The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Beliefs? We don't need no stinkin' beliefs

David Roberts, writing for Vox, says that trying to understand what Donald Trump really believes is a category error:

The question presumes that Trump has beliefs, "views" that reflect his assessment of the facts, "positions" that remain stable over time, woven into some sort of coherent worldview. There is no evidence that Trump has such things. That is not how he uses language.

When he utters words, his primary intent is not to say something, to describe a set of facts in the world; his primary intent is to do something, i.e., to position himself in a social hierarchy. This essential distinction explains why Trump has so flummoxed the media and its fact-checkers; it’s as though they are critiquing the color choices of someone who is colorblind.

What he’s doing is trying to establish dominance — to win, in his words. That’s what he uses words for. That’s how he sees every interaction in which he is involved. He is attuned only to what the words are doing, whether they are winning or losing, not to what they mean.

This point helps explain why Trump cannot ever admit a mistake or an error. He can only process accusations — of dishonesty, of cruelty — as social gambits, not as factual claims. To him, the demand that he apologize or admit error is nothing more than a dominance play. Apologizing is losing.

That the party of Lincoln nominated this person for president will go down in history as the turning point in American civilization, I think.

Starting my day

I took a personal day yesterday to get my teeth cleaned (still no cavities, ever!) and to fork over a ton of cash to Parker's vet (five shots, three routine tests, heartworm pills, one biopsy, $843.49). That and other distractions made it a full personal day.

So as I start another work day with the half-day of stuff I planned to do yesterday right in front of me, I'm queuing up some articles again:

OK, my day is officially begun. To the mines!

The rise and fall of Wrigleyville

Rolling Stone describes how Wrigleyville became Douchebag Central:

Chicagoans have strong feelings about Wrigleyville. While a local might have more nuanced thoughts on neighborhoods like Logan Square (gentrified, filled with hipsters, great places to eat) or Wicker Park (gentrified, filled with yuppies, great places to eat), say you're going to hang out near Wrigley Field, and you'll probably get a blank stare. You really go out of your way to visit there for two reasons: Cubs games and shows at the Metro, the area's long-running venue that has played host to everybody from Metallica in 1983 to Nirvana in 1989 and nearly every important Chicago band or artist from Ministry at the dawn of the city's burgeoning industrial music scene to Chance the Rapper in 2016. Joe Shanahan, who opened the venue in 1982, remembers a time when he needed to be escorted by security to his car after a late-night. Not so much because of the fans, but because it was a neighborhood in a big city in the 1980s. "It was scary," he says of his early days turning the former Swedish Community Center built in 1927. "But it was inexpensive."

But things change.

You know the story: people living on the fringe make the area seem attractive to people with money, the people with money move in and, soon to follow are the bars with 20 televisions all showing sports. Wrigleyville, already a strange neighborhood because of its cozy little ballpark and the cursed team that plays there, somehow seemed like a decent fit for a bunch of outcasts. It was normal to end up at the McDonald's across the street from the ballpark and see kids from whatever show let out ordering Big Macs alongside sloshed baseball fans. It was awkward, but both groups were strange in their own way: kids with the funky hairstyles and clothes, and the baseball fans that would cheer for a team that they know will only disappoint.

I'm not sure it's the most insightful view of how Wrigleyville has changed, but it's somewhat accurate.

Muting the debate

New York Times reporter Jonathan Mahler watched the debate with the sound off. He still had no doubts who won:

It was a little shimmy of her shoulders — cheeky, insouciant — accompanied by a big, toothy grin. Her opponent smirked.

She looked as if she was having fun. He, not so much.

Visually, anyway, there was a discernible arc to the event, with Mr. Trump growing more agitated as the night wore on, and Mrs. Clinton becoming almost giddy with what felt increasingly like genuine pleasure.

Which brings us back to the shimmy. Absent words, it felt like the most telling moment of the evening, a memorable, instinctive reaction to what I imagined must have been a Trump howler.

