May 21, 2018

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upholds employer-employee arbitration agreements that provide for individual proceedings.

In an opinion by Justice Gorsuch, it says the text of the federal Arbitration Act is clear and the National Labor Relations Board wrongly found a way to avoid it. Justice Ginsburg writes for the dissenters (joined by Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan). As SCOTUSblog excerpts from the dissenting opinion:
"It is the result," she says, "of take-it-or-leave-it labor contracts harking back to the type called 'yellow dog,' and of the readiness of this Court to enforce those unbargained-for agreements. The [Federal Arbitration Act] demands no such suppression for the right of workers to take concerted action for their 'mutual aid or protection.'"

Concern of dissent is that individual claims tend to be small, so that it's not necessarily worth the expense to pursue individually, but now they can't pursue together either.

Justice Ginsburg is now reading from her dissenting opinion. This is a relatively rare and significant move.
This is a big win for management — Epic Systems, Inc. v. Lewis.

ADDED: I'll excerpt this from the majority opinion:
[The employees] don’t suggest that their arbitration agreements were extracted, say, by an act of fraud or duress or in some other unconscionable way that would render any contract unenforceable. Instead, they object to their agreements precisely because they require individualized arbitration proceedings instead of class or collective ones. And by attacking (only) the individualized nature of the arbitration proceedings, the employees’ argument seeks to interfere with one of arbitration’s fundamental attributes.

I guess Exley is — what? — her dog?

Here's the "pustule" thing she retweeted (with the comment "I knew he was rotten but I thought it was on the inside"):

Maddie Poppe sings Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide"...

... on the "American Idol" finale last night. The results are revealed tonight, in a show that will include, among other things, Maddie Poppe singing her audition song, "Rainbow Connection," with Kermit the Frog. I don't know what you like to watch on TV but Maddie Poppe singing "Rainbow Connection" with Kermit the Frog sounds like the best thing that's been on TV in years.

Here's the audition version of "Rainbow Connection" (one of my all-time favorite songs):

ADDED: "If not for american idol i may have never heard her artistry.she is so cute.when i hear her sing it makes me want to ride a merry go round at the county fair" — a comment on this video from last year, before the TV-show competition began:

"Political correctness: a force for good?"

A debate with Michael Eric Dyson and Michelle Goldberg for the proposition and Stephen Fry and Jordan Peterson against.

"New York City is rife with scents that make it a diverse 'smellscape'..."

According to "New York Today: Smelling Your Way to Work" (NYT).
On one recent work-bound walk to the F train, I was puzzled to meet a half dozen separate smells along just one block. Garbage, which seemed peculiar on a decently clean sidewalk; skunk, which left me wondering how prevalent the animals are in the city; cookies, which nearly caused me to detour; and burned rubber, then grass, then dish soap.

The scents may come from miles away, according to Kate McLean, a Ph.D. candidate at the Royal College of Art in London, whose research has focused on mapping urban “smellscapes.”...

She noted... subway stations and pretzel stands... [and] a composite of fried garlic, wheat grass and tarmac.... “The smell from the sidewalk, and the reflective qualities of the tarmac, and garlic — it’s very, very New York. It’s healthy living alongside the traffic alongside the heat.”
McClean conducts "smellwalks" for tourists. And here's one of her "smellmaps."

"Socialism Is on a Winning Streak."

It's John Nichols, at The Nation.
From the 1910s through the 1940s, Socialist Party members served as state legislators, mayors, city councilors and school board members. The Pennsylvania party, with its deep roots in Reading, produced national Socialist leaders, including candidates for president and vice president....

But the dry spell is over. Socialists have been on an electoral winning streak in some parts of the country for a number of years—Socialist Alternative’s Kshama Sawant made her electoral breakthrough in 2013, winning a major race for the Seattle City Council—but the results from western Pennsylvania in the past two years have been particularly striking. And, now, national observers are starting to take note. “Democratic Socialists scores big wins in Pennsylvania,” declared CNN this week, while The New Yorker announced: “A Democratic-Socialist Landslide in Pennsylvania.”

... “We’re turning the state the right shade of red tonight,” declared Arielle Cohen, the co-chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of DSA....

Official logo of the Democratic Socialists of America via Wikipedia.

ADDED: About that official logo. I presume the white and black outlines for the shaking hands are intended to represent white and black people coming together in socialism. Why then is white the color for the outlining of the rose? It seems to convey the dominance of white. You might try to defend the design by saying the socialists want to say that there is white supremacy and it needs to be recognized in order to be fought, but portraying white supremacy as a rose would suggest that it's good. And, in any event, the red rose (according to the above-linked Wikipedia article) is a traditional symbol of socialism. The logo infuses the symbol of socialism with whiteness, the whiteness that is the white hand that shakes the black hand. It seems to say that white people welcome black people into what is a white enclave.

"In no way would a fourth-hand report from a Maltese professor justify wholesale targeting of four or five members of the Trump campaign."

"It took Christopher Steele, with his funding concealed through false campaign filings, to be incredibly successful at creating a vast echo chamber around his unverified, fanciful dossier, bouncing it back and forth between the press and the FBI so it appeared that there were multiple sources all coming to the same conclusion. Time and time again, investigators came up empty. Even several sting operations with an FBI spy we just learned about failed to produce a Delorean-like video with cash on the table. But rather than close the probe, the deep state just expanded it. All they had were a few isolated contacts with Russians and absolutely nothing related to Trump himself, yet they pressed forward. Egged on by Steele, they simply believed Trump and his team must be dirty. They just needed to dig deep enough...."

From "Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all" by Mark Penn (The Hill).

"Right now we’re living through a full-fledged crisis in our democracy. No, there are not tanks in the streets, but what’s happening right now goes to the heart of who we are as a nation..."

"... and I say this not as a Democrat who lost an election but as an American afraid of losing a country. There are certain things that are so essential they should transcend politics. Waging a war on the rule of law and a free press, de-legitimizing elections, perpetrating shameless corruption and rejecting the idea that our leaders should be public servants undermines our national unity. And attacking truth and reason, evidence and facts should alarm us all."

Who knows whether all or some or none among the graduating class at Yale were alarmed when Hillary Clinton intoned those words? But I do note that somebody was sitting right there in the front row wearing a witch's hat...

So if we're doing witch hunts, I found one. I mean, I know there's a hat thing going on at Yale. the linked article (in the New Haven Register) does talk about it:
It is Class Day tradition for the seniors to wear silly, imaginative headgear and Clinton held up a Russian fur cap, saying, “I brought a hat too — a Russian hat. Look, I mean, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!”
Join the Russians.

Meanwhile, at the other hyper-elite school: "Hillary Clinton will receive Harvard’s prestigious Radcliffe Medal for her 'transformative impact on society.'"

May 20, 2018

At the Flower Tree Café...


... you can talk about anything.

And remember the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!"

The newest Donald Trump tweet.

Also this morning — in order from oldest to newest:
Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!

....At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption... the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam.

Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier!

What ever happened to the Server, at the center of so much Corruption, that the Democratic National Committee REFUSED to hand over to the hard charging (except in the case of Democrats) FBI? They broke into homes & offices early in the morning, but were afraid to take the Server?

....and why hasn’t the Podesta brother been charged and arrested, like others, after being forced to close down his very large and successful firm? Is it because he is a VERY well connected Democrat working in the Swamp of Washington, D.C.?

The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia - so now they’re looking at the rest of the World. Oh’ great!

"Will it soon be possible... to simulate the feeling of a spirit not attached to any particular physical form using virtual or augmented reality?"

"If so, a good place to start would be to figure out the minimal amount of body we need to feel a sense of self, especially in digital environments where more and more people may find themselves for work or play. It might be as little as a pair of hands and feet...."

From "In Virtual Reality, How Much Body Do You Need?/It might be as little as a pair of hands and feet, researchers in Japan found after recording subjects who wore an Oculus Rift headset." (NYT).

"Afro-pessimism and its treatment of withdrawal as transcendence is no less pleasing to white supremacy than Booker T. Washington’s strategic retreat into self-help."

