March 28, 2015


In the Final 4!

"I have to say that one of the biggest changes in my lifetime, is the phenomenon of men wearing shorts. Men never wore shorts when I was young."

"There are few things I would rather see less, to tell you the truth. I'd just as soon see someone coming toward me with a hand grenade. This is one of the worst changes, by far. It's disgusting. To have to sit next to grown men on the subway in the summer, and they're wearing shorts? It's repulsive. They look ridiculous, like children, and I can't take them seriously. It's like any other sort of revealing clothing, in that the people you'd most like to see them on aren't wearing them. And if they are, it's probably their job to wear them. My fashion advice, particularly to men wearing shorts: Ask yourself, 'Could I make a living modeling these shorts?' If the answer is no, then change your clothes. Put on a pair of pants.... All these clothes that you see people wearing, the yoga clothes—even men wear them!—it's just another way of being in pajamas. You need more natural beauty to get away with things like that. What's so great thing about clothes is that they're artificial—you can lie, you can choose the way you look, which is not true of natural beauty. So if you're naturally beautiful, wear what you want, but that's .01% of people. Most people just aren't good looking enough to wear what they have on. They should change. They should get some slacks and a nice overcoat."

Said Fran Lebowitz, in an Elle interview that's full of readable stuff, like (about Hillary) "I think her lack of style comes naturally. I do, I really do. She has no style, zero. Of course there's millions of women like this, it's just that not everyone's looking at them constantly." And "Well, what if drag queens just really let themselves go, pretending not to try, like most women?" Like most women... including Hillary.

"When standardized tests are shared nationwide — as they now are, under the Common Core system that's been adopted in 46 states..."

"... cheating suddenly becomes a whole lot easier. Especially since teenagers now share just about everything on social media."

Computers are undermining efforts to standardize children. That's a turnabout. You'll have to write exams that can't be cheated on. That's hard to do!

"Your Beautiful, Feminine Period Stains Are Against Instagram Guidelines."

"Rupi Kaur, a Sikh poet living in Canada, posted the above image on Instagram early this week—and swiftly got hit with... 'We removed your post because it doesn't follow our Community Guidelines."

And Kaur said:
thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. pornified. and treated less than human. thank you

"Clean Reader — an e-reader app designed to ferret out, and block, profanity in novels and nonfiction..."

Anything wrong with that?
Blogger — and romance novel aficionado — Jennifer Porter has drawn up a rundown of the common replacements for words the app deems profanity. Among some of the noteworthies: from "whore" to "hussy," from "badass" to "tough" and, somewhat confusingly, from "vagina" to "bottom."
ADDED: "Chaucer used 'Belle Chose' (Pretty Thing) and 'Quondam' (Whatever) in The Canterbury Tales."

"But there's a fundamental problem with the latest Carrie movie and Carrie The Musical..."

"They both try to turn her into a heroine, and her story into one of female empowerment, and it's not."
Carrie does deal with empowerment, but it's something brand new and terrifying...

[T]his is key: Carrie's a victim, and while she may get revenge – on everyone, deserving or not – she never enjoys anything remotely approaching a feminist sense of liberation. She's bullied mercilessly at school and abused at home. The character was a composite of two girls – referred to by the aliases of Tina White and Sandra Irving – King knew during high school, both of whom eventually committed suicide. "There is a goat in every class, the kid who ... stands at the end of the pecking order," King once wrote. "This was Tina. Not because she was stupid (she wasn't), and not because her family was peculiar (it was) but because she wore the same clothes to school every day."

"What's a 'time lime'?"

An absurd question was asked of me this morning, after autocorrect discovered the puzzling fruit in my mangled effort to type "time limit." I salute the robots who humorlessly open the doors to humor. I love the idea of a Time Lime. What is it? I'm contemplating that question to the sound of this 1971 Harry Nilsson song:

IN THE COMMENTS: Horseball said: "Time Lime is the literal translation of the title under which 'A Clockwork Orange' was sold in Urdu."

"If you assumed that the man who said, 'The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe in it,' would not be pleased..."

"... that a picture of himself was to be displayed in the National Portrait Gallery, you’d be dead wrong. Yes, my dad, George Carlin, was famous for elucidating his displeasure with authorities like the government, big business, the military, and pretty much any other large institution you could name. But that was his job, and yes, of course, his personal stance. When it came to the individual versus institutions, dad almost always took the side of the individual, the underdog. He believed this was the only ethical choice to make."

That's Kelly Carlin, writing for one institution — The Smithsonian Institution — about another institution — the great George Carlin. You can see the (photographic) portrait at the link.

And here's the relaunched George Carlin website: Lots of photos there, like this one:

Kelly says that they are going to be streaming a lot of audio, from "a box of audiocassettes that my dad had kept over the years, starting with shows in the 1960s, ones that were important him, kind of seminal moments in his career."
And we've been listening to them and archiving them. And what's really surprising is that when most people think of my dad, they think of, of course, the albums and stuff, but really his HBO shows. And he was so polished and perfect on those HBO shows. And a lot of these audiocassettes and these concerts were from the '70s and '80s when he was playing on stage and experimenting still.
Wow! Thanks! Perfect. I mean, it will be perfect to get the imperfection

"Liberals used to love the First Amendment."

"But that was in an era when courts used it mostly to protect powerless people like civil rights activists and war protesters," writes Adam Liptak in The New York Times.
“Corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment,” Professor Coates wrote. The trend, he added, is “recent but accelerating.”
Hmm. I don't know. In conlaw class, I was just teaching the great 1964 landmark case — that loved-by-liberals case — New York Times v. Sullivan. But, fortunately, I've got The New York Times to set me straight. Corporations are not people.

Okay. Thanks to Adam Liptak, a man I'm noticing only because the corporate platform of The New York Times elevates him high above all the poor and puny anonymities....

And I'm fascinated by this notion that the Constitution ought to mean what would make liberals love it. Hey, Supreme Court, why don't you make the Constitution lovable again? We used to love you, First Amendment, but you changed.

Ironically, back when Liptak's liberals loved the First Amendment, a big deal was always made about how it protects the speech you hate. That was the challenge, to love the freedom itself. Seems like you changed.

Pick a year — 2024? 2028? 2032?... 2020?

I invite you to speculate: When will we have a President who is not someone we currently know about?

This question occurred to me yesterday, but it came back to mind when I was reading the NYT this morning and the sidebar invited me to read something from the archive, from 25 years ago: "First Black Elected to Head Harvard's Law Review."
''The fact that I've been elected shows a lot of progress,'' Mr. Obama said today in an interview. ''It's encouraging. But it's important that stories like mine aren't used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don't get a chance,'' he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment.'...