In that instant, it was clear that the debate had produced a winner, at least to those of us who hadn’t actually heard a word of what the candidates had said: Mrs. Clinton. He had vibrated with anxiety; she had radiated cool confidence. He had seemed to be crawling out of his own skin; she had looked uncharacteristically comfortable in hers.

Meanwhile, attempts to discern from the written transcript what Trump was talking about continue to produce little usable data, NSA and FBI sources tell The Daily Parker.

Manifestly unfit for public office

Not even a full day after the debate and the reactions I'm seeing are across-the-board horrible for Trump. First, the usual suspects:

But the other side of the aisle doesn't seem happy either. Check out:

Of course, it's not Trump's fault he tanked after 15 minutes of inane bluster. It's never his fault when shit goes south.

As Hillary said, "Woo! Okay!"

And finally, looking at Hofstra's photos brings back a lot. My dorm features in a lot of them, having been used as Fox News's backdrop.

Update, 13:49 CDT: I found one guy who thinks Trump did well, Chicago's own John Kass. Kass doesn't think Trump won, mind you; he just thinks Trump didn't get his spine ripped out by Clinton.

Debate live-blogging

The first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is about to begin. I'll be sipping on one or more martinis and making snarky comments. For real live-blogging check out Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan. Oh, and the Times.

I was going to watch PBS, but apparently Bloomberg will be fact-checking in real time.

Let the games begin...

21:04 EDT: Oh, can't do Bloomberg. Moved back to PBS with Gwen Ifill, Mark Shields, David Gergen, and a few other sane people.

21:06: Bad timing! My big New York-style pizza (in honor of my alma mater, Hofstra) just arrived.

21:10: First big lie on his first sentence. Routine opening from Clinton. Trump is pitching directly to people who have been left behind by change.

21:12: "We just have a different view." And "he really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we'll be."

21:15: "I want you to be happy, it's very important to me." WTF?

21:17: "That's called business, by the way." She's already getting to him.

21:20: The Times already has one of his tweets up (about China and climate change).

21:23: "I know you're living in your own reality."

21:30: The Times' Nick Confessore: "This is a moment when Trump’s ideas are conflicted. He is now defending companies that offshore their profits and stick them in places like Ireland, and blaming Clinton and other politicians for not letting them bring the money back tax free."

21:32: Ah, tax returns. Coming right after a pile of nonsense on how the Federal Reserve works. And a lie about the audit.

21:36: "Maybe he doesn't want you to know...he hasn't paid any taxes. ... There's something he's hiding. Who does he owe money to?" Well, yeah.

21:39: Well, maybe if you paid your taxes we could have better roads, Donald?

21:42: "Maybe he didn't do a good job." "Maybe you should apologize?" Because, it turns out, he stiffs people all the time. "You call yourself the king of debt."

21:43: One of my Facebook friends just now: "I'll release my tax returns when you release the Kraken." Same friend a moment later: "I can't tell who's winning, rubber or glue."

21:48: "Law and order." Welcome back, 1968.

21:50: Andrew Sullivan: "It’s clear that Trump has no idea what a debate is and has never actually debated an equal. He rants and then shouts over and interrupts his debate partner. This is the performance of a tyrant – someone utterly unsuited to the give and take and reasoned debate that’s integral – essential– to a liberal democracy."

Meanwhile, he's talking about bad people and an against-police judge. Is he six?

21:52: A friend whose opinion I trust just sent me a message that Clinton calling Trump "Donald" seems disrespectful against him calling her "Secretary." Leaving out that she's no longer entitled to that title (so to speak), I'm not sure whether this is a net gain or loss for her. I will ponder this.

21:57: Another friend on Facebook: "You don't learn that much from tax returns?! Um, if that's the case, bro, just turn them over."