"Afro-pessimism threatens no one, and white audiences confuse having been chastised with learning... My father used to say that integration had little to do with sitting next to white people and everything to do with black people gaining access to better neighborhoods, decent schools, their share. Life for blacks was not what it should be, but he saw that as a reason to keep on, not check out. I had no idea how much better things were than they had been when he was my age, he said.... A couple of decades later I was resenting my father speaking of my expatriate life as a black literary tradition, because I understood him to be saying that I wasn’t doing anything new and, by the way, there was no such thing as getting away from being black, or what others might pretend that meant. Black life is about the group, and even if we tell ourselves that we don’t care anymore that America glorifies the individual in order to disguise what is really happening, this remains a fundamental paradox in the organization of everyday life for a black person. Your head is not a safe space."

From "The Afro-Pessimist Temptation" by Darryl Pinckney in the New York Review of Books, reviewing "We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy" by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

"I had never heard the name 'Kelvin' before. There isn’t anyone who names their kid Kelvin... So when I thought more about it, I realized that no one else has this name. It became unique. Now we think it is better than Kevin."

From "Mom Changes Son’s Name After Tattoo Artist Misspells It on Her Arm" (People).
“The spelling did not look wrong to me at firs... For me, the text is upside-down so it’s in the right direction when I’m standing. It says Kelvin instead of Kevin. I didn’t think it was true.”
In the right direction when I’m standing.... As opposed to the right direction when she's sitting? Whatever. This tattoo thing is going to end someday... someday soon... right? It's such a pitfall for the stupid.

There's a wonderful verse in Proverbs: "Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." But I say: No. Not if he has a tattoo. Now, give the Old Testament credit: It forbids tattoos. No tattoo and no talking and maybe you can keep your foolishness a secret.

There's also the aphorism, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." If you think Abraham Lincoln (or was it Mark Twain) said that, here's the Quote Investigator inquiry into the subject.

The ban on tattoos is Leviticus 19:28: "'Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."

That makes me want to show you this from Lenny Bruce's autobiography, "How to Talk Dirty and Influence People":
I have a tattoo on my arm, and because of this tattoo, I can never be buried in a Jewish cemetery. That’s the Orthodox law. You have to go out of the world the same way you came in—no marks, no changes.

Anyway, I told how, when I got back from Malta and went home to Long Island, I was in the kitchen, washing with soap, and my Aunt Mema saw the tattoo. So she flips. A real Jewish yell.

“Look what you did! You ruined your arm! You’re no better than a gypsy!”

So the producer [of the Steve Allen TV show] says that I can’t do this on the show because it would definitely be offensive to the Jewish people....

I said if they wouldn’t let me do that, I wouldn’t do the show... They had a meeting about it. They argued for about an hour while I was kept waiting in a corner, like a leper with a bell on my neck.

“We talked it over, Lenny. You know, it’s not only offensive to the Jewish people, but it’s definitely offensive to the Gentile people too.”

“Oh, yeah—how do you figure that?”

“Well, what you’re saying in essence is that the Gentiles don’t care what they bury.”
By the way, you know what would be a great name for a kid? Celsius. For a boy, of course. If it's a girl, we're calling her Fahrenheidi.

"Meghan Markle's wedding was a rousing celebration of blackness."

A column at The Guardian by Afua Hirsh.
The sermon, delivered by the Episcopalian church leader the Rev Michael Curry, began with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr before enlightening the congregation on the wisdom of spirituals – traditional African American music rooted in the experience of slavery – and casting Jesus as a revolutionary. If there had been any doubts about what cultural experience Curry would bring to the service, they were swiftly and decisively answered....

Markle used her wedding to introduce her new peers to blackness. The teenage cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.... The Kingdom gospel choir sang soul classic Stand By Me....

Markle’s choice was clear, and people responded. The wedding has transformed Windsor itself – a town only 20 miles from London but which, in its lack of visible diversity, can feel culturally thousands of kilometres away – that is suddenly full of people of colour. The day before the wedding, I saw African American women dressed in white lace dresses, some wearing tiaras, others wearing Meghan Markle masks....

[B]y allowing her wedding to be not just a pageant of tradition, but also a celebration of blackness, she’s started as I hope she means to go on.
Were those only "African American women" wearing the "Meghan Markle masks"? I kind of doubt it! First, how do you even know that people walking around in Britain are American? Or is "African American" a clumsy synonym for black? Second, I think a lot of white people were wearing Meghan Markle masks, and I'm wondering why that isn't a blackface problem rather than an advancement? Third, did the Meghan Markle masks really express anything about racial feeling? There were Prince Harry masks too. I'm reading "These Creepy Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Masks Prove British People Have No Chill" (at Life & Style):
Fans of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are putting their faces on cardboard and wearing them around town in anticipation for the actress to walk down the aisle, and TBH, it's creepy....

"Just saw a woman walking alone through market square with a Meghan Markle mask on, u ok?" one resident tweeted before another chimed in, "People dressed up as the royal family, one in a wedding dress wearing a Meghan Markle mask parading through Hugglescote. Do people not have jobs?"

"What are the US Democrats' big ideas?"

A column at BBC news (by Anthony Zurcher) based on an "Ideas Confererence" put on the Center for American Progress. The conference seems to reflect an awareness that Democrats are politically vulnerable because they are defined by what they are against and not what they are for. But reading this column, I wonder if they downplay what they are for because it isn't politically popular.

For example, under the heading "Minimum wage and 'freeloader fees'":
Sherrod Brown... pushed what he calls a "corporate freeloader fee" - imposing a penalty on companies with more than $100,000 in payroll taxes that do not pay their workers high enough wages to keep them off public assistance programmes.

Mr Brown and other Democrats also mentioned raising the federal minimum wage from its current $7.15 an hour level, which was set in 2009. Some states have passed much higher minimum-wage levels.

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said the federal government should guarantee Americans a job if they want one, which he said was not a "radical idea".

"Why not invest on the front-end with secure jobs so that you're not seeing negative impacts that come with low-employment or unemployment like foreclosures and evictions?" he asked.
The other headings are "Expanding public schooling" ("Who said that public education should be a right for everybody between [the ages of] five and 18, but not for those either before five or after 18?"), "Ethics, reform and oversight," "Dismantling the oligarchy" ("a 'substantial' increase of the estate tax"), and "Guns, the environment and healthcare."

"The mountain lion dragged the man into the woods as the survivor escaped on his bike to find help about 30 miles east of Seattle."

The Daily News reports.
The survivor told police the cat attacked him first.

"The second victim turned and started to run away," King County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott said. "The cougar saw that and went after the second victim."
So in this case, running triggered the animal to abandon the prey it already had in its clutches and to prefer the running man.

Here's a Scientific American article from 2009, "Should You Run or Freeze When You See a Mountain Lion?/New study disputes conventional wisdom to stay put or risk triggering lion's instinct to pursue."
Richard Coss, a psychology professor and expert on the evolution of predator–prey relationships at the University of California, Davis,* studied the behavior of 185 people who were attacked by mountain lions (aka pumas or cougars) between 1890 and 2000 in the U.S. and Canada.... [H]alf of the 18 people who ran when they were attacked escaped injury. The study also found, however, that those who ran had a slightly higher chance of being killed in an attack—28 percent (five) of those who fled died as a result of injuries, compared with 23 percent (eight) of those who remained motionless during big cat attacks. About 39 percent, or 28 people, who moved away slowly when approached by a mountain lion escaped without injury.

On the other hand, people who froze were the least likely to escape injury when a mountain lion attacked. Only 26 percent of them escaped. They also had the greatest frequency of severe injuries: 43 percent of those who stood still in the face of a lion were badly injured compared with 17 percent of those who fled, according to the study.

"Immobility may be interpreted by the mountain lion as a sign that you are vulnerable prey," Coss tells, adding that not moving could lead the predator to think you're not aware of its presence or are incapable of escaping. Staring down a puma can let the animal know you’re aware it’s looking, though distance can reduce its effectiveness.

* The phrase "Richard Coss, a psychology professor and expert on the evolution of predator–prey relationships at the University of California, Davis" needs to be rewritten so that it doesn't seem that the "predator–prey relationships" are on the the University of California, Davis campus. Perhaps: "Richard Coss, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis who focuses on the evolution of predator–prey relationships."

