Does This Suit You, Grim?

Saw that Von Miller (Super Bowl 50 MVP and Chicken Farmer) came to the Espys in this get up-

Von Miller with a Carharttsuit at the ESPYs he is really a Denver legend
— stressewordlyfe(@JesseWordlyfe) July 19, 2018

and instantly, I figured we'd found the suit fit for our gracious host (perhaps less the gold chains).
So, what do you think, Grim?

Good deaths

An Ann Althouse discussion of utopian traditions yielded this interesting comment by long-time commenter Mike K, who I believe is the same fellow who leaves interesting comments at Maggie's Farm and who wrote a really entertaining memoir about his decades as a doctor:
My surgery professor, when talking about Euthanasia, coined the term "Cacothanasia as a word for a miserable death.
He also practiced some passive Euthanasia by omitting some drugs when end stage cancer patients were admitted to the hospital. For example, he would put stage IV breast cancer patients on steroids to induce a bit of steroid induced euphoria, then omit the steroids when they were unable to manage at home. The result was a sudden death from adrenal insufficiency. The oral steroids had suppressed their adrenals.

A blow against the bureaucracy

Small good news on the home front.  This little waterfront community never was what you'd call an economic powerhouse even before last year's hurricane.  Since the storm, people are somewhat more focused on the need to get jobs back, even apparently to the point of being willing to think clearly about what gums up the works.

A couple of weeks ago the local newspaper, which often eschews controversial topics, surprised me by splashing a story onto the front page about a coffee shop that everyone had thought was about to open in the central business district.  Locals were disappointed to read that a last-minute problem had developed during the final inspection.  The business owners had obtained a city building permit and thought they were on track, having spent months and a great deal of money getting ready to open.  During the final inspection, the Heritage District Commission abruptly turned them down, apparently because their building was (admittedly) utilitarian and charmless.  This coffee shop was not opening in the part of the Heritage District that most of us here think of as actually having any charm; it was on the fringes, a decidedly mingy area.

I assumed that would be the last of the coffee shop, but to my amazement someone staged a coup at this week's city council meeting and suspended the Heritage District Commission's powers, turning them over instead to the ordinary municipal planning/zoning staff.  If the story is accurate, the Commission was taken completely by surprise.  A number of residents appeared to testify about their horrendous experiences being strung along and generally dissed by the Commission.  Unless the reporting and the reaction on local Facebook groups is misleading, there is a public groundswell of revulsion against the Heritage District arcana and highhandedness, and of support for fledgling businesses.

I much prefer quaint old shopping districts, myself.  Even so, I can live without them if the price tag is capricious and unpredictable super-zoning overlays.  Those people get right up my nose.

No such thing

San Fransisco discovers that offering free lunch at the office distorts the market and is unfair to local restaurants.  Ve haff vays of making you enjoy getting out of your office and into the feces stench--that is, the fresh air--and step over junkies and needles and condoms to patronize one of our fine restaurants.

Next up:  city inspectors to rifle through your backpack on your way into the office and confiscate your brown bag.  Now go outside and play!

Never got past the title

Too bad WaPo is behind a paywall, because the title alone for this piece will make me smile all day:  "Trump Using Tariffs to Advance Radical Free-Trade Agenda."  (Link at RealClearPolitics.)  Have you been wondering how Trump critics reconcile themselves to a sudden concern about the evil of tariffs and a sudden enthusiasm for free trade?  It's finally possible to oppose the President, tariffs, and free trade all at the same time.

Variations on a Theme

By coincidence, I assume, Christina Hoff Sommers and Jessica Valenti both published pieces today that call for a version of feminism that helps men and boys. Sommers considers herself an "equity feminist," as opposed to the kind of feminism she defines as "gender feminism" (which would apparently include Valenti, though Valenti as far as I know doesn't use these terms; I gather she considers herself a "feminist" and Sommers "a foe of feminism"). So the philosophical basis for the claims is quite different, although they both end up endorsing the idea that feminism should do more for men.

