December 6, 2014

Real estate.


"As I listen to 'Serial,' I have this thought in my head: Don't let this wind up being a contemplation on the nature of truth."

"Don't let this wind up being a contemplation on the nature of truth. 'Cause for all the interesting, chin-scratching, epistemological questions raised, at its core, 'Serial' is a whodunnit, and host Sarah Koenig promises that when it concludes, we, the audiences, will be presented with something resembling a conclusion."

From "A Psychological Explanation for Why ‘Serial’ Drives Some People Crazy" at New York Magazine.

"The group before me is Russian and they want to inspect everything, so it's easy to pass them."

"And to have the entire Fontainebleau Chateau to myself. (Are you playing the music?!)"

"I don’t wear [makeup] at work-related events, perhaps out of a latent sense of conformity."

"I do think if I wore it in a similar way to that of a female colleague, low-key and office-appropriate, I should be able to. In my previous job, I once saw my boss on a Saturday, at a Christmas market. I was wearing pink glitter under my lower lashes. I hesitated before going over to say hello, before realising that this kind of self-policing would make me feel worse than any kind of socially awkward repercussion. And he was a little surprised, but it was fine."

From "Men in makeup: lawyer by day, glamour puss by night."

"Wow! That's quite the racist caricature at the link!"

"Can you imagine what the equivalent caricature of a black person would look like?"

Unsent email... to the reader who sent me a link to "We Don’t Need Nice, We Need Justice: Racism and the Moral Blindness of White America."

Obama multiplies Christmas times 2.

Gift-giving is great, when you've got the power of the executive order.

At the Hoarfrost Picnic...


... there are 2 big tables open. Sit down. Look up!


"A Callow, Clickbait-Obsessed Millionaire Bought Their Magazine. What These Writers Did Next Was Amazing."

Most-liked comment at the Facebook post by Julia Ioffe (joined by 11 other TNR writers) that begins:
Today, I did something I thought I'd never do and quit The New Republic. It has been, hands down, the happiest, most satisfying, most intellectually stimulating place I've ever worked and my colleagues were, hands down, the most competent, talented, and decent people in the business....
AND: At another Facebook post about the TNR shakeup, my son John has this comment:
When I was growing up, my mom (Ann Althouse) subscribed to TNR, the New Yorker, Harper's, the Atlantic Monthly, the Nation, the Utne Reader, and the New York Times. So those were always around the house, and I read all of them. TNR stood out as the best.
Could you possibly make me look more liberal? Yes! I also subscribed to The New York Review of Books.

Lamest effort to deflect blame I have seen all year.

"In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced."

More at the link, but that one sentence is a masterpiece of mealy-mouthedness.

"Hillary Clinton’s History as First Lady: Powerful, but Not Always Deft."

What's the NYT up to with this article?

Living in the country...


1. Can you picture it? From interior of the TT, yesterday, we saw some interesting parcels of land.

2. Use the comments for talking about anything, including real estate dreams... and Badgers football/basketball.

3. If you need to shop, may I recommend The Althouse Amazon Portal?

Surprising fact about the Althouse blog readership.

You're young!

61% of you are younger than 35 years old (according to Google Analytics). Only 11% are 55 or older.

So... what's up with you young readers? You seem not to comment... I guess there's no point asking why.

"When colleges pick the one book that every new student should read... they tend to choose something of the recent-social-ills variety...."

"But colleges should consider the value in The Bacchae, something much older and, in its way, much more uncomfortable. Euripides’ play still matters after some 2,500 years because it is the product of a culture and a poet who were far better than we are at imagining themselves into a time when drunkenness was new. There’s a refusal in this play to take intoxication for granted. There is an insistence, instead, on seeing it as literally awesome — wonderful and frightening — in a way that seems to join our own adolescence and the far-off adolescence of our culture....  Of all the kinds of authority that Dionysus has deranged, it’s control over women that most dominates the young king’s mind. Again and again, in his increasingly feverish sobriety, he imagines how 'they fill great bowls of wine, then they creep into the bushes and lie down for lusting men.' 'I can see them now, in the bushes,'  [the king] tells Dionysus, 'little birds, trapped in the toils of love.' He is captivated and repulsed by alcohol, women, and sex... Dionysus promises to dress him up as a woman and smuggle him into their midst...."