"Texas school shooter killed girl who turned down his advances and embarrassed him in class, her mother says."

The L.A. Times reports.
One of [Dmitri] Pagourtzis' classmates who died in the attack, Shana Fisher, "had 4 months of problems from this boy," her mother, Sadie Rodriguez, wrote in a private message to the Los Angeles Times on Facebook. "He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no."

Pagourtzis continued to get more aggressive, and she finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, Rodriguez said. "A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn't like," she wrote. "Shana being the first one." Rodriguez didn't say how she knew her daughter was the first victim.

May 19, 2018

At the Gray-Green Café...


... you can open up and talk about whatever you like.

What kind of state governor would say about a 17-year-old "He didn't have the courage to commit suicide"?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Whatever outrage you feel fired up or politically motivated to express, do not put that idea out there for young people to consume: Suicide is an act of courage.

There was a lot of this sort of thing.

Did anyone count the number of times Harry touched his face?

Nice dress. Tom and Lorenzo opine:
No one should care what these two queens think about wedding gowns, but this style has always been our favorite. It never ages badly. It will always look chic in pictures. From a personal-statement standpoint, we think this is very much of a piece with Meghan’s style, which has shown itself, post-engagement, to be minimalist and cleanly chic in tone. She’s not a gal who goes for a lot of foofaraw....
I wish everyone well.

I was up on my own naturally at 4 a.m., so I watched enough of the show to experience all sorts of feelings — squishy, tender, lofty, queasy... and I don't want to be awful... but Harry kept touching and rubbing his face and I just couldn't help thinking about Harry's mother and what I know about the thoughts that rushed through her head on that day that the world watched her bogus "fairytale" wedding.

So I'll stop here and say good luck to all the newlyweds of this world. I myself got married ago on a May 19th (45 years ago, in a marriage that lasted 14 years). You can watch all sorts of couples get married — people congregate to witness weddings — but you can't know what the marrying minds are thinking. Is it wrong to look at the outward signs that there is a big disconnect between the spoken words and real person who is enduring the theatrical ritual?

May 18, 2018

At the Magenta Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

And please use my portal to Amazon.


I wrote "ditsy" this morning (to describe an article titled "I’m Ready for the Female Takeover of the Democratic Party/The Venusification of the Democratic Party is on, and this man says it’s high time"), and Known Unknown wrote: "I prefer 'ditzy.' The z works better at communicating the thought."

I didn't think about the spelling, but now that I am thinking about it, I agree with Known Unknown. "Z" is a much more interesting letter than the ultra-common "S," so I don't want to miss any opportunities to use "z," but is "ditsy" even an acceptable spelling? Was I influenced by "itsy bitsy"? Clearly, there's a noun "ditz" and you'd never think of spelling it "dits."

I Googled "ditsy" and got some indication that it's an acceptable alternate spelling, and I even got the idea it might be the British spelling, but then I looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary, and it wasn't there at all.

So "ditzy" it is.

The etymology is unknown but it might be a corruption of "dicty." Do you know that word? It's African-American slang for "A black person regarded as snobbish, pretentious, self-important, or ‘stuck-up" or " Snobbish, pretentious, self-important, ‘stuck-up’; having or characterized by aspirations to gentility or elegance; flashy, showy" or "High-class, fancy; elegant, stylish." For example, here's something from 1932: "Harlem's reigning sheik is Cab Calloway... His dicty clothes in zebra patterns set the style pace for ebony swells along Lenox Avenue." And from 1945: "People with slight education, small incomes, and few of the social graces are always referring to the more affluent and successful as ‘dicties’, ‘stuck-ups’, ‘muckti-mucks’, ‘high-toned folks’, ‘tony people.'"

Back to "ditzy." It means "stupid, scatterbrained; ‘cute.'" Why is "cute" in quotations? Anyway, it's mostly said of women. Examples:
1981 Time 12 Jan. 45/1 Bob Newhart plays the President of the United States: Madeline Kahn is his dipso wife, Gilda Radner his ditsy daughter....
1985 N.Y. Times 31 Jan. a22/2 According to a wholly unscientific sample, this decade's terms [for ‘dumb’] so far include, besides airhead, retard, ditsy and wifty.
Ooh! Both examples spelled it "ditsy."

"Ditz" is a backformation. It only goes back to 1984.
1985 Guardian 22 June 12/4 Meryl Streep is serious, Suzanne Somers isn't... I've been both. I used to be a ditz. Now I'm talented.
2007 N. Barker Darkmans 614 ‘I'm a nutter, a ditz, a turd, a ding-bat..' she shrugged.
Something very 80s about "ditz" and "ditzy." What was going on there? Sexist retrogression after the 60s and 70s?

"Obama’s Legacy Has Already Been Destroyed."

It's the new Andrew Sullivan column.
In one respect, it seems to me, the presidency of Donald Trump has been remarkably successful. In 17 months, he has effectively erased Barack Obama’s two-term legacy....
If Trump has destroyed Obama’s substantive legacy at home and abroad, the left has gutted Obama’s post-racial cultural vision. And those of us who saw him as an integrative bridge to the future, who still cling to the bare bones of a gradually more inclusive liberal order, find ourselves on a fast-eroding peninsula, as cultural and political climate change erases the very environment we once called hope.

"Jordan Peterson, Custodian of the Patriarchy/He says there’s a crisis in masculinity. Why won’t women — all these wives and witches — just behave?"

Whoa! That's a pretty insulting title for a new NYT article about Jordan Peterson. The article is by Nellie Bowles who spent 2 days with him, with access to his home — check out the unflattering photograph of him in his home — and listening in to his phone calls and following him backstage at a lecture.
Wherever he goes, he speaks in sermons about the inevitability of who we must be. “You know you can say, ‘Well isn’t it unfortunate that chaos is represented by the feminine’ — well, it might be unfortunate, but it doesn’t matter because that is how it’s represented. It’s been represented like that forever. And there are reasons for it. You can’t change it. It’s not possible. This is underneath everything. If you change those basic categories, people wouldn’t be human anymore. They’d be something else. They’d be transhuman or something. We wouldn’t be able to talk to these new creatures.”...

Enforced monogamy is, to him, simply a rational solution. Otherwise women will all only go for the most high-status men, he explains, and that couldn’t make either gender happy in the end.

"China’s leading 'rage comics' brand, Baozou Manhua, has been silenced on multiple online platforms after one of its videos was accused of slandering revolutionary heroes and martyrs."

Sixth Tone reports.
The Heroes and Martyrs Protection Law, which came into effect on May 1, makes such conduct punishable....

In the clip, host Wang Nima dons a rage face mask and narrates: “Dong Cunrui stared at the enemy’s bunker, his eyes bursting with rays of hate. He said resolutely, ‘Commander, let me blow up the bunker. I am an eight-point youth, and this is my eight-point bunker.’” The script was a pun on a KFC sandwich available for a limited time in 2014.

Another part of the clip tampered with a line from Ye’s poem, changing “Climb out! Give you freedom!” to “Climb out! Painless induced abortion!” to mock rampant advertising for abortions....
Is there some kind of 8-point sandwich at KFC? Hard to understand the humor, but I oppose the government censorship and feel heartened to see efforts at free speech in China.

"The Madison Reunion will be a nostalgic homecoming for lefty activists who called Madison home in the 1960s. But it won’t be the only game in town."

Isthmus reports.
“We heard about the Madison Reunion being organized from people telling us, ‘I don’t see anything I’m interested in here, this isn’t the radical Madison I know.’ It’s organized as an academic conference,” says Sarah White, a member of the local Gray Panthers and an organizer of the Radical Perspectives teach-in....

[There will be] a dozen workshops planned for Saturday, June 16, ranging from “Women Unmasking Power & Building Movements” to “The New Left’s Radical Legacy For Today.” There’s also a kickoff event the night before, including Max Elbaum reading from his book Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che.

“I’d say there’s a Marxist throughline to what we’re doing that you haven’t heard in a few decades,” White says....

