June 29, 2017

Trump tweets that Mika Brzezinski "was bleeding badly from a face-lift."

Just this morning:
I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..

... to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!
Wow. That's harsh. He must know facelifts to be so confident he can diagnose the source of the bleeding. She had blood coming out of her wherever... face.

Why's he suddenly going back to New Year's Eve? And what's with all the "Crazy" and "Psycho"? It seems... crazy and psycho.

Here's the NYT story on the subject:
The graphic nature of the president’s suggestion that Ms. Brzezinski had undergone plastic surgery was met with immediate criticism on social media...

Mr. Trump’s comment on Thursday echoed a contentious remark that he made about another female television anchor, Megyn Kelly, during last year’s presidential campaign. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” Mr. Trump said, a remark that was widely seen as a reference to menstruation and drew rebukes from women’s groups.
Yes, widely seen as a reference to menstruation, but who knew he might have been talking about facelifts?

Over at The Washington Post, Callum Borchers is calling it a "blatantly sexist attack." Ridiculous. Men get facelifts too. In fact, it's Borchers who's supplying the sexism:
When Trump hits Brzezinski and Scarborough on Twitter, he hits Brzezinski harder, more personally and in a way that seems designed to portray her as insecure (“facelift”) and unintelligent (“low IQ”) — as a side piece who would not be on TV if not for her romantic relationship with Scarborough, to whom she was recently engaged.
Trump didn't say "sidepiece" or characterize plastic surgery as a marker of insecurity.  That's Borchers projecting. What I read in that tweet is that he found it ludicrous that the person trying to insinuate herself into his company was bleeding from the face. That doesn't sound at all like insecurity. Quite the opposite.

"An Agoraphobic Photographer’s Virtual Travels, on Google Street View."

Ha ha. I love these — in The New Yorker — screen grabs from Google street view.
After a while, [Jacqui Kenny, a New Zealander living in London] began seeking out certain kinds of views: arid regions with clear horizons; latitudes where she found that the sunlight fell at a dramatic slant....

Kenny now posts photos from the collection on an Instagram account called Agoraphobic Traveller.... Kenny, who is friendly and witty in conversation, suffers from anxiety that, on a bad day, can make it difficult to leave the house.... Kenny—who doesn’t consider herself a real photographer but clearly has a very particular eye—is drawn to stark landscapes and orderly arrangements: the straight lines of a road receding into the distance; a tree in perfect butterfly symmetry with its shadow; identical boxy houses sitting in neat rows.... The scenes are simultaneously revealing and distancing—as if you’re peering into people’s daily lives through a telescope....
I've done the same thing myself. I started the tag "Google grab" back in 2011. I can see that I was planning to do it a lot, but I mostly only did the first one, which convinced me it was an exciting idea:

Juarez street corner

Or I guess I did it twice. Why didn't I keep going?

It is cool to wander around in Google street view, and — agoraphobic or not — it could be better than actually going places, because I think you will go to different places when you don't have to worry about your health and safety or with needing to interact with people and feeling that you might be intruding. And when you travel, you're likely to go to the famous scenic places, but there's no point in looking at those on Google maps, because there are many better photographs of these things already on line.

This topic could fit as one more chapter in the book I'm reading right now: "How to Talk About Places You've Never Been: On the Importance of Armchair Travel," by Pierre Bayard:
There is actually nothing to show that traveling is the best way to discover a town or a country you do not know. Everything points to the contrary— and the experience of numerous writers supports this— if you want to be able to talk about a place, the best thing to do is stay at home....

[T]he question is not what we can gain from a knowledge of foreign places— acquaintance with which can only be beneficial to anyone with an open mind— it is to know whether this acquaintance should take place directly or whether it isn’t wiser to practice it through means other than physical travel.

Interview with @pixelatedboat, the man who created Milkshake Duck.

It was the perfect tweet: "The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist."

The backstory:
"I can't remember, exactly, but my best guess now is it was probably the Chewbacca Mom," @pixelatedboat, a comics artist from Australia, who asked not to use his real name, explained of the inspiration behind it. Chewbacca Mom, a woman who went viral for laughing in a mask — it was a much more innocent time last year— later came under heavy criticism for a misguided attempt at fomenting racial harmony. She got Milkshake Ducked.

"It was a thing that had happened a few times that seemed to be a trend," he went on. "I was trying to come up with a joke that would sum it up because I hadn't seen that joke done before, so I was trying to come up with the most absurd version of that that I could."...

"You’re well taken care of here. They got resources and... I don’t know there’s just something about the place. They call it the vortex."

"I’ve left. I’ve been to Arcata and Santa Cruz and I’ve tried Florida. I’ve been around America. Ain’t nowhere like Berkeley, man.... I sat out here before like depressed and starving but still too proud to hold my head up and ask somebody for food. I’m just sitting here with my head down. I look up, and there’s this guy handing me like French toast in a box. I was like, ‘Thank you, man.’ I had my headphones in. I put it down, I put my head back down, and when I look back up I see his fist in my face and he had ‘LOVE’ tattooed on his knuckles and he was trying to give me knuckles and I thought that was pretty awesome, man. And just shit like that happens all the time, man. You see a lot of manifestation out here. Manifestation is what I like to call it. When you need something, it just comes to you. As long as you need something important. Something that you actually need, you’ll get it. I don’t know if that’s manifestation or blessings. I guess it’s all the same."

From "How people living on the streets in Berkeley find their food."

50 years ago today: "[Jayne] Mansfield died in a sedan that slammed into the back of an 18-wheeler that was shrouded in 'fog' from a mosquito-spray truck."

"The impact drove the car's engine into the front seat, killing the actress, two adults and a Chihuahua (who rode up front) but sparing Mansfield's children. Mansfield's wig was thrown to the side of the road, where it was mistaken in news stories for her head."

From a 1997 interview with the undertaker, who said "Her head was attached as much as mine is... People always figured wrong about Jayne... About the way she lived and the way she died." (NYT link.)

Wind blows Irish weatherman off screen.

"They lost their freedom because they love freedom."

"The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has helped a small Cornish village buy its Methodist chapel."

"One villager, Valerie Wallace, had the idea [to email him] as a last ditch attempt, with the group having failed to raise sufficient funds elsewhere. 'We thought nothing of it and then we began to get phone calls from Dubai... We thought we were being hoaxed but it was no hoax.'"

Reports the BBC.

"This has been a long-stewing simmer for him, and after they cut him loose he was like, ‘Screw them, I owe them nothing.’”

“After the election, he made no secret of how pissed he was—he feels that he won that thing all on his own. They wrote him off for dead and cut all his money off... He was already left for dead and when you’re left for dead and you keep walking, there’s a pretty remarkable level of strength that comes with that.”

That's a quote in The Daily Beast from an unnamed "Wisconsin Republican political operative" in "Republicans Left Ron Johnson for Dead Last Year, Now He Could Kill Their Health Care Bill/Months after they left him cold and alone on the campaign trail, Sen. Ron Johnson is enjoying his newfound freedom from leadership."

ADDED: I'm skeptical of this story, so let me front-page something I wrote in the comments: 
Ron Johnson has such a modest, low-key Wisconsinite demeanor that it seems funny to me to picture him seething and cursing, just burning up and ready to go wild and break things.

"He was with my purse and he took off and I took off after him. Me being five months pregnant, I chased a little ways then come back, jumped in the car..."

"... threw it in gear and come across the curb and ran him over. I was not going to let him get away with it. It's not right, it's not fair."

Said Christine Braswell, quoted in "SEE IT: Pregnant North Carolina woman mows down shirtless purse thief with her SUV in Walmart parking lot." The "see it" is real: You can see video of the woman running straight into the man.

"Every day, millions of sweltering Pakistanis struggled to forgo food and water from sunrise to sunset, then roused themselves before dawn to wash, pray, cook and eat."

"The Ramadan ordeal has brought into sharp relief the chronic water and power shortages plaguing this arid, Muslim-majority country of 180 million. In cities, families had to fill jugs and bottles from public taps at 3 a.m. In villages, long daily electrical outages stopped fans from whirring and tube wells from pumping water to irrigate parched fields."