''For better or for worse, people will view it as historically significant,'' said Prof. Randall Kennedy, who teaches contracts and race relations law. ''But I hope it won't overwhelm this individual student's achievement.''
Is today the day you will read for the first time of a young person who is a future President?

Why am I thinking like this? I must want some distance from the current focus on the actual set of persons who are running (or walking or hobbling) for President. I mean, here's an actual title of an a current NYT column: "Why Jeb Bush Might Lose." That's the most ludicrously boring thing I've seen this morning.

"Why don’t they get a life and talk about something else? People deserve better."

From a list in Politico titled "Harry Reid’s insults: 10 greatest hits." That headline makes it sound as though he was some sort of master of the insult, perhaps not an Oscar Wilde, but at least a Don Rickles. But the closest he comes to saying anything striking/offbeat is...
When [George W.] Bush invited Reid for coffee in the Oval Office in the final weeks of his presidency, the president’s dog walked in, and Reid says he insulted the president’s pet. “Your dog is fat,” he said.
Also, this one isn't an insult per se...
“[Reid] was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African-American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.’”
... or not an insult to Obama anyway. It is an insult to Americans in general and it's a hurtful statement indirectly aimed at black people.

People do deserve better. 

Prepare to become adequately informed.

"Patients are not adequately informed about the burdens. All they’re told is, ‘You have to go on dialysis or you’ll die,’... Nobody tells them, ‘You could have up to two years without the treatment, without the discomfort, with greater independence.’”

Said Dr. Alvin H. Moss, chairman of the Coalition for Supportive Care of Kidney Patients, quoted in "Learning to Say No to Dialysis."
Do older people with advancing kidney disease really intend to sign up for all this? If they hope to reach a particular milestone — a great-grandchild’s birth, say — or value survival above all, perhaps so. But many express ambivalence....

[O]lder patients may not fully grasp what lies ahead. When they decide to discontinue dialysis, Dr. Moss said, “patients say to me, ‘Doc, it’s not that I want to die, but I don’t want to keep living like this.’”
Oh, you "older people," you need to learn... and the death panel coalition is here to propagandize adequately inform you.

March 27, 2015

"While it is not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server..."

"... it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department."

Women and their hard-fought court cases.

1.  "Italy’s highest court overturned the murder convictions of Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend on Friday, throwing out all charges and ending a long-running courtroom drama over the killing of a British student in 2007."

2. "One of Silicon Valley’s most famous venture capital firms prevailed on Friday over a former partner in a closely watched suit claiming gender discrimination.... The plaintiff, Ellen Pao, had accused the firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, of discriminating against her in the course of her employment and eventual dismissal."

"A racist song... caught on video was a fixture within a fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma, not an anomaly..."

"... the university reported Friday, and members first learned it at a gathering of the national fraternity four years ago."

It's street construction time around here.


I'm glad it's the small mountain of dirt that got placed in front of our house. Elsewhere, there's heavy machinery...


There's some noisy ripping up of everything getting started, but I'm thinking of the future. The curbs have been crumbled for the entire 30 years I've lived here. It will be startling to see sharp, intact curbs on this street for the first time.

And, no, that's not my yard sign. I don't do yard signs. I'm a distanced observer of the political scene. Cruelly neutral is my brand.

"If you weren't imagining a MALE (NUDE) engaged in PHONE SEX while wearing a SANTA HAT, well... you are now, and you're welcome."

"For the fantastic/alarming visual alone, I'm going to give that SW corner the 'Best SW Corner Of All Time' award. … The only thing I'd change about that corner is the "G" in GIMPS. I get that it's supposed to add (I think) to the overall mildly perverted feel of that corner (insofar as 'GIMPS' reminds me of 'The Gimp' from 'Pulp Fiction'), but it's a borderline offensive word (making it a verb doesn't really change that). I'd actually prefer PIMPS there, though I somehow doubt that would fly in the NYT. LIMPS or SIMPS works too. But this is hardly that important. What's important is MALE NUDE PHONE SEX SANTA HAT. *That* is a jolly good time. It's like the rest of the puzzle barely exists..."

From Rex Parker's discussion of yesterday's NYT crossword.

"Shame... is a social feeling, born from a perception of other people’s disgust, a susceptibility to their contempt and derision."

"You see yourself from the point of view of your detractors; you pelt yourself with their revulsion, and as you do you begin... to lose track of the self altogether. Someone else’s narrow, stiffened vision of who you are replaces your own mottled, expansive one. As Lewinsky listened to the recordings of her phone calls, she tells us, she heard her voice as if it belonged to a different person: 'My sometimes catty, sometimes churlish, sometimes silly self being cruel, unforgiving, uncouth.' It was 'the worst version of myself, a self I didn’t even recognize.'"

From a New Yorker article by Alexandra Schwartz called "Monica Lewinsky and the Shame Game."

"A letter found in a waste bin in Andreas Lubitz's apartment indicated he 'was declared by a medical doctor unfit to work'..."

"... Dusseldorf prosecutor Christoph Kumpa said."

And here's a NYT op-ed, written by a former pilot titled "Inside a Pilot’s Mind/After Germanwings Plane Crash, Pondering Pilot Psychology":
I flew many times with a born-again Christian who talked constantly about Adam and Eve and other Bible stories. Could his religious beliefs have caused us to handle an in-flight emergency differently? It never happened, so I can’t say. Another pilot would tell me about his crazy sex life on the road. He’d kiss his wife and kids goodbye and then become a totally different person for seven days.

But these are ordinary varieties of human behavior — nothing that would predict some catastrophic course of action....

Who was that the man who killed the Wisconsin state trooper in Fond du Lac?

We talked about this shoot out here. The topic of race came up, though the article didn't mention the race of the man, Steven Timothy Snyder, who was also shot and killed, or of the trooper, Trevor Casper. But insinuations about race crept into the comments. I was accused of hitting "a new low," because I "must have known the reaction your post would get from some of your horribly racist commenters."

Now we learn something racial about Snyder and not just that he was white:

"You are on notice that we will be watching, reading, listening and protesting coded sexism."

Said email received by NYT reporter Amy Chozick from a group called "Hillary Clinton Super Volunteers," reported at Reason, which says that the problem is that "many if not most" of the words the group says it's looking out for "have been used to describe non-Clinton candidates — some of them men — as well."