The approach at the teach-in will be hands-on, with an emphasis on connecting older radicals with young people who are active today. “It’s about passing the torch,” White says. “We’re old, we can’t march in the streets anymore, we have to pass the torch to other people. People are really eager to engage in dialogue with young activists.”

That’s why there are several panels on high school activism....
IN THE COMMENTS: Referring to the topic — from an earlier post — of ambiguous headlines ("crash blossoms"), rehajm writes:
Women Unmasking Power & Building Movements

There’s your crash blossom.
And I said:
Good observation.

And now I'm picturing a building that shits.
And I realize that I can picture a building that shits, because I've seen a lot of great anthropomorphized buildings drawn by one of my favorite artists Mark Beyer. Example:

From "Life and Times of Thomas House," by Mark Beyer.

"A man yelling about Donald Trump opened fire early Friday in the lobby of a Miami-area golf resort owned by the President...."

CNN reports.
Authorities received a call of an active shooter at the Trump National Doral Golf Club at 1:30 a.m., said Juan Perez, director of the Miami-Dade police.... Perez did not provide details on what the shooter was saying about Trump, who was at the White House at the time.

"I’m Ready for the Female Takeover of the Democratic Party/The Venusification of the Democratic Party is on, and this man says it’s high time."

Headline at The Daily Beast for a ditsy column by Michael Tomasky.

"Clinics that provide abortions or refer patients to places that do would lose federal funding under a new Trump administration rule..."

The NYT reports.
The policy would be a return to one instituted in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan that required abortion services to have a “physical separation” and “separate personnel” from other family planning activities. That policy is often described as a domestic gag rule because it barred caregivers at facilities that received family planning funds from providing any information to patients about an abortion or where to receive one....

The policy could prompt legal challenges, as it did soon after the Reagan administration adopted it. Planned Parenthood and other groups filed lawsuits that blocked the rules, and while the Supreme Court decided in 1991 that they could move forward, they were never fully carried out. President Bill Clinton rescinded the policy in 1994.

Living in The North.

It's going all the way up to 75° today, so we've got all the windows open to maximize the chill and fortify us against the coming heat. Right now — and I'm typing in front of 2 big windows — it's 54°.

Of all places to search for food, why would you go to the desert?

Here's a headline I misread: "Empty stomachs drive Venezuela soldiers to desert in droves" (Yahoo).

This is what Language Log refers to as a "crash blossom." Here's a good NYT column explaining the term:
In their quest for concision, writers of newspaper headlines are... inveterate sweepers away of little words, and the dust they kick up can lead to some amusing ambiguities. Legendary headlines from years past (some of which verge on the mythical) include “Giant Waves Down Queen Mary’s Funnel,” “MacArthur Flies Back to Front” and “Eighth Army Push Bottles Up Germans.” The Columbia Journalism Review even published two anthologies of ambiguous headlinese in the 1980s, with the classic titles “Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim” and “Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge.”

For years, there was no good name for these double-take headlines. Last August, however, one emerged in the Testy Copy Editors online discussion forum. Mike O’Connell, an American editor based in Sapporo, Japan, spotted the headline “Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms” and wondered, “What’s a crash blossom?”... Another participant in the forum, Dan Bloom, suggested that “crash blossoms” could be used as a label for such infelicitous headlines that encourage alternate readings, and news of the neologism quickly spread....

One of my favorite crash blossoms is this gem from the Associated Press, first noted by the Yale linguistics professor Stephen R. Anderson last September: “McDonald’s Fries the Holy Grail for Potato Farmers.” If you take “fries” as a verb instead of a noun, you’re left wondering why a fast-food chain is cooking up sacred vessels. Or consider this headline, spotted earlier this month by Rick Rubenstein on the Total Telecom Web site: “Google Fans Phone Expectations by Scheduling Android Event.” Here, if you read “fans” as a plural noun, then you might think “phone” is a verb, and you’ve been led down a path where Google devotees are calling in their hopes.

Nouns that can be misconstrued as verbs and vice versa are, in fact, the hallmarks of the crash blossom. Take this headline, often attributed to The Guardian: “British Left Waffles on Falklands.”....

I wasn't going to participate in the Yanny/Laurel thing...

... although I have been reading about it. (Here's the NYT, "Laurel or Yanny? What We Heard From the Experts," and here's the original Reddit post.)

I mean I wasn't in a position to blog about it when it was relatively new and it so quickly got Harry-and-Meghan old that I didn't see any value to my chiming in. Does it help anyone to know that I hear "Yanny"?

But the White House response is truly funny:

And — less funny and a bit arcane — I read the EW recap of the TV show "Survivor," and there's a contestant this season whose name happens to be Laurel. In this week's recap, there's this description of a puzzle-solving challenge in which Laurel narrowly edged out another contestant, Wendell, because, though he finished first, she yelled "Jeff!" first (Jeff being Jeff Probst, the show's host, who has to come over and check that the puzzle is in fact correctly solved). The recap goes like this:
The contestants were in the middle of an immunity challenge that ended in a slide puzzle, and the first person to finish it would win immunity — or so we thought.

Wendell went into this portion of the challenge with a huge lead. Yanny was the third person to start on the puzzle, but she had the advantage of having worked on it before at the opening marooning challenge. (By the way, not a fan of recycling the same puzzle twice in one season. Not sure the thinking behind that one.) After sliding back and forth like we wanted to cha-cha real smooth, Wendell appeared to have the puzzle solved. He paused, looked it over, and extended his arms to the side.

Then, out of nowhere, Yanny yelled “Jeff!” He came over, looked at her puzzle and called her the winner. But was she?

“I guess I had to scream your name,” protested Wendell mildly.

“What? Did you call me?” asked Probst.

“I didn’t call you,” admitted Wendell.

“Well, you gotta call it,” said Probst. “Wendell, you understand, right? Because a puzzle’s not done until you tell me.”

At this point, Yanny entered the fray, explaining that she also had it and could have called it earlier as well....
That is, the recapper, with no explanation, just started calling Laurel "Yanny."

If you're interested in the "Survivor" rules question, here's "Survivor: Jeff Probst addresses Wendell–Laurel challenge controversy":
Nothing like this has ever happened before. It was bizarre. I think Wendell was half-checking his puzzle and half-dazed. Truthfully, I didn’t even know he had it because there was no sign from him at all. It was only seeing it back in editing later that I could clearly see he had it finished before Laurel. But we are deep into this game, and cognitive function is in rare supply, and I honestly think Wendell just had a slight lapse. What impressed me most was how both Wendell and Laurel handled it. Laurel obviously took the necklace, but she was aware it was a tricky situation. And Wendell just handled it straight up. He didn’t complain at all. He was frustrated, but he owned it as his mistake.
The "typo" tag refers to the big punchline at the end of the White House video.

May 17, 2018

At the Bear/Badger Café...


... enjoy the warmth.

And consider using the Althouse Portal to Amazon. Me, I just used Amazon to buy a new clothes dryer. It took me about 5 minutes today to pick one and to click the buttons that set up the delivery and installation that will happen on Monday. What pleasant ease! So boring to go to an appliance store to buy something like that and to schedule and wait for the installation. The last clothes dryer I bought worked for more than 30 years. The Social Security Actuarial Table gives me a life expectancy of 19 more years, so presumably I'll never have to buy another clothes dryer.

The Bucky Badger sculpture is one of many in Madison this summer. That one, near Picnic Point, was painted by Angelica Contreras.

Haspel confirmed.

"Two Republican no votes — and opposition from Senator John McCain of Arizona, the victim of torture in Vietnam who was not present for the vote — were more than offset by Democrats, most of whom represent states that Mr. Trump won in 2016," the NYT reports.

One of the most impressive female firsts in American history.

"The man admitted he had found the wine amusing upon purchasing it. But he said he had lost interest and described himself now as 'rather left-wing orientated.'"

"An Austrian man has been locked up for glorifying Nazism after cops found multiple bottles of Hitler-branded wine at his home," The Mirror reports. He bought the wine in Italy:
On the Italian side of the Brenner Pass linking the country to Austria, where Hitler and Mussolini met three times in the 1940s, fascist 'souvenirs' are still widely sold. But they are forbidden across the border in Austria. One souvenir shop owner claimed "it was mainly youngsters" buying such items, saying "there is a huge demand" for wines with the labels of Mussolini, Hitler and other fascists and Nazis.