Temperatures during this ordeal were as high as 128°. It was like Death Valley during the day — long summer days — and they could not drink water. At night, it was still very hard to get water, with pumps not working.

The story — at The Washington Post — doesn't mention whether anyone died. If you had described those conditions to me as a hypothetical and asked me to predict how many would die — out of 180 million — my guess would be in the millions.

And what is the rule, really, about not drinking any water in the daytime during Ramadan? There is some kind of allowance to keep people from succumbing to heat stroke and dehydration, isn't there?

"And a leading religious scholar in Karachi clarified... that Islam allows the elderly, sick or weak to interrupt fasting in extreme situations. People shouldn't risk their lives for a religious duty," said a cleric named Mufti Naeem, quoted in "Ramadan leads to dehydration in Pakistani heat wave." That's from 2 years ago, when the temperature got as high as 113° (15° cooler than this year). That article says "More than 1,100 people have already died." And the problem isn't simply dehydration from too little water. There's also damage from drinking too much water once it is permitted:
"It's possible that the body cannot cope with this, depending on its overall condition"... Drinking too much at once... dilutes the body's electrolytes too much, causing water to be drawn out of cells through their membranes.... [T]his can lead to cerebral or pulmonary edema in people with existing health conditions."
Here's a lengthy discussion of the religious issue, by Dr. Kashif N. Chaudhry (at CNN):
Prophet Mohammed is... known to have discouraged fasting for the sick, and for pregnant women and nursing mothers. At another place, he equated those who fasted during times of hardship to those who did not fast during normal conditions -- both disobeying God...

Until the Pakistani government does its job of providing round-the-clock power and air-conditioned public shelters, those exposed to the current heat wave -- especially the children, elderly and sick -- must ensure proper hydration for themselves. And once these harsh weather conditions change for the better, they can repay the missed number of days at a later time.

This approach is in line with the requirements of wisdom -- and the teachings of Islam.

June 28, 2017

Woman shoots a man to death with a .50-caliber Desert Eagle firearm and says it was his idea as a stunt for her vlog.

He was holding a book, and she says he believed the book would stop the bullet and that he'd already tested the bullet-stopping power of another book. 

Before the shooting, she had tweeted "Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever. HIS idea not MINE."
[Monalisa] Perez told authorities that Ruiz had been trying to convince her "for a while" to shoot the book while he held it for a YouTube video.

Ruiz had set up a GoPro camera and another camera on a ladder nearby to record the stunt, according to the complaint. The two cameras — which recorded the shooting — have been secured as evidence for the investigation.
She shoots that .50-caliber gun from a foot away. Here's what that gun looks like:

How could he possibly have thought the book would protect him? But how can she be lying if there is 2-camera footage of the entire incident? She's charged only with manslaughter, so the authorities must believe her story, right?

The new Project Veritas video: Van Jones saying "That Russia thing is just a big nothing-burger."

WaPo's "What the latest James O’Keefe video leaves out" attests to the absence of unfair, out-of-context quotes.

Paul Farhi says "it’s what the video doesn’t show that may be as important as what it does," but I think what's most important is what Farhi doesn't put on his list of what's not in the video.

The omissions Farhi identifies are:

1. The video identifies the man on camera as John Bonifield, a "supervising producer," but fails to specify that he works on health and medical stories.

2.  The video fails to specify that Bonifield is based in Atlanta and "not in Washington or New York, where most of CNN’s coverage of national affairs and politics are produced."

3. The video doesn't say who the man making the video is or how he gained access to Bonifield.

See what's missing? There's absolutely nothing saying that Bonifield's statements were edited to distort or take anything out of context or encourage misinterpretation. There's nothing on Farhi's list that makes us feel we need the unedited footage to be fair to Bonifield and CNN. Every single thing is about additional facts that can be presented to us without access to the complete footage that Project Veritas holds in its possession.

These additional facts are perfectly easy for Bonifield or CNN or The Washington Post to share with us, including the identity of the Project Veritas operative and how he got access to Bonifield. Obviously, Bonifield knows that. According to Farhi:
People at CNN said Project Veritas’s operative was referred to Bonifield through a social-services organization in Atlanta called Rainbros that matches young adults with mentors. 
The link on Rainbros takes us to a website that says "Rainbros. Where Gay Gets Easier./Peer Coaching for Gay Atlantans/How can we help you make your life better?"

Farhi says: "Bonifield met the man in question about five times, and apparently was under the assumption that he was interested in a career in journalism." Yes, it's not very nice to use a mentoring service to get to some presumably kind-hearted person who is devoting his energy to (I hope!) helping young people. And this kind of trickery from Veritas is hardly surprising at this point, and we can talk about that. But I'd also like to know more about how The Washington Post and CNN get access to all the leakers that have been feeding the Russia craziness in the media that made the Project Veritas operation worth doing.

Let's talk about all of it. But let's recognize that Bonifield really made those statements and — from what I can see so far — there was nothing unfair about how they were presented in the edit we got yesterday.

"A man yelled 'Freedom!' as he crashed his vehicle into Arkansas' new Ten Commandments monument early Wednesday..."

"... nearly three years after he was arrested in the destruction of Oklahoma's monument at its state Capitol, authorities said."
In the video [on Michael Reed's Facebook page], the sky is dark and the Arkansas Capitol's dome is visible. Music is heard followed by a female voice, likely on the radio, saying, "Where do you go when you're faced with adversity and trials and challenges?" The driver is then heard growling, "Oh my goodness. Freedom!" before accelerating into the monument. The vehicle's speedometer is last shown at 21 mph (33 kph) and then a collision can be heard. Arkansas' monument fell from its plinth and broke into multiple pieces as it hit the ground. The debris had been cleaned up by midmorning Wednesday....

Arkansas' granite monument weighed 6,000 pounds (2,721 kilograms). It was installed Tuesday morning on the southwest lawn of the Capitol with little fanfare and no advance notice. A 2015 law required the state to allow the display near the Capitol, and a state panel last month gave final approval to its design and location.
By the way, in the Biblical story, Moses breaks the 10 Commandments tablets. Did you ever understand why? There are many explanations. Here are 4 explanations. 

Of all people, Phil Donahue says: "Don't be so sensitive." That's his advice to journalists who feel attacked by Trump.

"I think that the best way to handle this is to just keep working. Don't be so sensitive. Don't look like you have a glass jaw."

The MSNBC host, Stephanie Ruhle, seems to have no idea what "glass jaw" means. She asks, "What does that mean?" and Phil takes on the burden of mansplaining:
"That means you go down -- it's a boxing phrase, a boxer with a glass jaw is one who can't take a punch, goes down with a left jab instead of a right cross," Donahue explained. "And I think the press has to be above that. All you can do is pray that the people you serve will understand this and appreciate the job that you've got."
Speaking of mansplaining, do I need to 'splain my "Of all people"? Phil Donahue was the prototypical sensitive man

"'No jump, it’s important, no jump,' he said... But Ms. Mol, apparently misunderstanding his pronunciation, heard, 'Now jump.'"

"She threw herself from the ledge — and plunged to her death. The harness she was wearing had not yet been secured to the bridge."

From "Deadly Bungee Jump in Spain Could Lead to Criminal Charges" (NYT).

Vera Mol was 17. The bridge was 130 feet high.

"It’s been over 7 months since Trump was elected, yet my professors show no signs of putting their political digressions on hold."

"Because my English professors at Yale are largely liberal, the political message in my classes is always the same: Trump is a demagogue, American society is doomed, and English literature is our refuge. Liberal professors and students increasingly feel that it is their duty as professors and humanists to promote their vision of the political good. Meanwhile, the remaining campus conservatives have become less outspoken and remain fearful that they may suffer academically as well as socially for their views...."

Writes Finnegan Schick, who says he's "center-left, voted for Hillary Clinton, and... dislike[s]" Trump.