From "How to Be Intoxicated," by Rob Goodman.

"Is that a real dog?"

"Button eyes!"


I comment out loud seconds after Meade's new post alert.

"I had to boot him out of my booth."

"I had a cosplayer pass by my booth all excited about the upcoming Doctor Strange movie, and wanting to dress like him, but the cosplayer had no idea what Strange does, if he's a real doctor, and when I remarked that he was created by Steve Ditko, the man who made Spider-Man, the cosplayer asked me if Strange was related to Spider-Man."

Said a comics shop owner, quoted in a UK Telegraph article about objections to costumed fans at comic book conventions.

"Where do they get their money? Do we know?... It's a fascinating question to me."

Says Bob Wright, stroking his beard in thought, in a discussion with John B. Judis, who just left The New Republic in what he calls "solidarity" with the old editorial leadership just ousted by new management.

In that clip, Wright and Judis are discussing what it takes for a magazine to exert forceful political influence these days. The Weekly Standard does it, Judis says, and Wright thinks The Weekly Standard gets its money from Rupert Murdoch. "No more," says Judis, who suppresses a yawn and a little smile as he says "That's not an area that I." He can't be bothered completing the sentence! Money is not something that takes up space in his big brain.

Wright jumps in with the summary of what is supposedly Judis's view: "If you want to have influence you have to be willing to lose money." And let me paraphrase the paraphrase: Judis thinks that Chris Hughes, the Facebook billionaire who bought TNR, ought to have used his money to keep it afloat. Judis feels betrayed that Hughes conceives of his acquisition of the magazine as an investment to be made profitable. It's political influence that he should want for his money, Judis seems to think, and that's what Hughes should understand himself to have bought.

Consider the vanity and entitlement in the TNR writers who bailed out when they learned that Hughes saw their magazine as a business subject to the workings of the marketplace. Do these writers think they are, essentially, a charity, deserving of the billionaire's support? Do they want to be underwritten as they expound liberal policy, their vision for America? They will tell us what's good for us, but they feel entitled to freedom from the economic reality of market forces. It makes them yawn and smirk. It's so boring! Didn't this young whippersnapper Hughes know that the TNR writers would make wonderful mouthpieces for the political influence he must surely seek? They would come up with the policies and positions that he could pay to have expressed in the prestigious old journal he bought. For example, they could write articles denouncing the nefarious influence of "dark money" in politics.

How dare rich people have such influence... unless they want to buy a magazine and pay me a salary to say how dare rich people have such influence....

"[T]he President wanted so much to make his surgical strike bloodless that he could not make the incision..."

"The mission's failure is wrongly interpreted as evidence of the folly of direct action.... In fact, the reason the rescue failed was not that one helicopter pilot lost his way, but that the conception of the raid was not bold enough..."

From a 1980 essay by William Safire about the failed mission to rescue the American hostages during the Carter Administration.

I'm reading that this morning after seeing the news today:
Two hostages, including an American journalist, who were being held by Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen were killed during a rescue attempt by United States commandos early Saturday, American officials said.

In a statement, President Obama said the hostages had been “murdered” by militants belonging to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula during the rescue operation. A senior United States official said that the American, Luke Somers, 33, was badly wounded when commandos reached him. By the time Mr. Somers was flown to a United States naval ship in the region, he had died from his injuries, the official said Saturday.

Mr. Obama said in his statement, “It is my highest responsibility to do everything possible to protect American citizens. As this and previous hostage rescue operations demonstrate, the United States will spare no effort to use all of its military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring Americans home safely, wherever they are located.”
I'm not a military expert, so I hesitate to express an opinion on any military effort, but I want to say keep up this kind of pressure. Isn't a rescue attempt that fails like this better than leaving terrorists to make theater out of killing a man according to their schedule and their methods?

December 5, 2014

"The White House legend that is Barack and Michelle Obama’s romance is heading to the screen."