The worst place to be.

"A Boring Presidential Nominee? Bring It, Democrats."

Writes Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg, reacting to the FiveThirtyEight "fantasy draft"...
Of the 24 candidates they drafted, somewhere between a quarter and half of the selections are basically nontraditional candidates. The theory seems to be: Now that President Donald Trump has proved it can be done, we should expect total outsiders and politicians without conventional credentials to win a fairly large share of future nominations.
Bernstein's not having it. He gestures wanly at Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, Martin O’Malley, Terry McAuliffe, Chris Murphy, and Jeff Merkley.

That reminds me. I have a tag, "I'm for Boring," which I introduced early in the 2016 campaign process. The first post with this tag came in July 2014:
I'm sick of inspiration and claims of historiosity. We should all be perfectly jaded by now. Inoculated. It's healthful and wholesome. And so what if watching the campaign day by day is "a boring, grinding affair"? That's a problem for [Buzzfeed's Ben] Smith, running his buzz-dependent website, [fretting about how Hillary Clinton "hasn’t unlocked the only thing that could really turn a campaign into a movement... authentic excitement among American women at her historic candidacy"], but it's a nonproblem for the rest of us. Think of the time you can save not reading the websites that try to make something out of the presidential campaign every damned day. What will you do with all that time? Instead of thinking about how what happened in the last hour might be history, you could, for example, read history. May I recommend the Amity Shlaes biography of Calvin Coolidge?

Coolidge was boring. Good boring. Let's be boring for a change.

I want a boring President. Stop trying to excite me.
Perhaps if Clinton hadn't tried to excite us, America wouldn't have opted for the insanely exciting Donald Trump. I do think an outright, openly boring person would be the best foil for Trump. But we saw how he took down "Low Energy Jeb," so....

"What do you say to a four-year-old white supremacist?"

"A child’s uncensored racist commentary is a harsh reminder that while society has moved forward, the book on discrimination isn’t closed yet" (The Guardian):
It was Friday night, 22 February 2015. My friend Nuha (a Sudanese American) and I (an Egyptian American) walked into a restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi. Both of us are different shades of non-white. The scene could have taken place anywhere in America.

The waitress seated us at the corner of the hibachi table, next to a white man who appeared to be in his mid-30s and his two young sons. As I reached to pull my chair away from the table, the youngest boy, the one sitting adjacent to my seat, looked at me and said: “White skin don’t marry brown skin, but it’s OK, you can sit here anyway.”...

Nuha asked the boy: “Who taught you that brown skin and white skin don’t marry?” The little boy looked confused, as though we had asked an unnecessary question. He then timidly looked to his right and slowly lifted his finger, pointing at his father.

“You did, Dad!”

He stuttered. “N-no, no I didn’t. I never taught you that. Maybe it was your mom, but I didn’t teach you that.”...

"Sleep, little one/If you don’t sleep/The crab will eat you."

From "18 Dark And Disturbing Lullabies From Around The World" (HuffPo).

"If so, this is bigger than Watergate!"

ADDED: Here's the Andrew McCarthy article, "Did the FBI Have a Spy in the Trump Campaign?" — published 5 days ago.

"Counterintelligence investigations can take years, but if the Russian government had influence over the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. wanted to know quickly."

"One option was the most direct: interview the campaign officials about their Russian contacts. That was discussed but not acted on, two former officials said, because interviewing witnesses or subpoenaing documents might thrust the investigation into public view, exactly what F.B.I. officials were trying to avoid during the heat of the presidential race. 'You do not take actions that will unnecessarily impact an election,' Sally Q. Yates, the former deputy attorney general, said in an interview. She would not discuss details, but added, 'Folks were very careful to make sure that actions that were being taken in connection with that investigation did not become public.'"

From "Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation" (NYT). There's much more to this article, which I'm still trying to digest. My confidence in the NYT is undermined by this correction: "An earlier version of this article misstated that news organizations did not report on the findings of the retired British spy Christopher Steele about links between Trump campaign officials and Russia. While most news organizations whose reporters met with Mr. Steele did not publish such reports before the 2016 election, Mother Jones magazine did." You got an easily checkable, important fact plainly wrong. How can we trust your reporting?

ADDED: At WaPo, Erik Wemple has "New York Times acknowledges it buried the lead in pre-election Russia-Trump story":
In a massive article Wednesday on the FBI’s 2016 snooping into the possible nexus between Russians and the Trump presidential campaign, reporters Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos include these two paragraphs:
In late October, in response to questions from The Times, law enforcement officials acknowledged the investigation but urged restraint. They said they had scrutinized some of Mr. Trump’s advisers but had found no proof of any involvement with Russian hacking. The resulting article, on Oct. 31, reflected that caution and said that agents had uncovered no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.
That’s one heck of a concession: We buried the lead! In their book “Russian Roulette,” authors Michael Isikoff and David Corn report that editors at the New York Times “cast the absence of a conclusion as the article’s central theme rather than the fact of the investigation itself,” contrary to the wishes of the reporters....
AND: "10 Key Takeaways From The New York Times’ Error-Ridden Defense Of FBI Spying On Trump Campaign" by Mollie Hemingway (The Federalist).
ALSO: From the Hemingway article:
[T]he admissions in this New York Times story are coming out now, years after selective leaks to compliant reporters, just before an inspector general report detailing some of these actions is slated to be released this month. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported that people mentioned in the report are beginning to get previews of what it alleges. It’s reasonable to assume that much of the new information in the New York Times report relates to information that will be coming out in the inspector general report.

By working with friendly reporters, these leaking FBI officials can ensure the first story about their unprecedented spying on political opponents will downplay that spying and even attempt to justify it. Of note is the story’s claim that very few people even knew about the spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, which means the leakers for this story come from a relatively small pool of people.

"Wolfe’s white suits didn’t make him look cool; they made him look odd. And what he seemed to understand was that odd was far more intriguing than cool."

"Odd is full of shadings and contradictions, frustrations and delights. The odd man fascinates. His personality must be unpacked; he is worth considering. But he also must be approached with caution and care. Who knows what he might do? Cool is overrated. People recognize cool when they see it, but once it’s witnessed and documented, it’s finished. To be cool is to be part of an era or a movement. But Wolfe surpassed his times. He stood apart..... A white suit... suggests control and order. It doesn’t hide a thousand sins; it reveals every dropped crumb.... Wolfe is said to have been a disciplined writer, one who sat daily at his desk with the goal of producing 10 pages, no matter how long it took. Writing might be an art, but producing a steady output of legendary work is a science. He was the white-coated new journalist: experimenting and researching. He was a clean slate heading into subcultures and reporting back...."

From "The genius of Tom Wolfe’s white suits" by Robin Givhan (WaPo).

The meaning of whiteness. I realize my "whiteness" tag is something I use for everything about white, including the racial, "whiteness studies" things. Givhan does not overtly say anything about race... and yet... White isn't "cool," white is about order and discipline, white can only sojourn into the "subcultures" and report back...

May 16, 2018

At the True Friendship Café...


... you can understand and be understood.

And you can shop through the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"There’s an argument to be made that subjecting straight men to the same objectification everyone else has long lived with is not only fair play, but in fact social progress..."

"... representing a new paradigm where no one identity group is overly centered. But in the Times 'twink' piece, it’s clear what the dangers involved are, too. Haramis writes of Sivan that there’s 'safety in his slimness,' and says his kind offers 'a new answer to the problem of what makes a man.' The implication is that skinniness comes with sensitivity, and maybe even—given the recent cultural accounting of male misbehavior—that it comes with a lower likelihood of being a creep. This is obviously nonsense: Small stature didn’t keep, say, Aziz Ansari from oafish behavior, according to his accuser. But the thinking echoes the way that physical appearance, when overemphasized, gets linked with moral virtue."

From "What 'The Age of the Twink' Actually Means/Are scrawny guys suddenly 'in'? Or are straight men just, finally, getting openly objectified like women and gay men long have been?" by Spencer Kornhaber (The Atlantic).