Well, of course! How else could it be code? You've got to have your deniability. You can't get off the hook that easily.

You know, I too am watching, reading, listening for the sexism in seemingly sex-neutral language, and I have been doing that for a lot longer than the 11 years of this blog. For example, women are called "strident." It's like calling black people "shiftless" or "uppity." Well, white people can be "shiftless" and "uppity" too. Yeah, but we at least know that saying "shiftless" or "uppity" about a black person is coded racism. It might get more sophisticated and questionable beyond that. Is it coded racism to call a black person "articulate" or "eloquent"? You might want to argue about that, but straight out denial is lame and shallow.

Similarly, in talking about women, there is language that those who care about the equality of women should notice. And the Hillary Clinton Super Volunteers have listed some words:

Now, obviously, these are people pushing Hillary's candidacy, and they're trying to intimidate and manipulate the media. The media can't let this cow them. Mustn't criticize Hillary. We might get called sexist for any criticism we make. That would be incredibly lame, and in fact, I think that if a female President can command that kind of privilege over speech, we'd better not have a female President. I don't want a politician that we're not free to kick around. That's dangerous!

But that's no reason to abandon the project watching for coded sexism in language. That's the reason to look not only for sexism — and racism — but for political interest. We shouldn't take statements at face value. That would be naive. There's a lot going on in language, and we ought to take a closer look at everything... including what Hillary and her people say about other women... words like "narcissistic" and "loony toon."

"In Japan there is a disturbing trend for disaffected young men to fall in love with a pillow printed with their favorite anime character and announce the pillow is their girlfriend."

"So thank goodness your boyfriend does not have such a relationship with any of his [two dozen stuffed animals]. Men have been told that women do not want testosterone-addled brutes in their lives (OK, maybe the success of Fifty Shades sends some mixed messages), and you don’t get much less brutish than a stuffed animal collection. It’s a good sign that the group is only 20 percent of what it once was and that with one exception they live in the closet. You yourself have gone through life with a special teddy bear (do you bring him to your boyfriend’s for a sleepover with his special friend?), so you’re right, you should be more accepting. If this is the only thing that bothers you about a great guy, then you need to look at your own sexist beliefs."

From Emily Yoffe's advice column. 

6 things:

1. Does objecting to one extreme — "testosterone-addled brutes" — mean you're hypocritical to accept the other extreme? That excludes a preference for someone who fits your conception of balanced, moderate, and normal.

2. I don't think people seeking a life partner should be told to "be more accepting." You'd better find somebody who's right in the zone of what you like, whatever it is. The problem I see with this woman is that she's not looking closely enough at what she herself likes. She wants an outsider to pass judgment on whether there's something wrong with the man. I'd say it's not that this woman needs to "be more accepting," but that she shouldn't deny herself the pleasure and fulfillment of accepting this man, if that's what she wants.

3. Is it "sexist" to consider writing off a man who has a big stuffed animal collection? This woman is (apparently) heterosexual, so she's already applying "sexist" judgment in her choice of a partner. If that's okay and not sexist — and what a weird world it would be if we thought we shouldn't do that — then why is it wrong, as you search for a person of the sex you prefer, to search more precisely for the manifestation of masculinity (or femininity) that you find especially appealing? The problem, as stated at #2, is that the woman is having trouble using her own thoughts and feelings and wants to import what other people think.

4. Having her own teddy bear does not obligate the woman to accept a man with huge stuffed animal collection. To have one is very different from having a big collection — in stuffed animals and in many things. But more important, you can quite appropriately want to possess various things and at the same time not want your partner to have things like that. If she discovered that her boyfriend has a big collection of makeup, the argument that she should accept it because she too has makeup is something that we easily see as silly. (Maybe the day is coming when it won't look silly per se.)

5. If the brutishness of brutish men has a physical cause — testosterone — shouldn't we be more empathetic the way we are toward other medical conditions that impair the mind? Isn't it ableist of us to direct hostility toward "testosterone-addled brutes"?

6. "Men have been told that women do not want testosterone-addled brutes in their lives...." What, exactly, have men been told and how have they adjusted? I think the message has been that women don't want violence and subordination. No sensible man should read that to mean that women want babyish men. If the man is too dumb to understand that the rejection of violence and subordination is not a rejection of masculinity, then maybe the problem is that he's too dumb. Or he just doesn't love women enough to get the message straight.

"With investigators set to turn over reports to Dane County’s district attorney Friday on the controversial police shooting of 19-year-old Tony Robinson..."

"... law enforcement and protesters are preparing for what will happen after the prosecutor announces whether he will charge the officer involved...."
As the investigation wraps up, protest leaders are already planning their response to Ozanne’s decision, and Madison Police Chief Mike Koval says his department has also been working on how it will manage demonstrations following the announcement.....

The chief asked for 24 hours’ notice before Ozanne publicizes his decision, Koval said, so police could reach out to community groups and have officers in place ahead of the announcement....

Madison’s Young, Gifted and Black Coalition... members say they don’t expect Kenny will be charged....

Koval said Thursday he believes Ozanne will likely wait until toxicology test results from Robinson are available — a process he estimated could take another two weeks....
The roll-out of information and decisions is, I take it, an aspect of the management of demonstrations.

"The German investigators said they had not found a suicide note or 'any indication of a political or religious' nature among the documents secured in Mr. Lubitz’s apartment."

"'However, documents were secured containing medical information that indicates an illness and corresponding treatment by doctors,' prosecutors said in a statement...."
Carsten Spohr, the chief executive of Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, said on Thursday that Mr. Lubitz had passed the company’s health checks with “flying colors.”

“He was 100 percent flightworthy without any limitations,” Mr. Spohr said.

This Senate seat is lost.

Harry Reid will not seek reelection.

March 26, 2015

That was nerve-wracking.

Celebrating Wisconsin's victory.

"I grew up listening to classic rock, and I'll tell you sort of an odd story: My music taste changed on 9/11."

"And it's very strange. I actually intellectually find this very curious. But on 9/11, I didn't like how rock music responded. And country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me. And I have to say, it just is a gut-level. I had an emotional reaction that says, these are my people... So ever since 2001, I listen to country music. But I'm an odd country music fan, because I didn't listen to it prior to 2001."

Said Ted Cruz, quoted in Rolling Stone (where I got via Jaltcoh, who said "On 21st-century rock music, I don't like how Ted Cruz responded").