"Southside With You, a drama in the vein of Before Sunrise, chronicles the summer 1989 afternoon when the future President of the United States of America wooed his future First Lady on an epic first date across Chicago’s South Side."

Mid-afternoon, Picnic Point in the fog.


1. Use the comments to talk about anything you want.

2. If you want to see photos by Meade, check out "Watchpoodles" and "Nehi to a Saint Bernard."

3. If you need to do some shopping, please use The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"Leon said he’s never seen any editor be so disrespected and dicked around — I’m paraphrasing — as Frank has been treated for the last couple of months."

From "Facebook Prince Purges The New Republic: Inside the Destruction of a 100-Year-Old Magazine."

"No, it’s not a race thing. It’s a Ray Kelly thing. That man singlehandedly ruined this department."

"When I came up as a rookie, you were assigned an older cop who had been around and knew what they were doing. We were taught that you catch more flies with honey. Basically, if you let the small things go — like the guy selling loosies or weed or whatever on the corner — then when the big shit happens, like homicide or burglary, those are the same guys who will tell you all about it. If they hate you, they won’t tell you shit.... Nowadays, since Kelly’s Operation Impact, rookies are taught one thing: Write tickets, do searches, make money. They’ll have a quota they have to fill. They’re not supposed to, but they do. They come up not knowing their asses from their elbows. These rookies don’t understand how to let the small stuff go. They’ll be on your back for a bag of grass. So then when things happen, they overreact."

From "'It’s Past the Point of No Return': An NYPD Officer Opens Up About What Went Wrong in the Eric Garner Case."

Ray Kelly was the NYC Police Commisioner. Here's a Wall Street Journal article from last May about Operation Impact:
When 82 fresh-faced police officers arrive in Brooklyn's 79th Precinct this summer, they will become part of a successful but controversial tactic of flooding traditionally high-crime neighborhoods with rookies right from the academy.  But this year, they will have company: The officers will be paired with veterans of the force and community leaders....

Operation Impact was created by former Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Supporters say it is a key tool in the historic crime decreases that have made New York one of safest big cities in the county....

"Who Gets Kissed?"

"Researchers at UW-Madison developed a new sweet corn variety coined 'Who Gets Kissed?'..."
The breed’s name pays homage to an old tradition where communities would come together to husk corn and dance, according to the release. When a person found corn, they could kiss one other person in the group....
Hey... University of Wisconsin! What happened to yes means yes? Doesn't this "one other person in the group" have significant personhood and bodily autonomy?

From a Civil War discussion group:
I must not forget the ever popular corn husking bees where the finder of the red ear was in great luck, for he or she was privileged to take a kiss from the prettiest girl or the handsomest man there. Let me tell you there was lots of tears shed (in private) and some heartaches caused by the red ear of corn.
From Forgotten Stories:
What laughing and talking and romping, as the dry leaves were plucked from the ear!... What sly jokes went about as to which of the girls the lucky finder would kiss, that being his free full right and privilege; and when at length the talisman was found, what a shout of triumph from the discovery, and what a trepidation and giggling amongst the girls! Our illustration represents a husking party at the moment when the red husk has been unearthed. The gentleman is about to not only claim, but to enforce, his privilege, and, from the expression in the lady’s face, it is not improbable that she fully expected this mark of esteem should the husk be found by this particular cavalier.

Sorry to step on a commercial product of my university, but the name celebrates a tradition of coerced sexual behavior. I know... they landed an ear of corn on a distant comet and I — with no comparable achievements of my own — just want to talk about what shirts they wore.

We know what made NBC drop "What Made the Red Man Red?" from its "Peter Pan Live!" but what happened to "Ugg-A-Wugg"?

Both songs have obvious political correctness problems, but "What Made the Red Man Red?" was not part of the original Broadway show. The Disney folk came up with that tune for its movie. Watch the sequence here and consider writing a parody, perhaps with the title "What Made the Mouse Man Racist?"