We talked about the Times "twink" piece yesterday, here.

"Everyone is friendly enough and there’s the right amount of perversion. So what’s the problem? The host."

"He’s loud and annoying. He insists on putting classical music on. (I don’t have a problem with the music, but it doesn’t set the mood very well.) He tells the same lame jokes every time he’s pissing on someone. He will complain that people say they're coming and don’t show. If you are having a moment with someone, he will invariably interrupt and say, 'What’s going on here!?' while he horns in on the action.... It’s his party, and props to him for hosting it... Do you have any suggestions?"

A question for Dan Savage. I'm not interested in the answer to the question, by the way, even though this gets my "etiquette" tag and I've been interested in etiquette over the years. (There are 436 posts with that tag!) I'm just amused by the question, especially the classical music detail.

"At one point in Betsy West’s and Julie Cohen’s new documentary 'RBG,' NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg claims that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 'was doing something that was incredibly important to American women.'"

"At the end of 'RBG,' I was still struggling to figure out what Totenberg meant when she said 'something.'.. . West and Cohen certainly believe that Ginsburg is a significant figure, but the evidence they present is ultimately unconvincing.... Throughout the documentary, West and Cohen seem uninterested in undertaking a complex analysis of Ginsburg’s life and work... Various interviewees mention that Ginsburg has a unique ability to cross the political aisle and work with justices who hold opposing views. As proof, they point to her longtime friendship with the late, very conservative justice Antonin Scalia. For many of the interviewees, this is nothing short of a miracle. One of the interviewees claims that Ginsburg is an extraordinary individual because most liberals 'do not have friends who are right-wing nutcases.'...  For West and Cohen, however, Ginsburg’s legacy... is manifested in the pop culture productions Ginsburg has inspired.... West and Cohen seem particularly enamored with Kate McKinnon’s impersonation of Ginsburg; they show the same SNL skit three times during the documentary. Towards the end of the film, West and Cohen screen the sketch for Justice Ginsburg herself, and they ask her what she thinks about it. Ginsburg finds McKinnon’s acting humorous, but concludes that the impersonation doesn’t reflect anything about her at all."

Writes Amir Abou-Jaoude at The Stanford Daily.

The movie "RBG" has a 94% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

ADDED: Here's the one negative review listed at Rotten Tomatoes, from James Berardinelli: "RBG isn’t worth the time and effort of seeking out in a theater unless you’re a die-hard RBG fan. Little in the film can’t be found in Justice Ginsburg’s Wikipedia entry; it functions more as a straightforward (and sanitized) biography than a probing or intriguing examination of one of the nation’s most influential judicial voices."

But you shouldn't look for a movie to be what it's not trying to be. I get the sense, even from Berardinelli, that the movie isn't trying to enlighten us about the work Ginsburg has done, but that it is examining the popular culture, the effect of the idea of Ginsburg on people: "In assessing Ginsburg’s current role on the Court and how she has become a larger-than-life figure to young, socially liberal voters, RGB finds its soundest footing. It shows dozens of memes, talks to several influential under-30 figures, and puzzles over how a tiny, seemingly meek old woman could have become a hero to her granddaughter’s generation."

Here's the poster:

Is there any serious inquiry into the human psychological need for heroes and icons and the adoration of the dissenter?

Just how vogue is "just how"?

It slammed me in the face today. I was glancing at "So, Just How Violent Is Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built?" (New York Magazine) and clicked to my next tab and the first headline I saw was "Just How Fragile is Trump’s North Korea Diplomacy?" (The New Yorker).

Now, that I've noticed, I predict I will see it everywhere. I'm making a tag for it.

Why does it matter to me? Because it's a silly promise of exactitude that I know will not be met. And because it speaks of our aimless yearning for specific knowledge. I feel a little wistful about it.

Let's search Google News for some recent "just how" headlines... "Just how hot is 'hot as balls'?" Oh, well, my question is: Just how hot is 'just how'?

"Royal wedding quiz: Just how well do you know the royal family?," "Just How Much Business Can Batteries Take From Gas Peakers?," "Just How Common Is Salmonella Poisoning?," "Instagram will soon show you just how addicted you are to the app," "Just How Clean Are Pillows and Blankets On Airplanes?," "Why doesn't anyone ever tell you just how much your kids' teeth will cost you," "Just how did Matt Lauer's famous desk button work?," "Just How Catholic Is the Met's New Fashion Exhibit?," "'As it is in heaven': And just how is that?," "Just how bad is America, really?," "Just How Unethical Is Trump's Legal Team?", "This close-up of Kim shows just how much make-up you need for the Met Gala."

It is bizarre, this notion that we need to know the precise workings of the mechanism whereby Matt Lauer closed his door, that a clicked-to article could contain the tantalizing details of what it's like in Heaven, that the dirtiness of all those pillows on all those planes could be expressed with fine-grained accuracy, that the aspect of your use of Instagram that's categorizable as addiction could be rigorously quantified.

Notice how often "just how" is paired with "you" and "your." The absurdity of promise of specific knowledge is magnified by the pretense of making it information about you: your children's teeth, your addiction to Instagram, your make-up at the Met Gala, your knowledge of the royal family.

"The New Yorker was turning 40, occasioning a certain amount of 'greatest magazine that ever was' praise. "

"Despite that, and despite the presence of a few of those New Journalism proto-pioneers, it was going through what was arguably one of the duller stretches in its history. [Tom] Wolfe decided to try... putting into print what most journalists would say only at the bar after hours. The manuscript he produced was so long that it had to run in two parts. 'Tiny Mummies! The True Story of The Ruler of 43d Street’s Land of the Walking Dead!' was the first half, published on April 11, 1965, and it was vicious, hilarious, punishing, gleeful. Its basic stance was, as Wolfe himself said, to paint a portrait of 'a room full of very proper people who had gone to sleep standing up, talking to themselves.' Yes, it was a little bit mean. It was also deadly accurate, and, probably inevitably, became the most-talked-about story in newsrooms across the city.... And if there was a story that coalesced it all, it was Wolfe’s “Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s,” published in June 1970, about a fundraiser at Leonard Bernstein’s apartment for the Black Panthers.... It’ll be taught as long as there are journalism schools. As will 'The Me Decade,' the story that named the 1970s. It’s an extremely unusual piece of magazine writing, going off into thickets about the sociology of Max Weber, but it’s under control all the way, and you will not find a better summary of the baby-boomer solipsism that (one could argue, and Wolfe does indeed suggest) was beginning to eat America alive...."

From "Tom Wolfe, New York and New Journalism Legend, Dies at 88," which I'm reading this morning because it's in New York Magazine, which damned well better have a great article on the occasion for Tom Wolfe's death.

And lets follow those 2 internal links...

From "Radical Chic":
From the beginning it was pointless to argue about the sincerity of Radical Chic. Unquestionably the basic impulse, “red diaper” or otherwise, was sincere. But, as in most human endeavors focused upon an ideal, there seemed to be some double-track thinking going on. On the first track—well, one does have a sincere concern for the poor and the underprivileged and an honest outrage against discrimination. One’s heart does cry out—quite spontaneously!—upon hearing how the police have dealt with the Panthers, dragging an epileptic like Lee Berry out of his hospital bed and throwing him into the Tombs. When one thinks of Mitchell and Agnew and Nixon and all of their Captain Beef-heart Maggie & Jiggs New York Athletic Club troglodyte crypto-Horst Wessel Irish Oyster Bar Construction Worker followers, then one understands why poor blacks like the Panthers might feel driven to drastic solutions, and—well, anyway, one truly feels for them. One really does. On the other hand—on the second track in one’s mind, that is—one also has a sincere concern for maintaining a proper East Side lifestyle in New York Society. And this concern is just as sincere as the first, and just as deep. It really is. It really does become part of one’s psyche. For example, one must have a weekend place, in the country or by the shore, all year round preferably, but certainly from the middle of May to the middle of September. It is hard to get across to outsiders an understanding of how absolute such apparently trivial needs are. One feels them in his solar plexus. When one thinks of being trapped in New York Saturday after Saturday in July or August, doomed to be a part of those fantastically dowdy herds roaming past Bonwit’s and Tiffany’s at dead noon in the sandstone sun-broil, 92 degrees, daddies from Long Island in balloon-seat Bermuda shorts bought at the Times Square Store in Oceanside and fat mommies with white belled pants stretching over their lower bellies and crinkling up in the crotch like some kind of Dacron-polyester labia—well, anyway, then one truly feels the need to obey at least the minimal rules of New York Society. One really does.
From "The Me Decade":

"The surreal colors come from the sulphur, potash, and other minerals that saturate the Dallol hydrothermal field."