I can understand feeling so different because of 9/11 that your preference for music would changed. You might resist loud, harsh guitars and self-involved, cynical words. You might find succor in mellower instrumentation and sincere-sounding lyrics. But Cruz's isn't only talking about how he felt, subjectively. He does speak of what "resonated with" him, on a "gut-level." But he's also passing judgment on musicians, how they responded.

"The frustrating/strange/down right annoying thing is, I frequently hear things like 'that's not a real job'...:

"... 'you can't possibly make enough money doing that!,' 'that's only a temporary thing, right?' and '"what are you going to do after this?' But what is a 'real job'?.... Is blogging not a real job because you can't go to school for it or because you don't need a resume to do it? Is it not a real job because you don't need an interview to fill the position or because you don't personally know anyone who does it?... Whatever your answer I assure you, blogging is a real job.... I pay all my own bills with the money I make blogging.... It needs to be acknowledged that any way of supporting yourself even if it isn't traditional, so long as you aren't stealing or hurting anyone, is a real job. It seems awfully silly to criticize someone for making a living doing something they love and enjoy, doesn't it?..."

 Writes The Dainty Squid (on a blog I quite like).

I'm all for giving respect to those who can make their living doing free-lance writing (such as blogging), but part of the respect I'd like to give is that you are free lance, you are independent, you have avoided getting a job.

You ask the question "What is a job?" You made that the centerpiece of your thinking, apparently because you're letting people get into your head, demeaning you with the statement that you don't have a job, and that tracks you into arguing for a broader meaning for the word "job" so that what you do gets to be "a job."

But why do you want that? Because it's the word other people use to make you feel bad about your freedom and success?

I'd say: Get the upper hand in these conversations with jerks. You're lucky not to have to work for somebody else in the structured position known as "a job" (to use the narrow definition of the word you'd prefer to stretch). You're an entrepreneur.

When did the job become the standard of a worthy, successful life?

ADDED: I'd say more about the word "job," but it was only a couple months ago that I wrote "5 things about the word 'job.'"

"There was a 'deliberate attempt to destroy the aircraft'..."

"... Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said Thursday about the Germanwings crash."
The co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings flight “accelerated the descent” of the plane when he was alone in the cockpit, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said Thursday. That can only be done deliberately, he said. The co-pilot was alive until impact, Robin said, citing the sound of breathing in the cockpit.

The most plausible explanation of the crash is that the copilot, “through deliberate abstention, refused to open the cabin door … to the chief pilot, and used the button” to cause the plane to lose altitude....
ADDED: Here's a much more substantial report in the NYT report:
[Brice Robin] said it appeared that the intention of the co-pilot, identified as Andreas Lubitz, had been “to destroy the aircraft.”... He said there was no indication that this was a terrorist attack, and that Mr. Lubitz was not known to law enforcement officials...

The prosecutor said that the authorities had a full transcript of the final 30 minutes of the voice recorder. “During the first 20 minutes, the pilots talk normally,” he said, saying they spoke in a “cheerful” and “courteous” way. “There is nothing abnormal happening,” he said...

“You can hear the commanding pilot ask for access to the cockpit several times,” the prosecutor said. “He identifies himself, but the co-pilot does not provide any answer. You can hear human breathing in the cockpit up until the moment of impact,” he said.

March 25, 2015

"The 1960s Dance Craze That NOBODY Remembers…I’m Crying From Laughing So Hard!"

Well, hell. Go ahead and act like that. Whether the Nitty Gritty is a specific dance or not, I remember the single, and I accept this as absolutely core 60s dancing:

"In what might be the ultimate insult in technology circles, Ms. Hermle also said Ms. Pao was not a 'thought leader,'..."

"... which is Silicon Valley jargon for someone who can tell a room of their peers and superiors things they did not know and make them appreciate it."

From the NYT article "At Kleiner Discrimination Trial, a Battle Between Legal Powerhouses." This is a lawsuit for $16 million over the firing of a female who claims that "Men were judged by one standard and women by another."
The trial has garnered widespread attention because, whatever the truth of what happened to [Ellen] Pao, it is undeniable that women have a minimal presence in venture capital.

"American warplanes began airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Tikrit late Wednesday..."

"... entering a struggling Iraqi offensive to retake the city for the first time after more than three weeks of remaining on the sidelines."
Even as some Iraqi security officials began worrying about the absence of airstrikes, Hadi al-Ameri, the prominent leader of the group of Shiite militias known here as popular mobilization committees, criticized any outreach toward the United States.

“Some of the weaklings in the army say that we need the Americans, but we say we do not need the Americans,” Mr. Ameri said.

"It is easy to read the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama as a mostly inconsequential case..."

"... giving a small, and perhaps only temporary, victory for minority voters in a dispute over the redrawing of Alabama’s legislative districts after the 2010 census," writes Richard Hasen at SCOTUSblog.
Indeed, although the Supreme Court sent this “racial gerrymandering” case back for a wide and broad rehearing before a three-judge court, Alabama will be free to junk its plan and start over with one that may achieve the same political ends and keep it out of legal trouble. But Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent sees the majority as issuing “a sweeping holding that will have profound implications for the constitutional ideal of one person, one vote, for the future of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and for the primacy of the State in managing its own elections.” Time will tell if Justice Scalia’s warning against the implications of what he termed a “fantastical” majority opinion is more than typical Scalian hyperbole....
 ADDED: Here's the PDF of the opinion, which I can't read just yet.

"The Supreme Court is giving a former UPS driver another chance to prove her claim of discrimination after the company did not offer her lighter duty when she was pregnant."

"The vote was 6-3 in Young's favor. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion."
The outcome reflects a "middle ground" that Justice Elena Kagan suggested during arguments in early December. Courts must now re-examine Young's case with a more accepting view of the discrimination claim. UPS and other employers facing similar suits still are able to argue their policies were legal because they were based on seniority or some other acceptable reason.
The Court appears to reject both sides' arguments about the meaning of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.... The Court chooses an interpretation of its own. The plaintiff, a pregnant woman, under the Court's approach will be required to show that she belongs to the protected class, that she sought accommodation, that the employer did not accommodate her, and that it did accommodate others similar in their ability or inability to work.
So, apparently, it's a minimalist, moderate approach attuned to the particular circumstances of this case. The PDF of the opinion is here.  The dissenters are Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy. Kennedy seems like the interesting vote. Let's read that. Kennedy also joins Scalia's dissent, which he says he did because  "[m]any other workers with health-related restrictions were not accommodated either," and because "there is no showing here of animus or hostility to pregnant women." But he writes his own separate opinion to associate himself with the "societal concern" about the particular problems of women in the workplace. Pregnancy can be "serious disadvantage." It's "an issue of national importance." And there are a lot of statutes that "honor and safeguard the important contributions women make to both the workplace and the American family." Please don't think Justice Kennedy lacks empathy toward the interests of women!