Valenti thinks this is necessary, to be sure, in order to help women. Citing the same evidence of educational and social gaps that Sommers cites, she says:
This gap has made boys susceptible to misogynist hucksters peddling get-manly-quick platitudes and dangerous online extremist communities.... Feminism has long focused on issues of sexual assault, reproductive rights, harassment and more. But issues don’t hurt women, men do. Until we grapple with how to stop misogynists themselves — starting with ensuring boys don’t grow up to be one — women will never be free.
Sommers approach considers the men not to be necessarily the enemies of women:
But most women want equality, not war. Men aren’t their adversaries. They are their brothers, sons, husbands, and friends. We are in this together. A judicious, reality-based women’s movement could serve us all well into the 21st Century.
It is interesting to see the overlap, even though there remains a significant chasm between "Issues don't hurt women, men do" versus "Men aren't their adversaries but their brothers, sons, husbands, and friends."

Think Carefully

The ACLU has a message for you.
"Mass shootings create a pervasive sense of insecurity and anxiety that politicians and policymakers will inevitably seek to address," senior policy analyst Jay Stanley insists on the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project blog. As a result, he argues, "those who support expansive gun rights as a protection against excessive government power should strongly consider how much government intrusion and expanded power they're willing to trade for those rights."
I have considered the question, and the answer is, "The government is too strong and intrusive already." However, I reject the idea that disarming the law-abiding population is likely to make them less so -- or even to stop mass shootings. There are plenty of places like Brazil that have strict gun prohibition and also massive gun violence.

Reason magazine notes that, in addition to the Americas, there's the example of the UK:
Officials in the U.K. have already implemented probably every restriction on firearms that Stanley could imagine. The country has no "expansive gun rights," nor much in the way of advocates for them (not that London's rising violent crime rate cares). So there's no push for "government intrusion and expanded power," right?

Wrong. The British government has adopted what Edward Snowden calls "the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes further than many autocracies." The UK also requires Internet companies to take down "extremist" content and threatens legal penalties if they're not quick enough to do so.

Which liberties should our friends across the Atlantic stop advocating so that the government will stop hitting them, Mr. Stanley?

"Why Does Anyone in this City Need A Gun At All?"

I don't know, maybe because of terrorist attacks on an undefended populace?

I'm just spitballing, here.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave Trader

A very interesting family history, and it's at the New Yorker, of all places. Snippet:

My great-grandfather was given the nickname Nwaubani, which means “from the Bonny port region,” because he had the bright skin and healthy appearance associated at the time with people who lived near the coast and had access to rich foreign foods. (This became our family name.) In the late nineteenth century, he carried a slave-trading license from the Royal Niger Company, an English corporation that ruled southern Nigeria. His agents captured slaves across the region and passed them to middlemen, who brought them to the ports of Bonny and Calabar and sold them to white merchants. Slavery had already been abolished in the United States and the United Kingdom, but his slaves were legally shipped to Cuba and Brazil. To win his favor, local leaders gave him their daughters in marriage. (By his death, he had dozens of wives.) His influence drew the attention of colonial officials, who appointed him chief of Umujieze and several other towns. He presided over court cases and set up churches and schools. He built a guesthouse on the land where my parents’ home now stands, and hosted British dignitaries. To inform him of their impending arrival and verify their identities, guests sent him envelopes containing locks of their Caucasian hair.

Cuius regio, eius religio

Another Unherd piece, this time on the parallels between the Thirty Years' War and the storm brewing in the EU.  The author posits Hungary and Poland as the new Anabaptists:
If the Thirty Years’ War can he blamed on one man, it is the Habsburg emperor Ferdinand II, whose disdain for compromise with the Lutherans – let alone the more challenging heretics – turned conflict into all-out-war.
His solution to the tensions of the Empire was to impose the will of the strongest power – and its ideology – on the other states.
I wonder if Angela Merkel can think of anything like that in the EU today?

