems to be living proof of the wisdom of fleeing the Trump Presidency (though perhaps it would be better to choose a country other than Canada, e.g., one without an extradition treaty with the U.S.).

Full post, including comments

The heroic prosecutors of Trump

From New Yorker:

THE PROSECUTION OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: How the House Democrats, in the face of certain defeat, presented the case for impeachment.

The magazine hasn’t been that interesting since 2016 when it switched to an all-Trump-hatred-all-the-time format, but this article is. Prosecutors who knew that they had no chance of convicting someone nonetheless pressed on!

This feeling of inevitability was shared among those who were most intimately involved with the House’s impeachment efforts. As recently as July … Adam Schiff, the ex-prosecutor who became the de-facto leader of the House’s impeachment inquiry last fall, said that he would “be delighted” if there was a real prospect of removing the President through impeachment. Unfortunately, he said at the time, “the only way he’s leaving office, at least at this point, is by being voted out⁠.”

Ordinarily, we don’t celebrate prosecutors who go after people whom they know they can’t convict, but when Trump is involved, apparently the standards are different!


Full post, including comments

Can the Democrats impeach Trump again starting next week?

Donald Trump has demonstrated his criminal mastermind capabilities by beating the impeachment rap. In the entirely non-partisan process, out of 535 members of Congress there were 4 people whose vote could not have been predicted by party affiliation?

The failure to remove Trump has occasioned despair among my Facebook friends:

The Day Democracy Died

Tombstone: American Democracy 1776-2020, killed by Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans who refused to call witnesses in the impeachment trial of a criminal president

An American flag morphing into a Nazi flag

Today the US Senate has validated the most dangerous precedent in its history. … This principle could be used to literally make a US president a dictator. Republicans will come to deeply regret this sad day. [more dangerous a precedent than court-approved Japanese-American internment?]

We now have a Russian-style government [if true, where is the U.S. metro system that runs a train on every line every 60 seconds?]

[From January 28] People who aren’t following the impeachment story are missing one as fascinating as any cliffhanger Game of Thrones story. It looks like the senators might not want to be caught letting Trump murder the Constitution. Surprise.

Today is going to be one of the darkest days in the history of the United States. Maybe, just maybe we did not deserve Democracy and all the efforts of the Framers who dedicate their energy, time and vision to set up the architecture of the Constitution… [In the good old days we had the Framers holding slaves, stealing land from the Native Americans, and speculating in real estate west of the Proclamation Line]

My fear grows that Donald Trump will win in 2020. … Badly constructed polls, and definitely national polls should be denounced. Anybody who cites a national poll should be criticized as distracting from the actual task at hand. Anybody who funds one should be questioned as being under the spell of Putin, because they can only mislead from the real answer. … Yes, under the spell of Putin. We are highly confident he is trying to manipulate the left in this election, to make them self-destruct. The question is not whether he is doing this, but to what extent he is succeeding. Any time you see the Democrats doing self-destructive things, you should be suspicious.

[me, responding to the rich Bay Area dweller above] How will you survive if the next five years are anything like the last three?

[him] it will be a challenge. More down the road, as Trump hastens the decline of not just the USA but the West, in the world.

For the above-quoted folks, impeachment of Trump is serious and/or entertaining. Why let it end with acquittal? Removing a Hitler-style dictator would be worth more than one try, right? Maybe in the second try more than one Republican will see that Trump actually is the new Hitler.

Most of us do stuff every day, right? From the point of view of politicians in the party to which he no longer belongs, isn’t almost anything that Donald Trump does conceivably impeachable? If so, why not start a new impeachment process next week? (or tomorrow!) Surely it can’t be too early to begin an investigation at least?

Full post, including comments

Are any of the Kansas City Chiefs from the same tribe as Elizabeth Warren?

So many questions after watching part of the Super Bowl with an Irish friend.

“Are any of the Kansas City Chiefs from the same tribe as Elizabeth Warren?” Turns out that this was already answered by the New York Times:

On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Chiefs fans will don headdresses and mark themselves with red paint to perform the “tomahawk chop,” a wordless chant complete with a swinging motion of the forearm, caricaturing what they believe is Native American culture.

A 2005 resolution by the American Psychological Association recognized research that found that Native American team mascots and symbols harm our children’s self-esteem. Racial stereotypes are harmful, no matter the intent.