"I’m not going to get my own room, am I?" Mariel Hemingway asked Woody Allen... when she was 18 and he was in his early 40s.

They were making the movie "Manhattan" together, and he'd been trying to get her to go to Paris with him. When he — as Howard Kurtz puts it — "fumbled for his glasses," she announced: "I can’t go to Paris with you."

The headline chez Kurtz (at Fox News) is: "Young Mariel Hemingway had to rebuff Woody Allen’s advances."

Is that fair? I know it's fun to kick Woody Allen around, but "rebuff... advances" creates a picture of him groping her. And "Young Mariel Hemingway" suggests an underage female (like the character Hemingway played in "Manhattan"). But it was a powerful and not-all-that-old movie star inviting an adult female into an old-school romantic adventure. I mean — it's a romance cliché! — Paris.

Yeah, older men like younger women and trips to Paris are tempting. It may be a little hard to say no, but I can't believe there was that much scheming and trapping going on here, because how smart do you have to be — and I hear Woody's a genius — to figure out that you get the young lady to isolate herself with you in Paris by saying "Of course, you'll have your own room, and it will be a beautiful room in this charming hotel, blah blah blah. I would simply love to show you Paris, blah blah blah, museums... restaurants... the Seine blah, blah, blah"" You figure out how to lure her into your room after you're there.

"[T]hen a big group of people showed up just as the kids were treating the memorial more like a jungle gym and the parents were laughing."

"Then the veterans showed up, and they looked hurt more than angry. They were quiet."

NOTE: Meade and I have had encounters here in Madison over veterans monuments — here, here, here, and here.

"State trooper, bank robbery suspect kill each other in shootout in Fond du Lac."

Last night, in Wisconsin, another shooting of a citizen by a cop.

In this case, we will see no protests about a police officer resorting too quickly to the use of deadly force.

Did Anthony Kennedy just reveal the outcome in King v. Burwell?

That's the pending case about whether there can be subsidies on the health insurance exchanges set up in the states by the federal government. On Monday, Justice Kennedy, testifying before a House committee on the court’s budget, said:
It is not novel or new for justices to be concerned that they are making so many decisions that affect a democracy. And we think a responsible, efficient, responsive legislative and executive branch in the political system will alleviate some of that pressure. We routinely decide cases involving federal statutes, and we say, “Well, if this is wrong, the Congress will fix it.” But then we hear that Congress can’t pass the bill one way or the other, that there’s gridlock. And some people say, “Well that should affect the way we interpret the statutes.” That seems to me a wrong proposition. We have to assume that we have three fully functioning branches of the government, that are committed to proceed in good faith and with good will toward one another to resolve the problems of this republic.
That is, Justice Kennedy clearly and soundly rejected the argument that the inability of Congress to fix a problem should not keep the Court from deciding that there is a problem with a statute that it is the role of Congress, not the courts, to fix.

When this problem came up at oral argument, Justice Scalia said something that — as I explained here — some people thought was amusingly out of touch:
What about Congress? You really think Congress is just going to sit there while all of these disastrous consequences ensue? I mean, how often have we come out with a decision such as the ­­ you know, the bankruptcy court decision? Congress adjusts, enacts a statute that takes care of the problem. It happens all the time. Why is that not going to happen here?
The Solicitor General drew a laugh with the response "Well, this Congress?"

This Congress can't (or won't) fix it, so that was supposed to be a reason why the Supreme Court should fix the statute for them. In Monday's testimony, Anthony Kennedy called that "a wrong proposition." It's not the Court's role to perceive or predict gridlock. The Court must "assume" a "fully functioning" Congress. That is, the Court's approach to statutory interpretation — its idea of where the judicial role ends and when a problem with a statute needs a legislative solution — remains the same. The dysfunction of Congress doesn't change the function of the judicial branch, and Congress's inability to rewrite statutes does not give rise to an otherwise nonexistent judicial power to rewrite statutes.

Justice Kennedy is standing tough on separation of powers. Get ready!

Now, Kennedy could still find a way to use his idea of proper interpretation and still reach the result the government wants, and the difficulty of a congressional fix could affect the decision even if that's a dirty little secret not fit to mention in the written opinion. And, of course, as in the last Obamacare case, the 5th vote for the government could come from Chief Justice John Roberts.

So to answer the question in the post title: It's impossible to give a yes. But Kennedy revealed something that weighs against victory for the government.

"Dancing in public squares represents the collective aspect of Chinese culture, but now it seems that the overenthusiasm of participants has dealt it a harmful blow with disputes over noise and venues."

"So we have to guide it with national standards and regulations," said Liu Guoyong, who heads China's General Administration of Sport’s mass-fitness department.
"That’s ridiculous," said Xiao Kai, 50, taking a break from dancing at an office complex that drew more than 100 women and a smattering of men. "This isn’t a business. Dancing is free and voluntary, so why does the government need to get involved?"...

[China's official news agency] said that in the future public dancing would no longer vary from place to place but would become “a nationally unified, scientifically crafted new activity that brings positive energy to the people.”

March 24, 2015

At the Ankle-Deep-in-Dalmatian Café...


... where did you get those boots?

(That's the latest photo by Meade at The Puparazzo.)

"If We Don’t Stand Up As One, More Farkhundas Will Incinerate in the Inferno of Fundamentalism!"

"The hacking to death of Farkhunda was not an accident, but rather a product of a culture of traitor-nurturing and lionising of thugs who since decades — particularly during the last fourteen years — have ruled the country."

("[T]he victim’s father, Mohammed Nadir, said that the attack stemmed from a dispute between Farkhunda, an observant Muslim scholar, and a cleric who sold amulets at the Shah-Do Shamshera shrine in central Kabul. After the young woman criticized the selling of charms, the cleric responded by making the false accusation that she had burned the Quran, and she was brutally assaulted by men enraged by her supposed blasphemy.")

"I mean, suppose somebody submitted a license plate to Texas that said, 'Vote Republican,' ­­and Texas said, yes, that's fine."

"And next person submitted a license plate to Texas and it said 'Vote Democratic,' and Texas said, no, we're not going to approve that one. What about that?" asked Justice Kagan in yesterday's oral argument about whether Texas could reject the specialty license plate proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. (We talked about the case yesterday here.)