"It sits amid crusty salt plains in the Danakil Depression, a 3,800-square-mile bowl that dips more than 400 feet below sea level, thanks to three slowly separating tectonic plates. As those plates pull apart, hot springs bubble up into acidic pools that form ethereal crystals and pillars as the briny waters evaporate."

Photographs of Ethiopia (in Wired).

"The number of air-conditioners worldwide is predicted to soar from 1.6 billion units today to 5.6 billion units by midcentury..."

"If left unchecked, by 2050 air-conditioners would use as much electricity as China does for all activities today. Greenhouse gas emissions released by coal and natural gas plants when generating electricity to power those air-conditioners would nearly double, from 1.25 billion tons in 2016 to 2.28 billion tons in 2050, the report says. Those emissions would contribute to global warming, which could further heighten the demand for air-conditioning. Right now air-conditioning is concentrated in a handful of countries, mainly in the United States and Japan, and increasingly in China. While 90 percent of American households have air-conditioning, 'When we look in fact at the hot countries in the world, in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, where about 2.8 billion people live, only about 8 percent of the population owns an air-conditioner'.... As incomes in those countries rise, however, more people are installing air-conditioners in their homes.... Some of the spread is simply being driven by a desire for comfort in parts of the world that have always been hot. But other factors are at play.  For example, as household wealth increases, so does the presence of household appliances like refrigerators and televisions, the report notes. These appliances generate heat, making homes warmer."

From "The World Wants Air-Conditioning. That Could Warm the World." (NYT).

I would add that television affects the mind and, I would think, spreads ideas about how well people can live and what kind of comfort is to be expected.

Here's a WaPo article I blogged in 2010: "In the heat wave, the case against air conditioning." The reason to reject air conditioning was global warming, but beneficial side effects were noted:
In a world without air conditioning, a warmer, more flexible, more relaxed workplace helps make summer a time to slow down again. Three-digit temperatures prompt siestas. Code-orange days mean offices are closed. Shorter summer business hours and month-long closings -- common in pre-air-conditioned America -- return. Business suits are out, for both sexes. ...

Congress [would be] forced to adjourn to avoid Washington's torturous summers, and "the nation [would enjoy] a respite from the promulgation of more laws, the depredations of lobbyists, the hatching of new schemes for Federal expansion and, of course, the cost of maintaining a government running at full blast."...

Saying goodbye to A.C. means saying hello to the world. With more people spending more time outdoors -- particularly in the late afternoon and evening, when temperatures fall more quickly outside than they do inside -- neighborhoods see a boom in spontaneous summertime socializing.

Rather than cowering alone in chilly home-entertainment rooms, neighbors get to know one another. Because there are more people outside, streets in high-crime areas become safer....

Children -- and others -- take to bikes and scooters, because of the cooling effect of air movement. Calls for more summer school and even year-round school cease....

May 15, 2018

We have lost Tom Wolfe.

Oh, no! I said out loud when I saw the headline at Drudge...

The NYT obituary, "Tom Wolfe, Pyrotechnic Nonfiction Writer and Novelist, Dies at 87":
Tom Wolfe, an innovative journalist and novelist whose technicolor, wildly punctuated prose brought to life the worlds of California surfers, car customizers, astronauts and Manhattans moneyed status-seekers in works like “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,” “The Right Stuff” and “Bonfire of the Vanities,” died on Monday in a Manhattan hospital. He was 87....

In his use of novelistic techniques in his nonfiction, Mr. Wolfe, beginning in the 1960s, helped create the enormously influential hybrid known as the New Journalism....

From 1965 to 1981 Mr. Wolfe produced nine nonfiction books. “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” an account of his reportorial travels in California with Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters as they spread the gospel of LSD, remains a classic chronicle of the counterculture, “still the best account — fictional or non, in print or on film — of the genesis of the sixties hipster subculture,” the press critic Jack Shafer wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review on the book’s 40th anniversary.
I don't think there has been a more important writer in our lifetime. So brilliant. So many ideas about new ways to write. I'm going to click on my Tom Wolfe tag to see what I've said about him. I feel really sad to lose him. I knew he was pretty old and would have to go sometime, but it surprised me to see the news just now. Such a loss!

"It’s a funny song for a play-out song ― a drowsy ballad about drugs in Chelsea! It’s kind of weird. He couldn’t be persuaded to use something else."

Said Mick Jagger about Trump's use of the old Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

That's quoted in a HuffPo article that forefronts something Keith Richards said, telling a tale that dates back to 1989, when Trump as the promoter of the Stones' Atlantic City concerts had put his own name in larger letters than band's name:
“I got out my trusty blade, stuck it in the table and said: ‘You have to get rid of this man!’ Now America has to get rid of him. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”
How did it ever happen that Keith Richards became the attention-getter over Mick Jagger? But here we see it again. Let's talk about Keith and put Mick as the afterthought. And of course it's not surprising to see the violent ideation with the flashy knife gesture getting preference over the musing about the song.

But I'm more interested in the song and Mick's puzzlement about Trump's persistent use of it to end his raucous rallies. It's such an odd mood switch — to talk the way Trump does about bigness and greatness and to bring out such cheering and enthusiasm and then to play "You Can't Always Get What You Want," like it was all for nothing. He was just winding you up.

I keep expecting that one day, when Trump's accomplishments are listed and he's asked where all those great things you promised the people, he's going to say I always put it out there in plain sight for you.

A religion-flaunting speaker might have said — after all those visions of future greatness — "God willing." The pop-culture man had Mick Jagger singing it: You Can't Always Get What You Want.

For you inside-the-park-home-run fans.

From the Wikipedia article on the subject:
In the early days of Major League Baseball, with outfields more spacious and less uniform from ballpark to ballpark, inside-the-park home runs were common. However, in the modern era, with smaller outfields, the feat has become increasingly rare, happening only a handful of times each season. Today an inside-the-park home run is typically accomplished by a fast baserunner hitting the ball in a direction that bounces far away from the opposing team's fielders. Sometimes (such as Alcides Escobar's inside-the-park homer in the 2015 World Series), the outfielder misjudges the ball or otherwise misplays it, but not so badly that an error is charged.
So there's a separate category that doesn't count as an inside-the-park home run, where the ball doesn't leave the park, and the batter gets all the way around, but the fielding crosses the line into error.

"She said [Christopher] Reeve, making one of his first screen appearances, became irritated whenever she would read during breaks."

"He’d say, ‘You don’t stay in character?’ I’d say, ‘For Christ’s sake, Chris, I’ve been Lois Lane for a year, all you do is look left, I can handle it.’ And I’d pull out my book and he’d get very cross."

From "Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in blockbuster ‘Superman,’ dies at 69" (WaPo).

[I]n 1996, she endured what she later jokingly called the “biggest nervous breakdown in history, bar possibly Vivien Leigh’s,” a reference to the troubled “Gone With the Wind” star. “If you’re gonna fall apart,” she advised, “do it in your own bedroom.”

Her collapse, she said, was triggered by a virus on her laptop that erased years of work on a memoir. The loss sent her spiraling. She became convinced that her first husband, author Thomas McGuane, was trying to kill her with the help of the CIA. She slashed her hair and removed several teeth in a bid to go unrecognized.