But "Ugg-a-Wugg" was in the original:
Sondra Lee, who originated the role of Tiger Lily in 1954, told the New York Post she won't be watching Thursday's broadcast, and said that she is disappointed that "Ugg-a-Wugg" has been revamped. "If you have a classic, don’t mess with it," says Lee. "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!" Ain't broke? Really? The contingent of Native Americans who've consistently objected to depictions of their languages as meaningless savage grunting would disagree with her assessment.
Indian Country has an interview with Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, who worked on the replacement song for the "Peter Pan Live!" that aired on NBC last night:
You can find Sondra Lee's "Ugg-a-Wugg" from a 1956 broadcast on YouTube, as well as the audio from the Original Cast Recording, complete with the phrases "smoke-um peace pipe" and "brave noble redskin"... Did you actually re-write the piece?

... There were three major things that I addressed in that particular number: first, the opening rhythm where the strings play a col legno [striking the strings with the stick of the bow].  We talked about how to make that sound more like an Iroquois Smoke Dance rhythm, which was appropriate for that region. [The creator of Peter Pan, Scottish author J. M. Barrie, is believed to have been inspired by the Indians of the Northeastern U.S.]

It’s not the stereotypical repetitive beat of ONE-two-three-four?

The NYT and Rush Limbaugh have a similar take on the NYC chokehold incident, but there's a key difference.

The NYT in "It Wasn’t Just the Chokehold/Eric Garner, Daniel Pantaleo and Lethal Police Tactics":
The Garner killing must lead to major changes in policy, particularly in the use of 'broken windows' policing — a strategy in which Officer Pantaleo specialized, according to a report in September by WNYC, which found that he had made hundreds of arrests since joining the force in 2007, leading to at least 259 criminal cases, all but a fraction of those involving petty offenses. The department must find a better way to keep communities safe than aggressively hounding the sellers of loose cigarettes.
Rush Limbaugh had a similar but different focus:
[T]he sole reason why a guy like Eric Garner even has a job selling loosies is that the City of New York is hell-bent on collecting its precious taxes from $13 a pack.  So here come all these black market guys trying to take advantage of the fact that people will pay much less than that if they're given the chance.  This is what the left, liberals never understand about their idiotic tax policies....

Remember, the cops had been summoned by a minority-owned business complaining this guy was hurting his business. You had a minority-owned business owner call the cops and say, "Hey, look, I got a guy selling illegal black market cigarettes out in front of my store. You gotta come do something about it." The cops showed up, because it's a focal point for the city and its tax collection efforts. It was more than one local business. A bunch of them were saying that Garner and people like him were hurting their businesses with cheap cigarettes. He was driving business away....

The people in charge of all this have themselves set the stage for black market circumstances to prosper and thrive. And hello Eric Garner selling loosies. I still can't get over that. Individual illegal cigarettes. It's just stunning....
Number of times the word tax/taxes appears in the Limbaugh transcript: 40.

Number of times the word tax/taxes appears in the NYT article: 0.

December 4, 2014

Admit it...

... if you watched "Peter Pan Live!"

"Is The New Republic breaking up with itself on its 100th anniversary?"

"It sure looks like it."

Lesson 9: How to draw/paint like Paul Klee.

Do not click through to the arcana unless you are truly one of those struck with the strange desire to understand the works of Paul Klee. No one else is wanted in here. Move on if you don't know what this is about.

This is, without question, the best argument I have ever seen for electing Hillary Clinton in 2016.

It's quite bizarre to experience the power of emotion and art so... starkly. There is no content to the argument. It works entirely through emotion and one must fight off the influence that strikes so insidiously into the lower depths of the nervous system.

"Two hours after its creation, passersby destroyed an art installment reacting to the event at Ferguson..."

"... which was made by two UW students at the George L. Mosse Humanities Building Tuesday evening."
The piece featured a black hooded sweatshirt hung upside-down from a walkway on the building with the words, “Black be nimble, black be quick, black be dead white magic trick,” written on the sidewalk in dark-colored duct tape....