The lawyer for Texas said — lamely — "Yeah, Justice Kagan, I don't think our position would necessarily allow that...." And she was all "But why... why wouldn't it allow that?"

Here's the oral argument transcript (PDF). The lawyer (Scott A. Keller) had no good answer, as far as I can tell.

I'm skeptical.

About what, I don't know. It was 60 years ago.

From the Althouse home-movie archive.

"In at least 20 incidents, taxi drivers blocked Uber cars as they attempted to pick up passengers, threw eggs and in some cases dragged passengers onto the street..."

"... Filip Nuytemans, Uber’s general manager in Belgium, said Monday."

"But the Senate Judiciary Committee is emerging as a serious buzz kill for the pro-reform set."

"The powerful panel is stacked with some of the most senior lawmakers in Congress, many of whom came to power during a tough-on-crime era of the drug wars that saw stiffer penalties for drug possession. Several of them openly gripe about what they call the Obama administration’s lack of enforcement of existing federal drug laws — and they certainly aren’t willing to send a signal that Congress is OK with the movement to liberalize pot."

ADDED: In the last couple days, my position on the legalization of marijuana has changed. Oddly enough, it's because of something I read about Ibsen! I don't have the time right now to explain my train of thought, but I can give you the passage — from Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals" — that got me started on it:
There was one aspect of Ibsen’s vanity which verged on the ludicrous... He had a lifelong passion for medals and orders. In fact, he went to embarrassing lengths to get them...

[T]here is ample evidence for Ibsen’s passion since he insisted on displaying his growing galaxy of stars on every possible occasion. As early as 1878 he is reported to have worn all of them, including one like a dog-collar round his neck, at a club dinner. The Swedish painter Georg Pauli came across Ibsen sporting his medals (not the ribbons alone but the actual stars) in a Rome street. At times he seems to have put them on virtually every evening. He defended his practice by saying that, in the presence of ‘younger friends’, it ‘reminds me that I need to keep within certain limits.’ All the same, people who had invited him to dinner were always relieved when he arrived without them, as they attracted smiles and even open laughter as the wine circulated....

"Dividing the world into males and female is such a big part of the culture that it can seem impossible, and perhaps even aggravating, to try to think outside those categories."

"This is not only a problem for squares stuck in a binary way of thinking — many of the terms associated with genderqueerness end up referring back to masculinity or femininity in some way, which is a bit tricky if the ideal is to move beyond the gender binary entirely."

If the ideal is... I find that sentence so amusing because it violates its own standards. Isn't there something square about having an ideal? Squares — we're told — are people who are stuck. But the writer of that sentence — Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart at Slate — is stuck on a way of thinking, which is that the squares are those icky people and we'd better not be squares! We'd better not be stuck! We need to move beyond the place where they are stuck, because we are the un-stuck, the non-squares, and we have an ideal, which is not being stuck where those others people are stuck.

It's tricky, you say. Yes, it is. It's tricky to get so wound up in something that most people don't bother with, especially with your fixated idea that those other people are stuck on "a binary way of thinking" — which is, ironically, a binary way of thinking. Who are those other people you're railing against? I think an awful lot of people, perhaps most people, are not in the 2 categories Vitiello Urquhart posits in her binary construct. They follow the obvious and benevolent practice of regarding individuals as individuals. That can work for the square and the hip and for the grand set of persons of mixed square/hipness.

Maybe, regarding individuals as individuals is just too simple, and Vitiello Urquhart wants something tricky to do. Whoever attempts that trick can be judged as an individual... an individual who is interested in doing that particular trick. Is it entertaining, is it enlightening, is it loving, is it beautiful, is it helpful, is it generous, is it done for the purpose of tweaking others and distancing yourself from those whom you regard as icky... ?

"[W]ere it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

"But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them. I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did any where. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves."

Thomas Jefferson, January 16, 1787.

If the UVa frat sues Rolling Stone, "they are opening up every young man in that fraternity to scrutiny — their drinking habits, and I’m sure some of them are underage..."

"... their sexual habits, and their overall conduct....  It just seems like there’s a whole host of issues that could be there, and it would be unfair and unwise to subject these young men to that," Charles Tobin — who specializes in defamation law — told WaPo's Terrence McCoy.

In addition to that skeletons-in-the-closet problem, McCoy points out the problem of a group claiming defamation:
The Rolling Stone article doesn’t specifically name any student beyond pseudonyms and descriptions that aren’t matched by any member of the frat house....

For any group to have a justifiable claim, wrote Ellyn Tracy Marcus in the California Law Review in 1983, the group needs to be small. "As group size increases, courts become skeptical that the defamation could reasonably be understood to refer to any individual group member. … Reasonable persons do not take literally statements defaming groups of people, and understand such statements only as generalizations or exaggerations."
I'm looking at that law review article, and it's talking about, for example, a case where individual D.C. taxi drivers tried to sue The Washington Post for an article portraying D.C. cab drivers as rude louts. Rolling Stone besmirched the name of a specific frat. Anyway, McCoy also links to Eugene Volokh's analysis (from last December, before the recent news that the police investigation has found absolutely no evidence to support the rape anecdote told by Rolling Stone). Volokh discusses "defamation of a group," but then moves on to the separate topic of "Defamation of the fraternity": "Corporations and unincorporated associations that have recognized legal identities (such as unions, partnerships and the like) can also sue for defamation that causes injury to their organizational reputation, independently of whether any member was defamed."

I'm not a libel law expert, but I see the "group libel" problem as addressing whether individual frat members could successfully claim to have been defamed because their frat was defamed. If the frat sues as an entity, there's no "group libel" problem.

"According to a fresh findings announced over the weekend... the Nazis made it deeper into the Argentine jungle in search of refuge than anyone imagined."

"Hundreds of miles north, along the border with Paraguay, rises the Parque Teyú Cuare. A path winds into the nature preserve, opening to a trove of 'mysterious buildings' that are 'battered by time... What were these buildings? Who built them? For what?'"

"One of the benefits of having been right-of-center in college was that my political and philosophical views were constantly challenged."

"There was no 'safe space' — and I was better for it. I often felt that I received a better education than many of my peers precisely because I was not able to hold unchallenged assumptions or adopt unquestioned premises."

"It’s no longer a way for a working-class guy with street smarts and a huge native intelligence to make a lot of money."

"It’s now the domain of the kinds of technical specialists who are really winners in other parts of the economy as well," said the cultural anthropologist, Caitlin Zaloom, on the occasion of the closing of the futures pits in the Chicago Board of Trade.

