Donald Trump on: What Is 2 + 2?

Donald TrumpDonald Trump answers the question: What is 2+2?

“I have to say a lot of people have been asking this question. No, really. A lot of people come up to me, and they ask me. They say, ‘What’s 2+2’? And I tell them, look, we know what 2+2 is. We’ve had almost eight years of the worst kind of math you can imagine. Oh, my God, I can’t believe it. Addition and subtraction of the 1s the 2s and the 3s. It’s terrible. It’s just terrible. Look, if you want to know what 2+2 is, do you want to know what 2+2 is? I’ll tell you. First of all the number 2, by the way, I love the number 2. It’s probably my favorite number, no it is my favorite number. You know what, it’s probably more like the number two but with a lot of zeros behind it. A lot. If I’m being honest, I mean, if I’m being honest. I like a lot of zeros. Except for Marco Rubio, now he’s a zero that I don’t like. Though, I probably shouldn’t say that. He’s a nice guy, but he’s like, ‘10101000101,’ on and on, like that. He’s like a computer! You know what I mean? He’s like a computer. I don’t know. I mean, you know. So, we have all these numbers, and we can add them and subtract them and add them. TIMES them even. Did you know that? We can times them OR divide them, they don’t tell you that, and I’ll tell you, no one is better at the order of operations than me. You wouldn’t believe it. So, we’re gonna be the best on 2+2, believe me.”

—George Takei
Quoted in George Takei’s New Post About Donald Trump Is Going Viral

Morning Music: Anyone Who Had a Heart

Read My Lips - Anyone Who Had a Heart - Tim CurryI told you we were going to do another day of Tim Curry’s album, Read My Lips. (Can you believe it is not available on CD or even digitally?!) How could we not do his version of Bacharach & David’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart”? I’ll be honest, I could easily do every track of the album. There’s a lot to talk about. But I just don’t have the time to focus on something like that. So you are getting these quick notes about whatever the hell comes into my mind.

“Anyone Who Had a Heart” was originally performed by Dionne Warwick. In fact, it was written for her. I’ve always thought she had an amazing voice. But I find her version weak. What’s more, Bacharach and David also produced it, and it sounds like it. They were not producers. The Tim Curry version proves that Bob Ezrin really could do anything. The production is mythic without being silly.

Let me say something that might not be nice given that Phil Spector is rotting in jail, but I have always found the “wall of sound” to be awful. And it is also an awful idea. What makes for great production is variety. If you want straight maximum rock-n-roll, great! But people seemed to think that songs like “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” and “The Long and Winding Road” sound good. They don’t! They sound like the muddled messes that they are.

With a Bob Ezrin production, there can be excesses (Some of The Wall misses.) but everything has a reason. Every note has a purpose. And “Anyone Who Had a Heart” pulses with passion, pulling the listener along just like unstoppable attraction. It makes the song far better than it ever was all by itself. It’s amazing to listen to. It’s the best version that’s ever been recorded — at least that I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot of different versions. This is the one.

Anniversary Post: Dred Scott v Sandford

Dred ScottOn this day in 1857, Dred Scott v Sandford was decided incorrectly. In a 7-2 decision, it found that African Americans — even free ones — were not citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court. Dred Scott was a slave who had been taken by his owners to free states — that is: states where slavery was illegal. Dred Scott argued that once in a free state, he ought to be able to walk away. That’s a good argument. That’s why the Court decided to claim that African Americans just couldn’t be citizens.

In dissent, Justice John McLean noted that there was nothing in the Constitution that said that African Americans couldn’t be citizens. He noted that in five of the states at the time the Constitution was ratified, black men could, in fact, vote — indicating that they were, in fact, citizens. What’s more, there had been a case two decades earlier, Marie Louise v Marot, which was basically the Dred Scott case, but before the Louisiana Supreme Court. And it was found the opposite way.

The great villain in all of this is Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney — usually number one on the list of worst Chief Justices in history. And he didn’t stop at simply declaring all African Americans ineligible for citizenship. He did what the Roberts Court did in Citizens United v FEC — greatly expanding the scope of the case. In Dred Scott, he greatly expanded the power of slave states and indirectly hastened the Civil War. The other dissenting opinion by Benjamin Robbins Curtis was basically that if the Court had no jurisdiction, then it should shut up about territorial matters. That’s a good point, although hardly the morally and legally clear argument that McLean had made.

(Let me just note something that I think is telling. When Sarah Palin was asked what Supreme Court decisions she disagreed with besides Roe v Wade, she had no answer. Neither Dred Scott nor Plessy v Ferguson (“separate but equal”) came to her mind. This is the very definition of white privilege. Over 600,000 people died in the Civil War — our deadliest war for obvious reasons. But she just wasn’t interested in that. There were zygotes that had to be saved!)

I think today, Dred Scott v Sandford is generally considered the worst Supreme Court decision in history. And that’s saying a lot. Because as an institution, it has generally represented the most conservative impulses — stopping the country whenever it tried to expand freedom and empower the powerless. Taney and Scalia and Roberts, for that matter, are not exceptions; they are the rule.