“The piece isn’t just about Ferguson... It’s about a long discourse in the history of the disposing of black bodies, and it’s important. We wanted to put this on campus because there’s conversations around this topic, and we think that it’s necessary.”
The story — in the student newspaper — doesn't explain the destruction of the artwork. I think it could easily have been perceived as hostile to black people and may very well have been removed by someone who saw it not as an artwork in support of racial harmony but as racist graffiti accompanied by a lynching effigy.

"Apple deleted music that some iPod owners had downloaded from competing music services from 2007 to 2009 without telling users..."

"... attorneys for consumers told jurors in a class-action antitrust suit against Apple Wednesday."

UPDATE: Apple wins.

"The Chancellor thinks Putin believes that we’re decadent, we’re gay, we have women with beards..."

"That it’s a strong Russia of real men versus the decadent West that’s too pampered, too spoiled, to stand up for their beliefs if it costs them one per cent of their standard of living. That’s his wager. We have to prove it’s not true."

Said an unnamed German official quoted in the New Yorker article "The Quiet German/The astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world."

As for what Merkel thinks of American Presidents:
“She does not really think Obama is a helpful partner,” Torsten Krauel, a senior writer for Die Welt, said. “She thinks he is a professor, a loner, unable to build coalitions.” Merkel’s relationship with Bush was much warmer than hers with Obama, the longtime political associate said. A demonstrative man like Bush sparks a response, whereas Obama and Merkel are like “two hit men in the same room. They don’t have to talk—both are quiet, both are killers.”
A demonstrative man like Bush sparks a response... Hmm... time to reexamine the old video:

She's smiling in the end, something you can really see in the longer video here, at Kos, where the assertion is that the gesture is "most unwelcome." How do we know?! I mean, I know you're not supposed to touch people unless you know it is welcome, but that doesn't mean we know it's not welcome.

"Why are colleges in the business of adjudicating rape?"

"In fact, there’s a very good reason that universities are charged with the task of handling matters of sexual assault and harassment."
Recognizing this history is critical to encouraging (and even forcing) schools to protect students from sexual violence....

When [Title IX of the 1972 Higher Education Amendments] was passed, legislators sought to ensure that women, in many cases newly allowed on coed campuses, could learn and thrive like their male peers and enter the professional world on an equal playing field....

When a student faces harassment, abuse or assault at school, it’s hard to learn. And because women are disproportionately victims, this leads to gender disparities in students’ access to education and ability to succeed.

"Do Police Body Cameras Actually Work?/After Ferguson, the president is betting millions on a technology that's still being tested around the world."

Uri Friedman, in The Atlantic:
Barak Ariel, a criminologist at the University of Cambridge... currently researching the effects of body cameras on policing... insists that there isn't enough evidence so far to generalize the finding and assert that body-worn cameras offer a net benefit to community policing....

There are... privacy concerns — the fear... that cameras "could turn every officer into a mobile, closed-circuit camera, hooked up to a database tracking and recording people’s movements across the city." People could refrain from reporting incidents to the police because they don't want to appear on camera...

"As Chris Rock recently found out, there's a fine line between comedy and offense..."

"... and Palin cuts it close."

"Forty percent of women said their men would get distracted by the TV during a conversation at least once a day..."

"... while a third said he would take out his phone in the middle of a conversation or during a meal together. A quarter said their partner would actually send texts or emails to another person while they were having a face-to-face conversation."

From an NPR report on a survey of 143 married or cohabiting heterosexual women. No word on whether women (and gay people) interact with electronic devices during conversations.

By the way, I love the illustration at the link.

"The move by the Girl Scouts this week to allow its troopers to sell cookies online has been met with mixed emotions by parents..."

"... officials within the organization and privacy advocates who raised concerns about exposing so many girls, as young as 13, to the potential for cyber-bullying, online predators and other dangers of the Web...."
Ultimately, the Girl Scouts said it is relying on parents to be the last line of defense against other kinds of threats online. That's why parental education is paramount, said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. Some may not think twice about letting their kids send links to their Web sites far and wide, or upload videos that show off their schools, homes or neighborhoods as part of a sales pitch. And in the intense competition to increase sales, some youths might let their location or full name slip.

"First, some parents would need to earn a privacy badge themselves," he said. "But you can't treat teens like little adults in terms of their privacy, especially when they're being encouraged to sell no matter what."