"Regardless of the hormone replacements I’m taking, I am now in menopause," writes Angelina Jolie, who is 39...

... about her laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
Two years ago I wrote about my choice to have a preventive double mastectomy.... [This was] a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe. It puts a woman into forced menopause. So I was readying myself physically and emotionally, discussing options with doctors, researching alternative medicine....

I will not be able to have any more children.... But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared.... [I]t is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue....
ADDED: I don't know how seriously Ms. Jolie took alternative medicine, but I think it's good that she mentioned it here the way she did. She researched it. That's all she said. That throws out a line to the many people who think, when they find themselves in similar circumstances, I want to try the "natural"/alternative approach. It's tempting to many people, including many intelligent people, notably Steve Jobs. I could name individuals in my family — people I know were intelligent and who had access to science-based medicine — who took the alternative route and missed the opportunity to address deadly medical problems at the right time. It is extremely valuable for a celebrity as big and well-loved as Ms. Jolie to call people back from that precipice with the gentle words "discussing options with doctors, researching alternative medicine" followed by the decision to have dramatically life-changing surgery. That's a memorable lesson with a stamp of celebrity authority that's really useful to the vast numbers of people who don't automatically realize that they ought to be rational and go with science.

March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz goes all John Lennon... [AND: I'm sorry I started out like this!]

ADDED: Here's the full video of the announcement:

AND: I'm watching. And right at the beginning — at 1:38 — he says "Imagine a little girl, growing up in Wilmington, Delaware." Whoa! You had me at little girl, growing up in Wilmington, Delaware... I was a little girl, growing up in Wilmington, Delaware!

ADDED: Let the record show, that at 4:58, I cried.

AND: I'm sorry I led off with the joke on "Imagine." This is a truly powerful speech. Just brilliant.

ALSO: Here's the full transcript.

I see that Think Progress has an article titled "Ted Cruz Just Laid Out The Most Anti-Woman Agenda Yet." I've listened to the whole speech and I can't imagine what it refers to. I've read the article at the link, and I really don't know. Seems to be that Cruz supports policies that, in the opinion of Think Progress, would not serve the interests of women.

The Supreme Court refuses to hear the Wisconsin voter ID case, which will now go into effect.

"The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case was a surprise, as the court last year temporarily blocked the law for the November election, and voters were not required to show photo identifications in order to vote," writes Adam Liptak in the NYT.
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, upheld the law, reasoning that it was similar to one from Indiana that the Supreme Court had sustained in 2008 in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board.

The full Seventh Circuit deadlocked 5 to 5 on a request to rehear the Wisconsin case, drawing a sharp dissent from Judge Richard A. Posner, who had written the 2007 appeals court opinion upholding the Indiana law, later affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Civil rights groups had hoped the Supreme Court would use the Wisconsin case, Frank v. Walker, No. 14-803, to reconsider its 2008 decision....

"Why is it that prosecutors and prison administrators are among the first to understand that extreme religious liberty is dangerous and antithetical to core American values?"

"The answer is that many religiously motivated criminals appear in their courts and jail cells. Accordingly, they understand through experience that religious liberty sits atop a slippery slope that lands in the criminal code and a well of human suffering."

Writes lawprof Marci Hamilton in a tribute to the recently deceased. David Frohnmayer, former Oregon Attorney General, Dean of the University of Oregon Law School, and President of the University of Oregon.
Thankfully, Frohnmayer was the Attorney General of Oregon when Employment Div. v. Smith was litigated, because he had the knowledge and wisdom to argue that the drug counselors in that case – who had signed an agreement not to use illegal drugs or they would lose their jobs, and then used peyote as part of a religious ceremony – did not have a First Amendment free exercise right to break Oregon’s criminal laws or to receive unemployment compensation.

Unfairly maligned then and still by those who are so blinded by ideology they refuse to see the facts, history will lionize him for his role in Smith....
Smith is the reason why statutes like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act were passed. It said that there's no right under the Free Exercise Clause to exemptions from the neutral, generally applicable actions of government.

Back in the 1950s, when everyone smoked, grandfathers taught toddlers the skill of taking a cigarette out of the pack and putting it in the mouth.

Quite a few of you commented on the smoking in the old home movies I'm editing — here and here — and I'm actually working on a little video that's all about the smoking. The foundational clip for that edit is these 9 seconds of Pop (my father's father) showing me how to take a cigarette out of the pack and put it in his mouth. He seems to be encouraging me to take a cigarette for myself before Mom intervenes.

"Initially, I began with the intention to soundly roast UW’s diversity initiatives."

"Armed with my frustration, I was prepared to call the Office of the Vice Provost on Diversity and Climate and demand what progress had been made with their lengthy, complex resolutions that, as of yet, have not seemed to make waves of any kind in a long-stagnant sea of overwhelming whiteness.... I can’t commend them for their success, but I also cannot condemn them for what I thought was an apathetic and ignorant attitude toward minority experiences on campus.... However, we need tangible evidence that progress is being made...."

Writes a University of Wisconsin—Madison freshman in the student newspaper.

The NYT public editor takes back her criticism of the NYT in the reporting of the Ferguson shooting.

Margaret Sullivan regrets her accusation that the Times reporters enaged in "false balance" and gave "dubious equivalency" to anonymous sources:
Giving implicit credence to the named sources who described Michael Brown as having his hands up as he was fired on by Officer Darren Wilson, I criticized the use of unnamed sources who offered opposing information: They said that the officer had reason to fear Mr. Brown. I even went so far as to call those unnamed sources “ghosts” because readers had so little ability to evaluate their identity and credibility.

Now that the Justice Department has cleared Mr. Wilson in an 86-page report that included the testimony of more than 40 witnesses, it’s obvious to me that it was important to get that side of the story into the paper.

"A girl tries to prove her academic seriousness by writing in her application essay that rather than curtail a discussion with her French teacher, she urinated on herself."

"A boy tries to demonstrate his pluck in the face of adversity by writing that he’s undiscouraged by the fact that his genitalia are small."

From a book review titled "In 'Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be,' Frank Bruni Examines College Admissions Mania."

(You can the book here.)

"Why should we as Texas want to be reminded of a legalized system of involuntary servitude, dehumanization, rape, mass murder?"

Said a state senator at a hearing over a specialty license plate proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans:

The plate was rejected, and today, the U.S. Supreme Court hears argument on whether that rejection violated the First Amendment.