How do multiple “chiefs” play together as a team? (No answer so far.)

Inevitably from a person accustomed to soccer: “Why is this game so f*cking slow?” (I timed the last 2.5 minutes of the game… more than 20 minutes.)

A minor question: Why couldn’t the 49ers concede with a few seconds left in the game? Why were the players collectively forced to run out the clock?

My own question: Fox and Fox News are owned by the same parent company. Watching the Super Bowl thus puts cash into the pockets of the Official Channel of the Deplorables. Why would people who proudly #resist and who claim that Fox News is responsible for the parlous state of our nation watch regular Fox at any time for any reason?

Readers: How can anyone who purports to be resisting Donald Trump tune into a Fox station?


Full post, including comments

Why are politicians working overtime on impeachment?

My first exposure to the impeachment show is this evening in a hotel lobby here in Charleston, South Carolina:

Note the time: 10:48 pm. Why are they working beyond normal business hours? Trial courts usually work only 9:30-4 or similar.

If Trump is obviously guilty, why can’t he be convicted on a 9-5 schedule? (Did the House go into these late sessions back in December?)

Full post, including comments

Diversity at MIT

In a “fun lunch” presentation of photos from Oshkosh in our FAA Private Pilot ground school at MIT (videos linked from the course home page), the next slide contained the following images:

(Bo 105 aerobatic helicopter in a custom Trump 2020 paint scheme)

Before the slide appeared I asked the 75-person class “Raise your hand if you support Donald Trump.” Guess how many supported America’s leading citizen and were willing to own up to it?

Full post, including comments

How was Ivanka Trump’s keynote speech at CES?

My Facebook friends were outraged that Ivanka Trump had been asked to speak at the Consumer Electronics Show. How was her talk?

A senior citizen white male programmer linked to “Ivanka Trump Keynoting At CES Is All That is Wrong For Women In Tech” (Forbes):

Both in 2017 and 2018, the keynote lineups did not have a single woman included on the main stage. … The presence of the so-called “booth babes” continues to anger many. While they were officially outlawed years ago by the CTA, it seems that booth babes are now on stage disguised under tight exercise clothing.

If you are a woman in tech, like me, you are very familiar with the T.WA., the “token woman appearance” on keynote stages and panels. I have been one myself several times, mostly being called to facilitate an all-male panel.

Whose job is it to decide that a person working in a booth is a “booth babe” and must be ejected?

[The author claims to be “in tech” and yet the biography at bottom says

Carolina Milanesi is the Founder of The Heart of Tech, a technology market research and consultancy firm focused on tech in education and diversity in tech.

Isn’t she actually in the diversity industry?]

All of his Facebook friends are white male senior citizen programmers. They were similarly outraged.

Of course, I couldn’t resist:

Me: It is refreshing to see older white men with the courage to boo young women off the stage before they have started to speak.

White Boomer Coder 1: She isn’t there because she is young or a woman. She is there only because of who her vile father is.

Me: I am just waiting for [the original poster] to ask “Why isn’t she home with her three children?”

White Boomer Coder 2: “before they have started to speak” is a rather bizarre claim. She’s not an unknown personna and she’s ever bit as vile as her father. And as already noted, she has literally no relevant skills to this conference.

White Boomer Coder 3: You seriously think she’s credible within the tech community? Age and gender have nothing to do with this. You’re missing the point entirely. I can think of multiple women, white and not-white, who would be almost infinitely more credible, intelligent and knowledgeable, than Ms. Trump. I’m incredulous that this decision was made for any reason other than to pander to the squatter in the WH.

White Boomer Coder 4: Philip Greenspun Are you a troll or an idiot? Serious question. She has no qualifying characteristics for delivering such a talk. It has nothing to do with race or gender. I don’t care one whit about boycotting CES or not. But shame on anyone who would attend that talk. And shame on the fools and tools who booked her. If you are serious about breaking the speaker mold, there are credible choices out there. However, you clearly are not serious about this…

How is CES lately? The folks protesting Ivanka Trump’s presence there make it sound like a sacred temple. I was there so long ago that silicone (adult film stars and their products) and silicon were able to coexist on the same floor. If almost everything interesting in technology is happening inside smartphones, how relevant is a show centered on “everything else”?

And, circling back to the top… how was Ivanka Trump’s talk?

Full post, including comments