"I want this chick to throw up on me in front of the world, so that I can tell them, you know what?"

"You could never, ever degrade me as much as I could degrade myself and look how beautiful it is what I do."

Said Lady Gaga, talking to Howard Stern, about her video for the song "Swine" and revealing that, years ago, she was raped.
"I don't want to be defined by it... I'll be damned if somebody is going to say that every creatively intelligent thing I ever did is all boiled down to one dickhead that did that to me."

"No justice, no tree!" chanted the mob.

"Fuck the tree!"

Fucking the Christmas tree somehow seemed to be an appropriate commentary on the nonindictment of the cop in the New York City chokehold incident to what the New York Post called "[h]undreds of frustrated anarchists." What's the thinking there? The tree — the 85-foot-tall Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center — happened to be the focus of another crowd at the same time.

Thousands of people had gathered for the lighting ceremony yesterday evening, so there were radically different mobs on the street: 1. the planned assembly, crowded with tourists and media folk and lit for a television performance, and 2. the so-called frustrated anarchists. I'm thinking: frustrated or anarchist, not frustrated and anarchist. Wouldn't real anarchists feel energized by the opportunity, that is, less frustrated than usual? I'm thinking this wasn't a case of one crowd trying to merge with another but two already merged crowds trying to engulf a third.

The NYT — quoting only "No justice, no tree!" and not "Fuck the tree!" — tells us that the protest crowd assembled in Times Square, "began marching north along the Seventh Avenue sidewalk" and "turned east, declaring their intention to go to Rockefeller Center, where the Christmas tree lighting ceremony was scheduled."
But a maze of metal police barricades on Avenue of the Americas kept the marchers away. At one point, dozens of marchers attempted to push through the barricades. And at at least two points, marchers attempted to push through while chanting, “We have a right to public space,” and “We have the right to cross the street.” In both instances, police officers pushed back on the barricades and kept the marchers on the sidewalk.
By the way, to judge from the photo in the Post, the crowd was — to use a phrase famously applied to Tea Party crowds — overwhelming white. This is something I also said about the NYC protests about the Ferguson nonindictment last week, where signs read: "Only Revolution Can Bring Peace!" "From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson/Down With Capitalist [Police Terror]," "No Justice in the Capitalist Courts!/Internationalist Group." I didn't really know what to say about that, so I just quoted something I'd read in The Daily Beast, last August: "Communist agitators stirring up a civil rights protest sounds like a bad ‘60s flashback, but that’s just what happened last week in Ferguson, Missouri."

Surely, many people are genuinely frustrated, and they protest because they want what nearly everyone wants: good police protection and respect for individual rights. But others, I suspect, are energized and opportunistic, and have entirely different goals. 

December 3, 2014

At the Late Night Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

"[A] small community of detractors is subjecting Serial to a scathing critique framed in the language of social justice."

"Its narrator and producer stands accused of exemplifying white privilege, stereotyping Asian Americans and Muslims, racism against blacks, and making 'people of color' cringe," writes Conor Friedorsdorf (about the popular podcast).
In Serial, the victim, Hae, is a Korean-American daughter of immigrants, while the man convicted of killing her, Adnan, is the son of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan. "Sarah Koenig, the journalist telling their story, is white," [writes Jay Caspian Kang's article in The Awl, "'Serial' and White Reporter Privilege."] "This, on its face, is not a problem. If Serial were a newspaper story or even a traditional magazine feature, the identities of all three could exist alone as facts; the reader could decide how much weight to place upon them. But Serial is an experiment in two old forms: the weekly radio crime show, and the confessional true-crime narrative, wherein the journalist plays the role of the protagonist. The pretense of objectivity is stripped away: [Sarah] Koenig emerges as the subject as the show’s drama revolves not so much around the crime, but rather, her obsessions with it."
That's all rather interesting, but let me introduce a second topic. Reread those last 2 sentences of the indented paragraph. I'm thinking that Koenig's podcast belongs in that trend I was talking about earlier today: under-edited stream-of-consciousness written by anguishing liberals. It's particularly similar to Josh Marshall's "thinking-out-loud/welcome-to-my-mind type stuff" that — as I put it this morning — "goes on and on," dragging us through "the raw experience of his thoughts, subjecting us in real time to a performance of his mental processes."