"But really, it would have been fine to skip this strange celebrity ritual, this complicated stew of personal indulgence, brand tending and sociopolitical me-too-ism."

"Yes, pregnancy is beautiful and powerful and worthy of celebration. You are womanly. You are phenomenal. God bless. But it has become virtually impossible for a celebrity to go through a pregnancy without getting naked for the cameras, her fans and — presumably — herself."

From "Let Serena Williams’s naked pregnancy photo shoot be the last of its kind," by Robin Givhan (in The Washington Post).

As Givhan notes, it all started with Demi Moore back in 1991. It was surprising then — unlike now — and it's never been done better. The photographer was Annie Leibovitz, who also did the Serena Williams portrait.

Givhan concludes:
But what is the broader value of the bared baby bump? Under the best of circumstances, pregnancy is a beautiful and life-changing experience. And every woman’s pregnancy is unique and captivating to her. But even if a woman is a celebrity, that doesn’t make her pregnancy newsworthy.
I'm not sure I agree. We could talk about the frivolity of our celebrity culture and the excess of vanity, nudity, and photography in American life today. But pregnancy is actually more important than we generally take it to be. It is our central purpose from a biological, evolutionary point of view. Our deep understanding of that reality pops out in weird distorted ways, but when we see the weirdness, we should take it as a cue to remember what we so often forget: We are all here because women carried babies in their bodies. Pregnancy is beyond newsworthy. By comparison, the idea of "news" is frivolous.

What books has Hillary Clinton been "losing [her]self in"?

"I finished Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, I devoured mysteries by Louise Penny, Donna Leon, Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd... I reread old favorites like Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son, the poetry of Maya Angelou and Mary Oliver. I was riveted by The Jersey Brothers and a new book of essays called The View From Flyover Country, which turned out to be especially relevant in the midst of our current health-care debate."

New York Magazine reports.

Sorry, I can't seem to get beyond New York Magazine this morning. That's where I landed after starting out in the South China Morning Post. Somehow, I only told you about the beer cans in China. I could have told you about...

1. The "pro-democracy lawmaker 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung" and his fight to keep from getting his hair cut while he's in prison.

2. The tourist who fainted when informed that the jade bracelet she just broke costs 300,000 yuan (US$44,110).

3. The 80-year-old lady who threw coins into a jet engine for good luck and got the flight delayed for hours.

4. The man who was fined for cutting the roof off his car to make it into a "convertible."

5. The thing that got me to that website in the first place (because it was linked at Drudge): "Police in Shanghai on Monday closed down an unlicensed fight between two teams – one led by a tai chi master and the other by a leading mixed martial artist – just weeks after footage of a similar, very bloody, contest went viral online."
In late April, Xu [fighter and promoter of mixed martial arts] scored a convincing victory over [tai chi master] Wei, after making controversial remarks about tai chi in which he said he wanted to “expose” its lack of merit.

“[I] crack down on fake things, because they are fake. Fake things must be eliminated. No question,” he was quoted as saying...

"I roll into the bar late but everyone’s too drunk to care. Mark introduces me to his friends. They’re instantly complimenting me..."

"... even his female friends. I’m cautious about women. Sometimes women get weird around attractive women — even the ones who are just as attractive."

From "The TV Reporter Wondering About Her Date’s Girlfriend" (in the "Sex Diaries" column at New York Magazine)

IN THE COMMENTS:  Known Unknown writes:
Still trying to find the point of the New York Mag story ...
And I say:
I read the whole thing and the point seems to be that life is best when "Nothing’s really going on," which was the time she spent part of a night "watching Shameless and eating... sesame chicken with fried rice and a vegetable egg roll." For the reader who worries that other people are living the real life and having the fun that she/he just can't seem to reach, the answer comes back clear: All that "fun" is not really fun at all, it's a horrid mixture of abuse and boredom, and you're not missing out at all.

"Dan Rather did a 60 Minutes segment on wellness in 1979... 'Wellness,' he said, 'that’s not a word you hear every day.'"

From "The Wellness Epidemic/Why are so many privileged people feeling so sick? Luckily, there’s no shortage of cures" (in New York Magazine).

Speaking of words you don't hear every day, I just learned the word "spoonies." Do you know about "Spoon Theory"?

Also, I didn't know that Arianna Huffington is involved in something called Thrive which sells products like a bed for your iPhone — a little wooden bed with satin sheets...
“You know, there is something so satisfying …,” Huffington explains one day in her crowded Soho office as she tucks her phone in beneath a satin sheet.
I think the answer to the question in the article title is: There are products to sell. (Here's that iPhone bed. It's $100.)

The #1 most-read article at New York Magazine is "Donald Trump Wears His Watch Way Too Tight."

"Judging by the photos, it looks like the president wears his watch this tight on purpose."

Video from China: Workers dunk empty Budweiser cans into a vat of beer in a factory that reseals the cans.

You see old cans — with the lids removed — lifted out of a cardboard box and submerged in a big tub of (presumably) beer by 2 women who are not even wearing gloves!

According to the article — in the South China Morning Post — people in China order canned beer because there have been exposés about the fraudulent refilling of liquor bottles. A can seems more reliable... seemed more reliable.

June 27, 2017

"Mrs. Palin brings this action to hold The Times accountable for defaming her by publishing a statement about her that it knew to be false..."

"... that Mrs. Palin was responsible for inciting a mass shooting at a political event in January 2011."
“Specifically, on June 14, 2017, The Times Editorial Board, which represents the ‘voice’ of The Times, falsely stated as a matter of fact to millions of people that Mrs. Palin incited Jared Loughner’s January 8, 2011, shooting rampage at a political event in Tucson, Arizona, during which he shot nineteen people, severely wounding United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and killing six, including Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old girl.”
ADDED: I've removed my "lawsuits I hope will succeed tag." For reasons discussed in the comments, I think she should and will lose this case. What influenced me was a close look at exactly what the NYT wrote.

AND: Here's The Washington Post piece about the lawsuit. Note the aspect of the Times statement that it focuses on as defamatory:
“Before the shooting,” [the NYT editorial] read, “Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral district that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”

The description was inaccurate. The map had put cross hairs over targeted electoral districts but not Democratic politicians. Following a wave of backlash on social media, the Times issued an apology and corrected the editorial, saying no connection between political incitement and the Arizona shooting was ever established.
That is, it's true that there was a map that used the symbolism of cross hairs, but only the geographic areas were "under" the cross hairs and the NYT falsely stated that human beings (including Giffords) were "under stylized cross hairs." That creates a mental image of a map with the faces of 20 people with cross hairs on them.

(By the way, WaPo has "a map of targeted electoral district," making the image of 20 targets hard to picture. There should be an "s" on "district.")

"CNN in hell" (See ya in hell).

Drudge links to "CNN’s Russia story debacle came at the worst possible time for the network" (WaPo).
Among its other high-profile debacles over the past month, CNN fired comedian Kathy Griffin, who co-hosted its New Year’s Eve program, after she took part in a photo shoot in which she posed with a bloody facsimile of Trump’s severed head. It corrected a story that wrongly predicted what former FBI director James B. Comey would say about Trump in his congressional testimony. And it subsequently canceled a new series, “Believer,” and fired host Reza Aslan after he described Trump in vulgar terms on Twitter....
ADDED: "The specter of a $100 million libel suit scared CNN into retracting a poorly reported story that slimed an ally of President Trump’s — and forcing out the staffers responsible for it, The Post has learned...."
Meanwhile, a CNN insider said staffers are furious at “having lost the moral high ground because of this story.” Sources said Zucker tried to rally his staff during a Tuesday morning conference call.

Your daily Mendota.


It's a 4-day streak now. Different every day. Not that different. But I'm keeping an eye on it for you.

MEANWHILE: Meade was mountain biking and texted me this:


Fake news about fake news.