"New York Republican voters are all over the lot with four — count 'em, four — candidates in double digits and no one in command."

A new Quinnipiac poll.

"What I'd like to know is if he was separated at birth from George McFly."

Says John, commenting (with pictures) on the news story "Ted Cruz to Announce on Monday He Plans to Run for President."

America, my density has brought me to you.

ADDED: Actually, it looked like this:

Hey, look what happened.


It's more than a sprinkling!


The good thing about this is that the kids won't be tricked into going out in T-shirts and shorts. There are many newcomers to Madison who haven't yet figured out that you can't guess the temperature looking at the calendar. There are plenty of others who just don't care what the temperature is and refuse to cover their bare arms and legs in the springtime, but even they, perhaps, will show some respect for the in-your-face cold weather that is snow. At least they won't be out in flip-flops.

March 22, 2015

New Year's Eve, circa 1955.

At our house in Newark, Delaware, this was going on:

(From my edits of old home movies. My mother is the blonde. My father is the one I showed you 3 posts down — that is to say, not the man on whose lap you will see my mother sitting.)

At the Wisconsin Café...


... we won!

How are you doing?

"Why does law’s power and ubiquity require law school?"

"Because law school teaches students not only what the law is but also what it can be," writes Harvard lawprof Noah Feldman.

Yeah, but do law schools teach subject-verb agreement?

Or am I thinking only of grammar as it is and not also as it can be?

Maybe "law’s power and ubiquity" are — in a subtler manner of thinking, in a truer, better world — really just one thing: the big amazingness of law.

8mm movies of my father.

I used Legacybox to transfer 10 reels of 8mm movies from the early 1950s to video. An hour and 39 minutes of movies produced about 33 minutes of material that's interesting, intra-family. From that, I'm making some shorter clips. This one is, quite simply, my father, Richard Althouse.

The Badgers and the stenographer.

Those with skills appreciate skills, and because they are Badgers, they appreciate them adorably:

"But basketball players increasingly cover their lower bodies, mostly out of fashion, partly out of protection, sometimes out of prudish modesty."

"In a trend on full display at the N.C.A.A. men’s tournament, skin is concealed behind the triple protection of shorts hemmed below the kneecap, socks raised to the calf and a base layer of tights underneath."

Time to get rid of the shorts!

Remember that in ballet, men wore shorts over their tights...

... until they didn't....

Outré basketball commentary of the day.

I'm not much of a sports person, though I have gone to a few baseball games in my life — including seeing Mark Fidrych at Tiger Stadium in 1976. And — even though, as a teenager, I wished for football to just end — I've come to enjoy sitting around with Meade watching Packers games on television. But I do not like basketball. I want the Badgers to win everything, of course, but I'm a complete outsider to basketball.

So I have my outré commentary. 5 days ago, I called it "the indoor game with unusually large people — men in silky skorts — in a cramped, squeaky place." 2 days ago, I commented on the chairs:
[T]hey bring chairs out onto the field of play during time outs so they can sit and talk. They never bring chairs out in baseball or football. Chairs! Ridiculous!
See what I mean? Outré commentary. You know what outré means, don't you?
bizarre, bizarro, cranky, crazy, curious, eccentric, erratic, far-out, funky, funny, kinky, kooky... offbeat, off-kilter, off-the-wall, outlandish, out-of-the-way, odd, peculiar, quaint, queer, queerish, quirky, remarkable, rum [chiefly British], screwy, spaced-out, strange, wacky... way-out, weird, weirdo, wild
So I'm reading about last night's big upset, fragments of which I saw out of the corner of my eye as I edited home movies from the 1950s, did the Sunday crossword on the iPad, and chatted on the telephone about the TV show "Shameless." "Did a big upset just happen?" I asked upon getting off the phone. Yeah, it kind of did. Good, I like upsets. Upsets seem exciting. So, this morning, I was reading "North Carolina State Adds to Its Lore by Shocking Top-Seeded Villanova" in the NYT:
North Carolina State pummeled the Wildcats in the paint, outrebounding them by 45-32. And the Wolfpack complemented that strong play down low — forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and Lennard Freeman each had a double-double — with dynamic guard play. 
Outrebounding. What is that, some sort of bizarro, eccentric, erratic, funky, kinky, kooky, outlandish, spaced-out, weirdo, wacky bounding? Now, that I would like to see. I'm just about to express my fascination with this new basketball word I've discovered in the New York Times when I see that it's out-rebounding, not outré-bounding and that my hope for something screwy and oh-but-they're-so-spaced-out about basketball is shattered.

"Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning..."

"The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma."

Judith Shulevitz — in a NYT op-ed titled "In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas" — describes a room set up by students at Brown University in response to the news that a libertarian would be debating with a feminist about sexual assault on campus.

Much as I think students should be challenged to think about difficult matters and not babied, I would like to give some credit to the students who came up with that particular safe room, going to such an extreme with the Play-Doh and all. It shows some sense of humor and light-heartedness. Actually, it could be read as making fun of the trigger-warning mentality.

This got me thinking about my favorite poem:
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—   
One clover, and a bee,   
And revery.   
The revery alone will do   
If bees are few.
I'm thinking: The Play-Doh alone will do....

Related: "Grownups Pay Big Bucks to Attend NYC 'Adult Preschool.'"

"But abolishing high school would not just benefit those who are at the bottom of its hierarchies."

"Part of the shared legacy of high school is bemused stories about people who were treated as demigods at seventeen and never recovered. A doctor I hang out with tells me that former classmates who were more socially successful in high school than he was seem baffled that he, a quiet youth who made little impression, could be more professionally successful, as though the qualities that made them popular should have effortlessly floated them through life. It’s easy to laugh, but there is a real human cost...  I’ve learned from doctors that you don’t have to have a cure before you make a diagnosis. Talk of abolishing high school is just my way of wondering whether so many teenagers have to suffer so much. How much of that suffering is built into a system that is, however ubiquitous, not inevitable? 'Every time I drive past a high school, I can feel the oppression. I can feel all those trapped souls who just want to be outside,' a woman recalling her own experience wrote to me recently. 'I always say aloud, "You poor souls."'"

From a Harper's Magazine article by Rebecca Solnit called "Abolish High School." You'll need a subscription to read the whole thing, but I wanted to alert you to its existence. The proposal in the title doesn't seem to be more than a rhetorical device, or the attack would be obvious: Isn't the cure worse than the disease? She anticipates that with "you don’t have to have a cure before you make a diagnosis."

"The answer to #3 is #3."