There's nothing necessarily wrong with that intensely personal approach to presenting a story. It can go wrong, however, and Koenig may be influencing others who lack her style and skill... such as, perhaps, Marshall.

Attacking Atticus Finch for not taking rape seriously... is nothing new.

Instapundit has this today:

But read this 1999 law review article by Steven Lubet:
'Reconstructing Atticus Finch' is a reexamination of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. The essay takes another look at Atticus's tactics in the defense of Tom Robinson, particularly from the perspective of the alleged victim, Mayella Ewell. The essay considers a previously unasked question: What if Mayella was telling the truth?... Once we contemplate the possibility that Mayella might have been raped, we can no longer unquestioningly accept Atticus Finch as a paragon of lawyerly virtue... Viewing Mayella as a possible crime victim rather than as a conniving liar requires us to ask a series of uncomfortable questions. Do ethics depend on the guilt or innocence of one's client? Are some tactics simply impermissible? May stereotypes ever be exploited by trial counsel, even in defense of the innocent?
I had a pretty elaborate response at the time:
Does Atticus depart from his gentlemanly ways when he cross-examines Mayella? Mayella may be a pitiable creature – “the loneliest person in the world” – but if she has accused an innocent man of a capital crime, she is the equivalent of the rabid dog. Now, perhaps, as Professor Lubet has described, she is not lying. Surely Atticus would have refrained from shooting the dog if he had not believed it was in fact rabid, despite the sheriff’s bidding. One might say a lawyer must defend any client, but I do think Atticus forms the belief that Mayella is lying and that he must deploy his full powers in her case for this reason....
Read the whole thing!

"Grand Jury Said to Bring No Charges in Staten Island Chokehold Death of Eric Garner."

The NYT reports.

At "the Festival of Bad Ad-Hoc Hypotheses, or BAHFest, a satirical conference on evolutionary biology held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."

One theory addressed "why we yawn... one of 'the enduring mysteries of human physiology,'" according to Emma Kowal, who offered this bogus theory:
Flying insects are high in protein. They gather in dense swarms most frequently at dawn and dusk, not-so-coincidentally the times of day when we are most likely to yawn.

Therefore, she says, “these insects served as an alternative protein source for our hunter-gatherer ancestors, with yawning as the primary gathering mechanism.” In other words: We evolved to yawn to catch bugs to eat.

Ms. Kowal, a senior studying chemical and physical biology, cited as evidence everything from our chemical response (“after we yawn, there’s a spike in cortisol levels, which is a mark of hunger”) to the way our faces distort (“eyes shut so insects won’t get in, mouth open as wide as possible to maximize capture”).
 (That link was sent by a reader who saw that I'd taken an interest in a particular yawn.)


... for doing your shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

Trend watch: under-edited stream-of-consciousness writing by stressed-out liberals.

I don't know if this is a trend, but I encountered 2 examples on the same day, so I want to set up a trend watch.

First, there's a Salon article by Paul Rosenberg that was linked at Real Clear Politics (even though it was the opposite of real clear). Both Meade and I (independently) clicked on the click-bait headline: "Why are these clowns winning? Secrets of the right-wing brain/Bush tanked the country. Now the right's again running the show. Neuroscience explains incompetence of all sides."

The photo at the top is a composite of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Scott Walker, but these people aren't even named in the article. Why they are "clowns" or why they won is not the topic.

I quickly skimmed, adjudged it junk, and left. But later that day, Meade called attention to it, and I, needing to rest my eyes, said: "Read it to me." And he did. He read the whole, huge thing out loud. It was an endless, meandering screed that seemed like the author's raw notes scribbled as he rifled through various books on academic theories of politics and brain function and talked to some scholar on the telephone. He dumps the full text of the email he sent to the scholar before the interview:

"Students! Don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel!"

"Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Students! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!"