Rush Limbaugh, today:
Three CNN members of the new investigative unit have resigned, i.e., been fired. One of them is a guy named Thomas Frank...  the name might ring a bell. This guy wrote a book way back when called What’s the Matter With Kansas or What’s Wrong With Kansas? He is an active, uber-leftist. He despises conservatism, and his book about What’s the Matter with Kansas, What’s Wrong With Kansas, was his befuddlement over how middle class Americans in Kansas would vote Republican and thereby vote against their own self-interest....
That caught my attention. What?! Thomas Frank — What's the Matter With Kansas Thomas Frank — was one of the 3 guys fired for the fake news on CNN?! That didn't seem right.

Later in the show, Rush was all...
You know, I was afraid of this. I know that there are two Thomas Franks, and I asked somebody to find out for me today, I was in a time crunch, and I said, “Find out for me if the Thomas Frank at CNN is the same Thomas Frank who wrote the book on Kansas,” and they came back, “Yes, same guy.” But I know there’s a second one out there. So now Snerdley is getting Drive-By calls saying it’s a different Thomas Frank. The author who wrote the book on Kansas is not the Thomas Frank who was on the CNN investigative unit and got blown out, fired, canned, resigned, what have you. So my bad. I thought I had nailed that down. There are two of ’em. One of them may be Franks, the last name may be Franks, Thomas Franks and Thomas A. Frank, I’m not sure which, but I know there are two of them. And I thought they were the same.
Well, how exactly are you better than CNN if you run with something without checking it out competently? I don't see how "I was in a time crunch" is an acceptable excuse.

By the way, Thomas Frank's newest book — "Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" — is excellent.

And as long as I'm talking about the 3 fired CNN guys, let me show you the ludicrous final paragraph of the Washington Post column by Eric Wemple, "Three CNN employees resign over retracted story on Russia ties":
Critics will long cite this episode as evidence that CNN is precisely what Trump has called it — “fake news.” Yet the departure of three journalists immediately following a mangled story provides a counterpoint to this particular slander. Purveyors of fake news, after all, don’t take drastic personnel moves following a bogus story. They rejoice in it.
They got caught! Publicly. They had to put on a show that they don't tolerate fake news. That's exactly what a purveyor of fake news would do.

"Nobody asked me to do this and it would not be the same thing I do if they had asked me."

"One is sometimes asked 'by what right' one presumes to offer judgement. Quo warranto? is a very old and very justified question. But the right and warrant of an individual critic does not need to be demonstrated in the same way as that of a holder of power. It is in most ways its own justification. That is why so many irritating dissidents have been described by their enemies as 'self-appointed.' (Once again, you see, the surreptitious suggestion of elitism and arrogance.) 'Self-appointed' suits me fine. Nobody asked me to do this and it would not be the same thing I do if they had asked me. I can’t be fired any more than I can be promoted. I am happy in the ranks of the the self-employed. If I am stupid or on poor form, nobody suffers but me. To the question, Who do you think you are? I can return the calm response: Who wants to know?"

From "Letters to a Young Contrarian" by Christopher Hitchens.

Samurai armor.

From the exhibit at the Chazen Museum:



You can talk about whatever you want in the comments. I'm ending the morning session of blogging before the sharpness, humor, and insight fade.

(May I just add a reminder that you can support this blog by shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal?)

"Keeping his own gray suit immaculate and his tone emotionless, O'Brien calls intermittently on a team of hazmat-suited torturers, issuing such concise instructions as 'Fingertips' or 'Teeth.'"

"Bursts of strobing light and jackhammer sound effects follow those orders, but even though we see the bloody aftermath and not the acts, the carnage is not for the faint of heart. Even worse is the ghastly anticipation fed by O'Brien's one vivid description of the ultimate torture, which plays on Winston's pathological fear of rats to make him surrender all sense of self.... There's no doubt that this imaginative production conveys the claustrophobic terror of a totalitarian state. But, especially right now, when many of us read the news each morning with a sick feeling of dread, who wants to go there?"

From a review of a New York play based on Orwell's "1984."

From "Why Broadway's '1984' Audiences Are Fainting, Vomiting and Getting Arrested":
The cast knew how the shocking scenes would be presented, but “it wasn’t until we got in front of an audience, when I saw and heard people responding, that I was suddenly aware of how powerful it was,” said Reed Birney, who has previously yelled back at a ticketholder who pleaded for his character to stop the torture. Meanwhile, Tom Sturridge, whose character bleeds heavily while being electrocuted, told THR that he makes a point of staring into the eyes of individual audience members, calling them “complicit” as they watch him suffer onstage.
That seems to be inciting audience members to come up on stage and save the character. I'm thinking of that protest at the "Julius Caesar" performance recently where a woman went up on the stage and denounced the performance. Here, the actors are breaking the 4th wall and begging the people in the audience for help. 

The travails of a puppeteer.

"The White Man Who Was Inside the Black/Rasta/Mammy Puppet at the Fremont Parade Says He Is Not a Racist."
I am the anonymous puppeteer who had the large black puppet in the Solstice Parade, and got such a public drubbing for being racist.... I fully intended for my puppet to portray in the most positive and upful way the contribution of people of color to the celebratory spirit of humanity.

One lady (white) came up at parade beginning and said that because I was white my puppet was racist—I was hurt surprised and shocked. I thought she was maybe a little nuts (from that Trump guy being president, all the shootings of black people, and the general rise of open racism recently). I told her I did not share her perspective on my puppet but she was having none of it....

Behind me a bare assed Trump statue was flipping everyone off—was this why people thought I also was disrespecting them? I never felt so misunderstood in my life....

What's the most disgusting thing about this Looper video, "Actors Who Were Drunk During Filming"?

I'll give you my answer later.

ADDED: The commenter Virgil Hilts essentially got it, in this comment that went up 9 minutes after the post (and it took 6 minutes to watch the video):
Thinking like Ann -- wow, the only examples they could come up with for actresses related to shooting sex scenes.

Thinking like most men -- wow, why didn't they show the actual sex scenes from the movies involving the drunk actresses.
Yes, all — I think all — of the actresses had used alcohol to get through sex scenes. There was variety to the stories of the male actors, and I don't think any of it had to do with sex (or even with overcoming inhibition caused by the ordeal the script imposed on them (unless you count Omar Sharif's fear of falling off a camel)).

Meade says that morning posts and morning comments are the best — sharp, humorous, insightful.

Later in the day, the quality declines, and at night... look out.

Is Meade right?
pollcode.com free polls

Project Veritas captures a CNN exec agreeing that the Russia narrative is "bullshit" and volunteering that it's all about ratings.

As the Project Veritas website puts it: "CNN is actively plotting a fake news campaign, aimed squarely at Trump--and Project Veritas just caught them red-handed."

"This 3,000-Year-Old Wooden Toe Shows Early Artistry of Prosthetics."

"Crafted from leather and wood, the ancient Egyptian prosthesis was was adjusted to precisely fit its wearer’s foot."

"Between new shops, expansions, and menu upgrades, 2017 is set to be the breakout year for edible cookie dough."

"Dō — based in New York City, where there is a line for everything — certainly garnered a lot of publicity during its January opening, but it wasn’t the only doughy debut of the year. In February, Tart Sweets bakery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, started selling its dough in 'doughwiches' and by the scoop through its cookie dough bar.... Earlier this year, Yoyo Berri frozen yogurt shops in Nebraska and South Dakota started offering raw cookie dough to liven up yesterday’s snack craze...."

Eater reports, giving the answer to my main question and using that word I've told you not to use.

My main question about eating cookie dough is: What about the problem of raw eggs and salmonella? The answer is they use "pasteurization and heat treatment" — i.e., the eggs are not raw. So if you like your cooked eggs with lots of sugar and flour mixed in, you're ready to enjoy this trendy dessert.

The word I told you not to use is, of course, "garner."

Urban Dictionary Word of the Day: Broflake.

"Straight white male offended by any feminist or ethnic activity which is not directly designed for him."

"Zillow is threatening to sue me if I don’t delete most of the posts on this blog."

Says McMansion Hell (a very funny and useful blog).