21:58: Sullivan again (on the race question): "What he has just said in a presidential debate is indistinguishable from what a drunk at a bar might say before he is thrown out. It’s incredible to me that this ranting, incoherent bigot is actually a nominee of a major party in the U.S."

22:06: Confessore again: "Let’s not skip over this moment, colleagues. Has a presidential candidate ever accused the other of being racist on a debate stage?"

22:07: "I settled that lawsuit with no admission of guilt." My god, talk about being lawyerly.

22:09: And now we come around to Russia. She's almost...almost...linking him to Putin.

22:13: "We need to do cyber better." This from the guy who wants to date his daughter. Urban Dictionary much, Mr. Trump?

22:14: Martini #1 was with a London dry gin from the UK, in honor of the country I hope takes me in if this guy gets elected. Martini #2 is with Death's Door gin, for reasons I trust the reader will infer.

22:16: Not wrong, Donald. Do you not understand how the Internet works? You supported the Iraq war.

22:18: Andrew Borowitz: "The most coherent moments for Trump at this debate were the sniffs."

22:20: So, other than throwing themselves in front of Russian tanks, what has NATO ever done for us?

22:23: "I have a winning temperament." "Woo! Okay!" Snorts and literal rolling on the floor over at IDTWHQ.

22:26: "A man who can be provoked with a tweet should not have his finger anywhere near the button...."

22:28: Sullivan again: "He’s actually doubling down on the war crime of “taking the oil”. Again: no American presidential candidate has ever advocated plunder as a goal in foreign policy. No Western leader has supported such a thing in modern times. The fact that he is still repeating the need for such a war crime is all by itself disqualifying for a Western leader."

22:30: I think Sioux Nation might disagree that the Iran treaty is "the worst deal ever made." Also Poland (1938), Germany (1919), and Lando Calrissian (a long time ago).

22:35: Sometimes a stamina is just a stamina. This time, however, I think he means "penis."

22:38:'s not nice. Poor Donald.

22:39: Jeffrey Goldberg earlier: "Trump is admitting here that he would open fire on Iranian ships and then see what happens."

22:40: So...any answer other than "yes, I will absolutely respect the results of this election" is just bizarre.

OK. Time to finish my second martini. And then sleep, fitfully...

Yesterday's walk

My goal yesterday was to walk at least as far as I did back in June, when I hoofed it from Uptown to Highland Park (28.95 km, 4:32:52, 32,595 steps). Well, yesterday I didn't, for a couple of reasons: first, I'm recovering from a cold. Second, it was 5°C warmer yesterday than June 16th. And third, I started later in the day, so I had less time to do the trip. Also I was a bit stupid: around hour 3½, I hit the wall, but didn't realize I had, until I finally stopped in a convenience store and downed a pint of Gatorade. Miraculously, I felt better in minutes. Who knew?

My totals yesterday: 24.37 km, 3:54:25, 25,570 steps on the walk and 32,354 for the day. At least that total count for the day was my second-highest daily step count. Could I have done another 7,000 steps? Maybe. But I was so hot and so done, and nothing was chasing me.

I also need to complain that technology failed me. My Fitbit Blaze lost contact with my phone four times, resulting in me having to reboot both once and to reset the Fitbit three other times. Observe:

The Fitbit lost its connection with my phone (and thus its GPS) at 7.75 km, and I didn't notice until I stopped for Gatorade. Which really, really irritates me. That's about half a kilometer and about 600 steps that didn't get counted.

Trying not to get my hopes up

As of yesterday's final home game, the Cubs have won 99 games and lost 56—the best record in baseball this year—including 57 games at Wrigley, which tied the team record set in 1933 and 1935.

There are six games left in the season, so the Cubs won't pass 107 games (last reached in 1907) or their team-record 116 wins (set in 1906). But who cares? The only record that most of us Cubs fans want to see broken is the one for most World Series won in a season, which currently stands at 1 (last set in 1908).

The first playoff game is Friday October 7th at Wrigley, against whoever wins the NL Wild Card.