Over the course of three days, she wandered the streets and narrowly escaped being raped. She was found disheveled, penniless and disoriented in the back yard of a home in Glendale, Calif., and was taken to a private psychiatric clinic for evaluation....
That's the detail I never forgot about her: She was so mentally troubled that she pulled out some of her teeth. I looked to see if pulling one's own teeth is at all common in mental illness. What I found was "Pulling Teeth to Treat Mental Illness" (The Atlantic):
As medical director of the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum in Trenton between 1907 and 1930, [Henry Cotton] routinely practiced what he called "surgical bacteriology," the extracting of potentially diseased parts of the head and body, based on the observation that people who run high fevers sometimes suffer hallucinations.

This "focal infection therapy" seemed so scientific and promising that Cotton and his assistants yanked more than 11,000 teeth.... Cotton's experiments were unethical and awful, but they weren't that illogical if you consider the knowledge that was available at the time....

If you had no idea about neurotransmitters or lobes, it makes a weird sort of sense that micro-infections in the head would be the true cause of schizophrenia... [W]e still don't know, say, the very best way to prevent schizophrenia....
But it doesn't say that Kidder had the deranged idea that her teeth were the cause of her psychological distress. It says she was trying to change her appearance so people wouldn't recognize her. I question the accuracy of that report (especially since it had to come from the person who was mentally ill enough to subject herself to such a painful, damaging ordeal).

Chow mien.

Bokeh the Chow
"Bokeh the Chow" — cc Luigi Anton Borromeo.

Until that last post, in the entire 14+ years of this blog, I'd never used the word "mien." I'd quoted somebody else using it, and I only used it just now because I'd quoted somebody who'd written "his whole mien charged with sex" and repeating the word seemed funny to me.

But I had to look it up, because I wanted to be sure that the word properly applied to the whole body and not just to the face. It does. It means "The look, bearing, manner, or conduct of a person, as showing character, mood, etc." (OED).

But there was a second entry for "mien": "Chinese noodles made with flour." Oldest example published in English:
1890 Cent. Mag. Nov. 15 The food of this people is mien or vermicelli, and cakes of wheat flour called mo-kui or mo-mo, varying only in size and thickness, but never in their sodden indigestibility.
Well, that's mien mean! That entry also says: "Cf. chow mein n." Notice the "ie" gets reversed in the name of the familiar restaurant dish. I guess that's why I'd never thought of "Chow mien," but I love the mien of the Chow called Bokeh.

The best example I have ever seen of a NYT article with the comments function disabled.

Here's the link to the article: "Welcome to the Age of the Twink," by Nick Haramis.

The pre-censorship of reader commentary is interesting and perhaps cowardly, but it raises the question why publish the article at all? Why the need to protect this article from criticism?

Now, it really turns into a style piece — not (ostensibly) about a manifestation of gay sexuality at all. There's talk of models and the repeated assurance that some of these men are not gay:
But the latest twinks — many of whom are straight — are what you might call “art twinks,” building upon an aesthetic legacy established by Ryan McGinley’s turn-of-the-millennium photographs of the sloppily skinny, or last decade’s leather-pant-clad Saint Laurent models chosen by the designer Hedi Slimane. And yet they are more culturally mainstream: a growing cohort of famous (and famously small) boys who stand in opposition to the lumbering, abusive oafs who have been dominating this year’s headlines.
Lumbering, abusive oafs... Apparently, according to "Notes on the Culture" — it's the "age of the twink" because we loathe so much of what comes in the form of a man. We're told of a popular music performer whose "whole mien [was] charged with sex" but whom we could nevertheless appreciate because of the "safety in his slimness."

Women, we're told, are "us[ing] their voices to undo [the] legacy of toxic masculinity," and this is changing the culture: "These twinks, after all, aren’t just enviably lean boys or the latest unrealistic gay fantasy, but a new answer to the problem of what makes a man."

Who is Nick Haramis, by the way? There's no biographical note at the page or clickable link on his name. I had to look him up on Wikipedia. He's Senior Features Editor, T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Did he made the decision to publish this in this form and to protect himself from comments?! The Wikipedia article is short, but it contains the line: "Haramis is also a regular on the downtown New York nightlife scene." I could also do a Google image search on him to see if he's a lumbering oaf or a man with a mien of safety and slimness.

May 14, 2018

"New Jersey won a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court Monday that could lead many states to legalize betting on college and professional sports."

USA Today reports.
The justices ruled 7-2 that a 25-year-old federal law that has effectively prohibited sports betting outside Nevada by forcing states to keep prohibitions on the books is unconstitutional... Justice Samuel Alito, a New Jersey native, wrote the court's opinion in the case. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented....

"Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own," Alito said. "Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. [The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act] is not."...

During oral argument in December, several conservative justices said the law impermissibly "commandeered" states to keep their bans on the books. But several liberal justices said Congress merely pre-empted state laws, a commonplace action.

What has made the law anachronistic is the advent and rapid growth of Internet gambling. Rather than stopping sports betting, it helped push more of it underground, creating a $150 billion annual industry.....
Here's the opinion (PDF). Excerpt:

"The United States has become the first country with an embassy to Israel located in Jerusalem, the disputed city claimed as a capital by both Israeli and Palestinian people."

"The new embassy was dedicated on Monday in a ceremony attended by Israeli leaders and senior White House advisers. Tens of thousands of Palestinians are protesting the move, and dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli armed forces, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.... For many years the U.S. — like the rest of the world's countries — have declined to put the embassy in Jerusalem, saying that the status of the city needs to be decided in peace talks with the Palestinians. President Trump made a campaign promise to relocate the embassy. He was not the first president to make such a promise, but he is the first to actually make the move.

NPR reports.

"I’m from the hood. I speak how I speak I am how I am. I did not choose to be famous people choose me!"

"People followed me on Instagram and the people gave me a platform to introduce my talent. I never asked to be a example or a role model I don’t want to change my ways because I’m famous that’s why I just mind my business. This is coming from a woman that bleached her skin but want to advocate. GOODBYE. I’m not apologizing or kill myself because of who I am."

Said Cardi B, deleting her Instagram account, after Azealia Banks said "Two years ago, the conversation surrounding black women’s culture was really reaching an all-time high. There was just this really, really, really intelligent conversation going on nationally and then everything just kind of changed and then it was like Cardi B."

I don't know how really, really, really intelligent the conversation was before Cardi B became a voice people were hearing or how she could have changed the whole conversation, so I'll just leave you with those quotes for what they're worth.

As for the "bleached her skin" business, here's "'Nobody was upset when I wore weaves': Azealia Banks admits to bleaching her skin and compares it to hair extensions and nose jobs in bizarre video rant" (from the Daily Mail in July 2016).

"The adult actress Tasha Reign alleges that she was groped and harassed on a porn film [Stormy] Daniels directed in November 2017, and that Daniels ultimately sided with her alleged abuser."

The Daily Beast reports.
“I was sexually assaulted by one of her crewmembers. He groped and grabbed me from behind,” [Reign] says, wiping away tears. “I spoke up immediately because I was in the moment, and I was so proud of myself. She was the director that day, I went straight to her and straight to the man that did it, we had a conversation about it, I went to the owner of Wicked Pictures, I did all the right things. And she did not handle the situation appropriately, respectfully or professionally. So it’s a little bit outrageous when I hear her say things about how she is standing up for women and wants to be a voice for other women to be able to come forward when I was assaulted on her set and she didn’t give me any care or attention, and didn’t even send that man home.”...

Reign was the lead in the film, starring alongside the adult actor Michael Vegas. She even had some meaty dialogue. On November 14, the first day of the shoot, she says everything went relatively smoothly—save an uncomfortable conversation about accused sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein. Reign says that Daniels was “basically making fun of the Me Too movement, in so many words,” joking to the crew, “Oh, I could be seen as Harvey Weinstein because I’m flirtatious with my crewmembers and I can be inappropriate.” It made Reign uncomfortable, but she let it go. (Daniels has made statements critical of #MeToo on Twitter.)...

"American Idol" top 3 revealed.

2 contestants were cut last night. I only liked 2 of the remaining 5 and predicted both would be cut. But one survived:

She also sang what I long ago identified as my all-time favorite song:

She also auditioned with one of my favorite songs:

You have to endure so much loud, show-offy belting to put up with the show. It's amazing that someone with restraint, taste, and quiet charm made it to the end.