ADDED: The blogger is not deleting the blog. Start here and scroll to see the posts. I'm pretty sure I've linked to it before. If you like mockery of bad architecture and interior decoration, it's great.

ALSO: The post about the litigation threat went up on the same day that The Washington Post published an article — "The ultimate symbol of the pre-recession boom is back" — that talked about McMansion Hell and featured the blogger (Kate Wagner) in a very charming video:

Ah, yes. There's an update on the WaPo article:
Update: On Monday evening, after this story was published, Wagner received a letter from house hunting website Zillow that accused her of violating the site's terms by using its images. The "cease and desist" letter demanded she take all images down.
So it's a terms of use violation (not a copyright claim). Terrible. Zillow should be ashamed of itself. What crap PR for Zillow. It just pointlessly and stupidly makes people hate Zillow.

Reason.com presents LSD Microdosing as "The New Silicon Valley Productivity Hack."

That's mostly an interview with George Burke, who takes a tenth of a "typical dose" of LSD every day.
"I notice that my brain seems to be able to solve problems a little bit better than...before," says Burke, who runs a startup called Fuel that helps its clients custom tailor their diets to their unique genetic makeups.
I notice that his noticing is under the influence of LSD and that he's subtly acknowledging that by saying "my brain seems...." Why should we believe his perception? I'd like to see some scientific studies of how LSD affects problem solving ability.

Also, Burke talks about taking medication for ADHD and LSD working as a substitute for that drug. So he's struggling with something that is or has been diagnosed as a mental disorder. He's not beginning at normal/"normal" and edging away from that, but at disordered and attempting to replace whatever drug someone in the medical profession prescribed.

So the video isn't very convincing except as an appeal to freedom: We should be allowed to experiment with our own brains. We feel strongly entitled to affect our mind through reading, talking, and thinking about ideas, whether these ideas are at all likely to be useful or true and even if the ideas are shown to be plainly false and actively dangerous. If you can read, say, "Daily Inspirations for Creating a Life of Passion and Purpose," why can't you take a daily microdose of LSD? Whatever the actual value of either of these things to the human mind — even if it's nothing or less — it's a matter of freedom of thought, and it belongs in the realm of the individual.

June 26, 2017

Obama "didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good."

4 Trump tweets from a few hours ago:

1. "The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win.."

2. "...and did not want to 'rock the boat.' He didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good."

3. "The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia..."

4. "..under a magnifying glass, they have zero 'tapes' of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!"

Police seem to confirm what most viewers of the viral video were saying.

That girl was to blame for falling out of the Sky Ride gondola.

Of course, it was decent and good for people to gather underneath and risk injury to catch her, even if she was to blame for getting herself into that dangling-from-a-gondola predicament.

Here was a memorable comment that appeared on the WaPo article that appeared yesterday (before the police blamed the girl):
As a past ride operator at an amusement park I am going to chime in here. The way she was situated at the beginning of the video suggests to me she somehow got herself into that predicament. I'm not saying definitively this is true. But, I've seen people do pretty risky things on rides. One trick is to lift your knees as the staff is checking the bars are secure. This allows the bar to not be as tight as it should be. I've caught hundreds of people doing that in my years as a ride operator. Another thing people do is try to rock carriages to scare each other. I don't know if it is possible on that ride. In terms on the knee bar lift, it is the responsibility of the ride staff to catch people doing it. It is also the responsibility of the staff to not let people ride who are super anxious. Who knows if she was or not. At the end of the day, I'm sooo happy she is ok! How amazing the people who caught her!....

"CNN is imposing strict new publishing restrictions for online articles involving Russia after the network deleted a story and then issued a retraction late Friday..."

Buzzfeed reports, citing "an internal email," from Rich Barbieri (CNNMoney's executive editor), which read:saying "No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason." (Jason Farkas is a CNN vice president).

Buzzfeed also quotes an anonymous source saying the deleted story was a "massive, massive fuck up and people will be disciplined."

Meade texts me a photo of the backyard, and I squint at the image. Did a huge branch of the oak tree just fall down?


Home, I hurry through to the deck that overlooks the yard from the second floor, and nothing seems to have changed. Meade is casually raking the semi-circular lawn. What was I seeing in that photograph? That's the view from the roof — which is 3 floors above the ground. I'd been out walking the shores of Lake Mendota one more time...


He knows I don't like to think of him up on the roof, and I guess he took advantage of my absence to climb out there and clear the gutters.

Here's a view — from last February — of how that branch looks from the second floor — that is, how I see it for many hours every day — to give you an idea of how weird that texted photograph looked to me:


"The justices, in effect, said that foreigners with ties or relationships in the United States would not be prohibited from entering the country."

"But, those applying for visas who had never been here, or had no family, business or other ties could be prohibited.... The justices said the distinction should be easy to administer. 'In practical terms, this means that' the executive order 'may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.'"

Trump's (modified) win in the Supreme Court this morning, explained by Adam Liptak in the NYT.

"Sleeping on the job is one of those workplace taboos — like leaving your desk for lunch or taking an afternoon walk — that we’re taught to look down on."

"If someone naps at 2 p.m. while the rest of us furiously write memos and respond to emails, surely it must mean they’re slacking off. Or so the assumption goes."

From a pro-nap article in the NYT.

I'm pro-nap, not that I think anyone else should have to pay you for the time you spend asleep, but what amazes me here is that there is now a culture — is there? — of disrespect for the lunch hour. Eating at your desk is required now?

That quote I put in the post title seems — I hope! — to have a real one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others problem. Lunch relates to a time, not just the non-work behavior. It seems to me that you can go out for a walk or find a discreet place to sleep during the lunch hour just as well as you can go to a restaurant. Eating seems different from walking and sleeping because it is pretty easy to work and eat at the same time. It's hard to walk and work simultaneously and almost impossible to sleep and work at the same time. [ADDED: I'm assuming a desk job.] But what's wrong with not working during the lunch hour? Do whatever you want with your free time.

You want to know how to walk and work? I read and walk all the time, so if reading is part of your work, you can do that. But if thinking is part of your work, you can do some great thinking while walking. You can also be walking with a co-worker or a client and getting something done.

But how to sleep and work? If you're thinking about a work problem during the day, you might find that, after sleeping, you've made new progress toward a solution. I'm not saying you should bill by the hour for the entire sleep period (or even the estimated REM part of it), but I'd count that as work.

Back to the NYT article:
The Japanese even have a word for strategically sleeping on the job: “inemuri,” roughly translated to “sleeping while present.”...
That reminded me of this idea I find intriguing: "Mind-wandering/The rise of the anti-mindfulness movement." Excerpt:
[M]ind-wandering is showing every sign of becoming a thing, buoyed to the surface of popular culture by the overlapping interests of business and self-help. At the root of this turnaround: the idea that mind-wandering is not a waste of attention but simply a different kind of focus....

[M]ind-wandering is offered not as an alternative to mindfulness, but as a complement to it: "One mental mode is potentially just as beneficial as the other," as Fast Company puts it. A better question would be: why are these opposing philosophies of mind gaining popularity at the same time? What does it tell us about ourselves that we desire simultaneously to focus and escape?
ADDED: To sleep at your desk and help the Althouse blog, buy Nap Pillow, BotituDouble Layer Head Office Pillow with Arm Support, for Noon Break Desk Pillow at Amazon.

SCOTUSblog live-blogs the Supreme Court.

Because today is the last day the court will issue opinions, we can actually predict which six opinions will come today.
ADDED: "The court has denied review in Peruta, over a dissent from Thomas and Gorsuch." From the sidebar descriptions of cases:
Peruta v. California Whether the Second Amendment entitles ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in some manner, including concealed carry when open carry is forbidden by state law.
"Justice Thomas dissented from the denial of review in Peruta, joined by Gorsuch."

AND: They took the cake!
Masterpiece Cakeshop has been granted....