Sweden's Trump Moment

A Maggie's Farm link to an unusually cogent analysis of Trump's appeal (in the Guardian, no less) led me to the site, where I read some more of the author's work.  He has put some effort into understanding political trends all over Europe as well as the U.S., and has this to say about Sweden's version of the "bitter clinger" and "deplorable" remarks that so alienating American voters from the Democratic Party:
At the core of it, shifting Swedish politics is simple, and has little to do with either deindustrialisation, racist deplorables or bitter clingers – however emotionally appealing it is for progressives to blame these factors. Sweden’s highly generous refugee policy never had majority support among voters, including Social Democratic voters. Blue-collar voters who dared to express even mild protest were bullied and branded as hateful or ignorant by their own party. The only outlet for that built-up resentment has been the Sweden Democrats, and while in the run up to the election the Social Democrats have moved sharply to the Right on migration and crime issues, the mistakes of the past years may prove difficult to repair for this once invincible party.
It's a dangerous thing for political and social movements to let resentment build up.  Protests that aren't heard become more shrill and polarized.  Progressives instinctively understand this when the protesters are women or LGBTQs, but seem to lose their good sense when the protesters are anyone outside their own charmed circle.  It's a short step from "I can't be heard" to "this game is rigged" to "I'll support anyone who will shake this crummy system up."  There's a good reason the First Amendment was first.

Lasagna for Dinner

Full-fat cheese and butter are vindicated.

Vox Against Democracy

"Letting only the informed vote."

Mukasey on the Russian Moves

This analysis sounds right to me:
At the time of the hacking, virtually no one gave Mr. Trump any chance of winning. Mr. Putin is a thug, but he is not reckless. It seems unlikely he would place a high-stakes bet on a sure loser. Rather, he likely sought to embarrass the person certain to be the new president, assuring that she took office as damaged goods.
The Russians seem to have helped all three of the major campaings: Bernie's and Trump's, but also hers. The whole Trump/Russia dossier was built out of things that Steele paid Russian intelligence officers to produce against Trump (allegedly "former" officers, but once you're in, you're in for life). That she'd sought this aid from the Russians would be more leverage once she was President. It's a Watergate-level scandal that they could drop on the sitting President any time. That the Inevitable, Smartest Woman barely managed to limp over the line against the likes of Crazy Bernie and Mad Don would also make her look weak, and effected the Russian end of making our feel country divided.

I'll wager that the Jill Stein campaign will prove to have received help as well, and don't discount how effective that was -- Stein's margin in some of the close states may have tipped them to Trump. But I can't imagine he thought that Stein would accomplish that. The more obvious goal given the polling was simply to make the margin razor-thin, not to beat Clinton outright.

The rest of former AG Mukasey's piece is worth reading also, but that's the part that leaps out at me. The assumption shouldn't be that the Russians expected or even intended to defeat Clinton. It should be that they wanted to divide us, and weaken her. I imagine they were as shocked as the rest of us when Trump won on election night, and probably as panicked as many on the American left were.

I Suspect Some Of My Friends Feel This Way

Probably family too.

You don't know this guy, but really, you do.

Shinobu Hashimoto just passed away at the age of 100. Hashimoto was the screen writer on over 70 films, among such as:

1968 Hell in the Pacific (uncredited)
1967 Samurai Rebellion
 1966 The Sword of Doom (screenplay)
1962 Harakiri (screenplay)
1960 The Magnificent Seven (screenplay "Shichinin no samurai" - uncredited)
1960 The Bad Sleep Well (written by)
1958 The Hidden Fortress (written by)
1957 Throne of Blood (screenplay)
1955 I Live in Fear
1954 Seven Samurai (screenplay)
1952 Ikiru (written by)
1950 Rashomon (screenplay)

Yeah, you know this guy. Now many of those above were directed by Akira Kurosawa, which is how most people come to these films, but It's still amazing to me the influence that these films still have and will continue to.

I've seen all of the above, some multiple times.

The Page FISA Application

It's unique in that a FISA court application has never been made public before, even in a redacted form, so it's worth looking at carefully. Since this audience leans right, I thought I would link to some opposing views. Lawfare hosts David Kris' view, in which he holds that the release confirms his earlier view that the Nunes memo was deceptive and wrong. Meanwhile, here is a courteous but sharp dispute between Andy McCarthy and Bradley Moss over the propriety of the release and the quality of the information it provides.

UPDATE: McCarthy's column today: "The crazies were right, and I was wrong."

Meanwhile, an argument from evidence is made that Ali Watkins -- the disgraced NYT reporter who slept with her sources for access -- was given an unredacted version of this application, complete with Top Secret information, by one of her sources. If so, that's a serious violation of classification laws.