The big addition today is Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This is a challenge by a Colorado man who owns a bakery and regards himself as a "cake artist." He objects to having to create cakes for same-sex wedding ceremonies, on the ground that it would violate his religious beliefs.
AND: The Court summarily reversed Pavan v. Smith, "a challenge to an Arkansas law that requires a married mother's male spouse to be on the birth certificate, even if he is not the biological father" but does not require the same fro married same-sex couples." The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the law.

AND: The first case announced is decided by Thomas, which elicits a "Whoa!" from SCOTUSblog because it reveals that all the decisions today will be written by either Thomas, Kennedy, or Roberts. (The opinions are announced in reverse order of seniority.)

AND: Trinity Lutheran — the case I'm most interested in — is written by the Chief Justice. The state loses its effort to exclude the religious school from a program of distributing shredded tires for use in playground resurfacing. This is the legal problem of separation of religion and government versus the principle of not discriminating based on religion:
Roberts writes that, although the state's policy "is nothing so dramatic as the denial of political office," "the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand."
Here's the opinion. I'll have more to say about this later.

I'd like to think how Trinity Lutheran might affect Masterpiece Cake. Trinity Lutheran is about treating the religious entity the same as other applicants for a government benefit. Masterpiece Cake is about wanting a special exception because of religion. Do you want a nondiscrimination principle or a pro-discrimination principle or do you think religion should win both ways: Government can't give us special treatment to hurt us, but it also must give us special treatment to help us?

AND: Trinity Lutheran has 6 votes in the majority on the Roberts opinion. (Kagan is in there.) But there is a footnote, footnote 3, that's not the majority (because Thomas and Gorsuch don't join). It says: "This case involves express discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing. We do not address religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination." [ADDED: There are 6 votes on the Roberts opinion, with T & G opting out of that footnote. And Breyer also concurs. So there are 7 votes for the outcome. Only Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissent.]

AND: In Trinity Lutheran, Gorsuch (joined by Thomas) addresses footnote 3. Thomas writes a separate concurrence (joined by Gorsuch) to call Locke v. Davis into question. ("This Court’s endorsement in Locke of even a 'mil[d] kind,' id., at 720, of discrimination against religion remains troubling.") Locke allowed the state to withdraw a scholarship from an otherwise qualified college student because he declared a major in devotional theology. [ADDED: It was important in Locke that the discrimination wasn't based on animus against religion but, supposedly, a benevolent tradition of separating religion and government. Thus, you should see the importance of footnote 3: There was animus in this case, and these were not the good-hearted government discriminators who prevailed in Locke.]

AND: "The [immigration ban] cases weren't included in this morning's orders.... The justices might rule on it separately later today or they might include it in an orders list tomorrow morning."

AND: "We have action on the travel ban. 'We grant the petitions for certiorari and grant the stay applications in part.'" THE STAY IS GRANTED! in part.
On the stay in part: "We grant the Government's applications to stay the injunctions" blocking the implementation of the ban "to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of Section 2(c)" -- the provision suspending entry from six countries -- "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.... "We leave the injunctions entered by the lower courts in place with respect to respondents and those similarly situated."...

So this means that the government can enforce the travel ban with regard to people who don't have a relationship to the United States, but not with regard to the named challengers or people like them -- for example, who have relatives who want to come.

How to lose your job in higher education: Speak freely and cause offense... about white privilege.

1. The University of Delaware is declining to rehire the "part-time professor" Katherine Dettwyler who wrote on Facebook (and later deleted): "Is it wrong of me to think that Otto Warmbier got exactly what he deserved... His parents ultimately are to blame for his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted. Maybe in the US, where young, white, rich, clueless white males routinely get away with raping women. Not so much in North Korea. And of course, it's Ottos' parents who will pay the price for the rest of their lives." She spoke of privilege, perhaps relying, ironically, on the privilege of freedom of speech.

2. Essex County College fires adjunct professor Lisa Durden after she defended a blacks-only Black Lives Matter event (on Tucker Carlson's show). She said: "What I say to that is, boo hoo hoo... You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white-privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter all-black Memorial Day celebration." She said white people have had "white days forever," and this was one day when black people were saying "stay your asses out... We want to celebrate today. We don’t want anybody going against us today."

Both women voiced a critique of "white privilege." Is it evidence of white privilege that this is the offense that gets you fired? I observe that both of them spoke clearly and with edge but were inviting or participating in dialogue.

Dettwyler posed a question, beginning "Is it wrong of me...?" Are people so afraid to have that conversation? Yes, it was a time of overflowing empathy for the unfortunate man and his grieving family, but Dettwyler wasn't showing up to yell at Warmbier's funeral. She was showing her thoughts on Facebook and exposing an issue that some people might want to discuss, even if others want to slam the door on that line of inquiry.

Lisa Durden had the nerve to go on Tucker Carlson's show, where guests must know they are going to be hounded. Carlson had the easy side of the debate: Racial discrimination is bad. And Durden gamely jousted: The traditionally discriminated-against group is justified promoting and participating in a one-race festivity; can't you white people back off for one day and give us that?

Dettwyler and Durden should not have lost their jobs over this.

The mystical morning light.

Just now, in the backyard, as the sun rises:




I don't know why the light is taking that form. I assume the sun is reflecting off of something. But I am fascinated by the seeming shape of a jawline and ear. 

"If she played the men's circuit she'd be like 700 in the world... That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is an incredible player..."

"I do, but the reality of what would happen would be I think something that perhaps it'd be a little higher, perhaps it'd be a little lower. And on a given day, Serena could beat some players. I believe because she's so incredibly strong mentally that she could overcome some situations where players would choke 'cause she's been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, The U.S. Open, etc. But if she had to just play the circuit - the men's circuit - that would be an entirely different story."

Said John McEnroe, and I guess this is making the news because 700 is so low. 

Interesting factoid: "President Donald Trump approached McEnroe 17 years ago about playing a $1 million, winner-take-all match against Venus or Serena Williams at his Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City."

I remember the "Battle of the Sexes" matches in the 1970s, with Bobby Riggs bragging tauntingly about the superiority of men and then trouncing Margaret Court. (Later, under questionable conditions, he was beaten by Billie Jean King.)

I see Margaret Court is in the news within the last month. She said: "I mean, tennis is full of lesbians because even when I was playing there was only a couple there but those couple... took young ones into parties and things. And because they liked to be around heroes and what you get at the top is often what you will get right through that sport."

Court, 74, is a Christian pastor, and she was speaking on Vision Christian Radio.

June 25, 2017

Mendota and museum.

Today, in Madison, it was not summery, but we loved it down by the lake:


And we browsed the Samurai exhibit at the Chazen:


"A secretive Washington firm that commissioned the dubious intelligence dossier on Donald Trump is stonewalling congressional investigators trying to learn more about its connections to the Democratic Party."

The NY Post reports.
Fusion GPS describes itself as a “research and strategic intelligence firm” founded by “three former Wall Street Journal investigative reporters.” But congressional sources says it’s actually an opposition-research group for Democrats, and the founders, who are more political activists than journalists, have a pro-Hillary, anti-Trump agenda....

The "Gong Show" is back, and it's terrible.

I was a big fan — possibly the biggest fan — of the original "Gong Show" (back in the 1970s). I was interested that they were reviving the show (and would have recorded it if I'd noticed when it was on). It's not easy to make a great show about being a terrible show. The original show achieved that miracle. But how can you do that again? And how can you do it 40 years later, after decades of going meta- about badness? Here, take a look:

More here, explaining the role of Mike Myers made up into a new character with a name I'd tell you if I could remember but I'm not going back to that link to find out.

"Death" framing worked so well for Republicans, so Hillary Clinton tries to deploy it for the Democratic side.

Oh, Hillary. It seems so sad. She attempts a tweet:
Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party.
Will DEATH!!!! work as a political message?

The Republicans famously, successfully used "death" to reframe political issues: death tax, death panels. But those were more precise issues that really had to do with death. "Death tax" was a reframing of "estate tax," and "death panels" had to do with end-of-life medical decisionmaking.

"Death party" asks us to believe the Republican Party is happy to let us die.

I would think that crudely shouting DEATH!!!! would cause many people to turn away from the whole discussion. And for many others — especially people facing life-threatening conditions or with family members who are dying or have died — the harping on death causes pain and anxiety.

Is this the right way to try to talk to people?

"Fifty years on from the Casual Revolution, the dream of wearing shorts forever has faded."

"Frustrated by the demands of individual expression, some have begun to yearn again for a shared and public happiness. Behind their desire lies a realization that was once universal: A society hospitable to the down and out will not be afraid to dress up."

The last few sentences of "Dress Up/What We Lost in the Casual Revolution," a longish article at First Things, by G. Bruce Boyer. Gee, Bruce, I don't know. A reader sent me this link, thinking I'd be sympatico, because, you know, I've got this longstanding "men in shorts" problem. But my problem with men in shorts is that the proportions of big baggy shorts and a loose untucked shirt cause an adult man to take the form of an inflated boy, and that's not what anyone ought to think of as sexually attractive.

But that might be your message. Feel free to whole-body announce that you are not to be thought of in sexual terms. But I've taken on the mission of stating outright what the message is.

But I've got nothing against casual clothing in general. G. Bruce Boyer (pronounced Boy-YAY?) is railing against jeans and work shirts:
[T]here has been the gradual gentrification of the proletarian wardrobe since mid-century: the work-wear of what used to be known as “blue-collar” workers, clothes that included blue chambray and denim work shirts and trousers (jeans), civilian uniforms of various types (postal workers, garage mechanics, etc.), farm and range clothing, and active field-and-stream outdoor sports clothing....

How is it that we have gone from wearing suits and ties to the office to wearing T-shirts, baseball caps, and a variety of military garments and ranch hand wardrobes?...
I have zero problem with any of these clothes. The only reason a man might look more sexually attractive in a suit is if he is physically out of shape. The man's suit restructures the body into the best approximation of the ideal by building out the shoulders and disguising the belly. The suit is the reverse of the shorts: It imposes the proportions of an adult male. But if you have these proportions, visible in what G. Bruce calls "the proletarian wardrobe," the message is just fine. 

"Pink-collar jobs are crap jobs for anyone... We need to reinvent pink-collar jobs so men will take them and won’t be unhappy — or women, either."

The closing quote (by a female lawprof) in a NYT article titled "Men Don’t Want to Be Nurses. Their Wives Agree."

The title is a little ambiguous. "Their wives agree" means women don't want their husbands to be nurses, not the wives also don't want to be nurses, but if the closing quote is the point, then the wives also probably don't want to be nurses. (And by "nurses," the NYT means to refer to mostly to home health care workers and hospital assistants, and not the higher level nurses who are more like doctors and who I'm guessing don't appreciate seeing "nurse" as an umbrella term.)

If the closing quote is not the point — and the bulk of the article says it's not — then the problem is that men (and their wives) perceive the job as unmanly, but if they could get over that mental obstacle, men would like the job and be good at it.

There's a third theme, barely touched upon. The work actually is manly, in that it requires the lifting and moving of heavy patients, and men really are needed.

And a fourth theme: Many patients discriminate against men. Nature discriminates against men by killing them off at an earlier age. There are so many elderly women, and many of them don't mind saying that they won't accept a male health care worker. They're afraid of sexual predation. Whether men avoid the job because they're afraid of being thought of as a potential predator (or afraid of false accusation) is not mentioned in the article.

From the comments:
I am a female doctor and I find this whole issue surprising and disturbingly outdated. Gender does not register to my consciousness when working with a nurse, only their skill set. I have never heard the term pink collar but I find that as irritating as the rest of the article. Not all girls do pink. Not all nurses are women. Let's stop the a stereotypes! Nothing beats a good nurse period.
Ha, the female lawprof gets knocked by the female doctor. "Pink" is only used in that lawprof quote. But I think I see where the lawprof's thinking is. It's not that she sees women as "pink." She's implying that other people see women's jobs as insignificant and the old-fashioned term "pink collar" seems to embody that disrespect. And — I'm reading the etymology of the term now — that's always how the term worked:
The term "pink-collar" was popularized in the late 1970s by writer and social critic Louise Kapp Howe to denote women working as nurses, secretaries, and elementary school teachers. Its origins, however, go back to the early 1970s, to when the equal rights amendment, ERA, was placed before the states for ratification (March 1972). At that time, the term was used to denote secretarial and steno-pool staff as well as non-professional office staff, all of which were largely held by women. De rigueur, these positions were not white-collar jobs, but neither were they blue-collar manual labor. Hence, the creation of the term "pink collar," which indicated it was not white-collar but was nonetheless an office job, one that was overwhelmingly filled by women.
But if you don't know the origin of the term, it sounds as though it's insulting women, and it may also repel men from jobs we'd like them to take.

And why can't we stop the sex discrimination against the color pink? "Pink Wasn't Always So Girly/A short history of a complex color." Pink would like to break out of your crabbed little stereotypes and live a richer, fuller life.

June 24, 2017

"Ringo fidgeted at the back of the room. … George resumed tuning his guitar."

"John and Paul exchanged blank looks for a moment. With a distinct lack of enthusiasm, John finally said, ‘Oh, OK, I’ll do something for that.'"

50 years ago today, a grand occasion that didn't much excite The Beatles.

"In our last two performances, the security increased again, and the moment before the assassination became meta-theatrical."

"As the conspirators covertly moved in on Caesar, I wondered how many eyes were on us, at the same time, waiting for their own cue?"

Writes Corey Stoll, the actor who played Brutus in the New York production of Julius Caesar that depicted the assassination of Donald Trump.
[By the final performance] our show had become the target of hecklers and online vitriol, and it felt as if we were acting in two plays simultaneously — the one we had rehearsed and the one thrust upon us. The protesters never shut us down, but we had to fight each night to make sure they did not distort the story we were telling. At that moment, watching my castmates hold their performances together, it occurred to me that this is resistance....

In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted to score points and to distract, simply doing the work of an artist has become a political act.... The very act of saying anything more nuanced than “us good, them bad” is under attack, and I’m proud to stand with artists who do....

Reenvisioning the Wisconsin flag for the Pride parade.

"We haven’t had a single negative comment. The response has been joyful. People just really think it’s fun."

Nice breezy day, high 68°. Walked 5.9 miles (or so this "health" app says).

Excellent cloud shapes made the lake (Mendota) photographable:


Part of the walk was out to Picnic Point, where we saw some great dogs, including a white French bulldog and a Norwegian blue beagle. I petted but did not photograph the beagle, and I photographed (but did not pet) this toad:


I've never noticed a toad carrying something before. I know the difference between a toad and a frog, but I don't like creating new tags, so "frogs" includes toads, okay? Just a tagging quirk of Althouse.

The NYT takes on the problem of groups of non-gay women going to gay bars.

"How ‘Gay’ Should a Gay Bar Be?"
“They use the space to become ‘wild girls,’” said Chris McKenzie, a 35-year-old computer programmer in West Hollywood. “It’s not at all in concert with what the gay men are there for.”...

“They think of us as ‘fun’ and ‘free,’” said Vin Testa, a 27-year-old educator in Washington, D.C. “It seems like they’re coming in to find their next accessory, like a new handbag.”...

“The women always say they come to these bars to be left alone,” said Larry Kase, a comedy writer in West Hollywood. “But it seems like they want as much attention from gay men as possible.”...

Chadwick Moore, a 33-year-old freelance writer in New York, [said gay bars] have become a choice setting for first Tinder dates by straight couples. “I believe the women are thinking, ‘I’m going to take the guy somewhere where I’m the only one to look at,’” he said. “Also, ‘I can check out whether he’s “down with the cause.”’”

"CNN has admitted it printed what President Donald Trump calls 'very fake news' and retracted..."

"... a demonstrably inaccurate hit piece on the President and his allies after a Breitbart News investigation uncovered significant inaccuracies and flaws in CNN’s work."

Reports Breitbart.

At the Catfé...


... it's lazy summer Saturday.

(But if you must shop, please shop through The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

Urban Cowboy?

From "Both Sides of a Breakup," The Cut speaks to both parties to a breakup and then presents the different points of view as a dialogue. These are real people (presumably!), a 38-year-old woman and a 37-year-old man. He's a free-lance photographer — "super-talented," as she puts it. She has a "skin-care business," but found money "always tight." At first she thought maybe he lives like he does because there's "family money," but there wasn't:
Jackson: I didn’t make the kind of money she wanted me to, which bothered her way more than me. I feel like I’m lucky that I have a rent-stabilized apartment and work that I enjoy. In my eyes, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t provide for her or her son. Love, affection, adventure. I was devoted. Dollar signs weren’t a thing as far as I was concerned.

Carly: It started to annoy me, big time, how little he worked, how rarely he thought about money or ambition. He’d do the littlest thing, like maybe smoke a joint with my friends, and I’d just boil over inside. Like, “You fucking stoner deadbeat!” Meanwhile, all my friends were also smoking and I’d be like, “Cool, love you guys.” But I was conflicted — he and my son had gotten so close and there was so much I loved about Jackson too.

Jackson: She wanted to change this very innate quality about me, which is that I’m not driven by money. I’m not materialistic. I don’t need fancy things. I just need good people, creativity, inspiration, honesty, a beautiful woman, a cold beer on my front stoop…

Carly: The Urban Cowboy thing got real old.

Jackson: I would have done anything to make it work, except get a terrible, soul-crushing job. And that was the only thing she ever wanted me to do.…
Her new boyfriend is a lawyer — a "corporate lawyer." No word on what he looks like, but Jackson was "really sexy, long-ish hair, amazing eyes, great body."

Anyway... "Urban Cowboy"? That's a reference were supposed to get in 2017? Is it the John Travolta movie from 1980?

I'm not seeing anything useful at Urban Dictionary, where the least up-voted entry seems most apt: 
An urban male who wants to be a [rugged] individualist without performing manual labor to make a living. These people include actors, singers (mainly country singers), government workers & Democrats. All Symbolism, but no Substance. They want the look, but not the work.

"Never have I ever felt more grateful for my limited responsibilities in life than when I was wandering through the Magic Kingdom watching other families roll their eyes and sometimes yell at each other."

"With every child’s tantrum I witnessed, I felt more at peace. Someday, I’m sure, I will have to peel a screaming toddler off the ground outside Peter Pan’s Flight. On this trip, however, I only had to answer to myself and to my boyfriend, who agreed that we should definitely try a wine in every country at Epcot. It was perfect, unexpected Zen."

From "Go to Disney World Now, Before You Have Kids," by Allie Jones in New York Magazine.

If the travel idea is go where you can see other people struggling under circumstances that do not afflict you, then why not visit prisons and cancer wards? I guess the key is that children are a very particular kind of circumstance.

You might be troubled by the impression that children are wonderful and the meaning of life and that you ought to get to that real life soon so you can live and do all the things people do with children like take them to Disney World.

If that's how you're thinking, a trip to Disney World without children could work well. First, it would prove that you can go to Disney World without having a child first. Second, it would help you see that there's good and bad in having or not having children. It's not that you'd learn that children afflict you like prison or cancer, but just that it's a mixed experience, a different mix from life without children.

The use of the word "pornified" in a NYT headline gets me to read a Bret Stephens column.

It's not that "pornified" isn't a word. I mean, it's not in my dictionary, The Oxford English Dictionary:
But it's in the Urban Dictionary:
And it doesn't need to be in any dictionary for you to understand it as a coinage. The word has appeared in the NYT quite often enough over the last dozen years, beginning in 2005, mostly in reference to the book "Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families."

But Ross Douthat brought the word to the op-ed page in 2010, in "Sex, Marriage and Upper Class Obligation":
American elites don’t have a strong personal interest in trying to stigmatize pornographers (instead of being amused by their antics), or in allying with anti-obscenity crusaders (instead of making fun of them). But I think there’s a pretty good case that they should do it anyway, because other people’s children, further down the ladder of education and income and prestige, might stand to gain from a less pornified society. That would be a kind of noblesse oblige, and it would be admirable and welcome.
Douthat was talking about actual pornography, but that's not what's going on in the new column by Bret Stephens (the other conservative columnist in the NYT). Here, the word is used metaphorically — and ironically titillating us in "How Twitter Pornified Politics."
This is the column in which I formally forswear Twitter for good.... Why now? Because... it occurred to me that Twitter is the political pornography of our time: revealing but distorting, exciting but dulling, debasing to its users, and, well, ejaculatory. It’s bad for the soul and, as Donald Trump proves daily, bad for the country.
Stephens says he was influenced by this New York Magazine article — "Pornhub Is the Kinsey Report of Our Time" — which has this quote" "Pornography trains us to redirect sexual desire as mimetic desire. That is, the sociological theory — and the marketers’ dream — that humans learn to want what they see."

Stephens explains:
That is what Twitter has been for our politics... If pornography is about the naked, grunting body, Twitter is about the naked, grunting brain. It’s whatever pops out. And what pops out is altogether too revealing.
That's what I like about Twitter and perhaps why my favorite thing about Donald Trump is his tweeting. I want the nakedness of the mind. Trump is great at tweeting, so to continue the metaphor, I wonder if Stephens's withdrawal from Twitter is like a guy deciding to abstain from sex because he's not up to the high-level antics he sees in pornography.

Is the analogy imperfect? When you have sex you're not (usually!) making pornography, but everyone who tweets is just writing a few words on Twitter. What the President of the United States does is, in form, exactly what any one of us can do — write a few words. The President just happens to be brilliantly effective at it. But as Stephens sees it, Twitter fits Trump's "style of crowd politics: unmediated, blunt and burst-like." It's "the reptilian medium for the reptilian brain."

If all that haughtiness and puritanism about terse speech and porn is making you want a laugh at Stephens's expense, let me show you what I encountered scrolling through the last few days of Stephens's Twitter feed:
The reptilian medium for the reptilian brain... indeed.

Mark Zuckerberg is in Iowa — running for President? —  and I'm scrutinizing the the rhetoric.

"I'm visiting small towns in Iowa, and just stopped in Wilton, population 2,800," says Zuckerberg, presumably somewhere on the path to running for President. He seems to be wondering why people even live in Wilton, Iowa. I mean, his theme is economic mobility demands geographic mobility. Boldface added:
Research on economic mobility shows that your ability and willingness to move for better opportunity often determines whether your quality of life will be better than your parents'. In many places, people are less likely to move, and that contributes to less upwards economic mobility.

However, in many places in Iowa and across the Midwest, people are raised with values that lead them to be more likely to move to other places for college or jobs, and therefore have greater upwards mobility...

The people I met in Wilton shared these values around mobility....
Wilton is doing better than some other towns in Iowa, and Zuckerberg met some people in Wilton who'd moved to Wilton from somewhere else in Iowa. Zuckerberg — who's lived his life in the Northeast and northern California — has found a way to say Honey, how come you don't move?* to Iowa people without seeming to reject Iowa. But Iowans better at least be willing to move somewhere else in Iowa if they want to escape blame for your downward mobility.

In Z's political rhetoric, willingness to blame the individual is expressed in the positive: You people of the Midwest have values. Your values will get you moving economically, because your values will make you face up to the reality that you need to mobilize out of the Midwest to a thriving economic hotspot like Wilton, Iowa.

I'm making a new tag: Zuckerberg rhetoric. I only make a special "rhetoric" tag for a person when I'm seriously following a run for President and I expect a lot of material.

By the way, Mark Zuckerberg is only 33 years old, not old enough yet to be President, but old enough to run. Anybody who wants to support him will have to give up the argument that it was ridiculous for Trump to think he could begin a political career with the office of President and that a lifetime of experience in business isn't transferable to the presidency. (And Zuckerberg is less than half Trump's age, and his career in business is only 13 years long, and Trump had half a century in business.)

* The italicized words are the last line of Bob Dylan's "On the Road Again."