Source material: text/video.

"You can’t blame the web’s decline entirely on the usability nightmare perpetuated by banner ads."

"But it’s obvious that banners are not helping. If you switch from an app like Facebook or Instagram to the overcrowded, overstuffed, slow-loading web, you are bound to see a carnival of pop-ups and interstitials — interim ad pages served up before or after your desired content — and scammy come-ons daring you to click. Is it any wonder, really, that this place is dying?"

So writes the NYT's Farhad Manjoo... right under a banner ad.

"President Obama tries to use scientific jargon with little success."

WaPo headline for a video of Obama talking about something called the BRAIN Initiative... which had me a little worried.

"In the real world, most employers aren’t in the habit of picking fights with their pregnant employees to make their lives miserable."

"UPS had accommodated Ms. Young during previous pregnancy-related requests, including rounds of in vitro fertilization. We agree with Ms. Young that UPS managers acted like dunderheads when they sent a longtime employee on unpaid leave, but not being nice enough is not the same as discrimination under the law."

From the WSJ editorial "Pregnancy at the Court/UPS was doltish but that doesn’t mean it violated the law."

By the way, you might be wondering — this is where my mind goes, and I'm actually quite interested in the legal question in the case of Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service — what's the difference between a dolt and a dunderhead?

"Dolt" is related to "dull." A "dolt" is "A dull, stupid fellow; a blockhead, numskull," according to to the OED. Shakespeare used the word in "Othello": "O gull, O dolt, As ignorant as dirtt." (And that is how Shakespeare spelled "dirt.")

A "dunderhead," on the other hand, is "A ponderously stupid person; a blockhead, a numskull." That seems a tad worse than dolt. The origin of "dunderhead" is obscure, but "Some association between dunder and blunder appears to be indicated by the change of Dutch donderbus to blunderbuss." I'll pick out the "Tristram Shandy" quote:
And here without staying for my reply, shall I be called as many blockheads, numsculs, doddypoles, dunderheads, ninny-hammers, goosecaps, joltheads, nincompoops, and sh..t-a-beds—and other unsavoury appellations, as ever the cake-bakers of Lerne cast in the teeth of King Garangantan's shepherds....
There are some great alternative unsavory appellations there, no? I particularly like the combination of "nincompoops" and "shit-a-beds." The "poop" in "nincompoop" is not shit, however. It is an obsolete word that means "To fool, deceive, cheat, cozen; (also) to overcome." Shakespeare used it in "Pericles": "I, shee quickly poupt him, she made him roast-meate for wormes."

Why Louis Head — under investigation for inciting a riot — is correct to say "I’m not worried about nothing."

The NYT reports:
“The investigation includes multiple arsons, robberies, destruction of properties and larcenies,” Officer Shawn McGuire, a department spokesman, said in an email. “The statements made by [Michael Brown's stepfather] Louis Head are also under investigation. When the investigation is completed, our department will forward everything to the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office.”....

On Nov. 24, shortly before 8:30 p.m., as hundreds of protesters who were assembled outside the police station here learned Officer Wilson was not being charged, Mr. Head embraced Mr. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, on the hood of a car. Protesters had been listening to the announcement on loudspeakers and car stereos, and the family’s reaction was videotaped and published by The New York Times. Mr. Head turned to the crowd, stomped on the hood and shouted, repeatedly, “Burn this bitch down!”
Ah! The NYT is finding "bitch" fit to print today. Back on November 25, it wrote only "'Burn this down!' he repeatedly shouted, inserting an expletive." I had to go to other news sites to find out the word was "bitch." The December 2 article seeks out a reaction from Head:
Mr. Head, reached by phone Tuesday, said he had not heard from the police about an investigation. “I’m not worried about nothing,” said Mr. Head, who declined to discuss the comments he made last week.
Well, of course he's not worried! What could go wrong for him? Do you think he will be prosecuted when Darren Wilson was not? That would take some nerve, even if the crime is plain and it's all right there on camera. The cop kills an unarmed teenager and doesn't face trial, and then they prosecute the aggrieved step-father who cried out in raw outrage? That's unlikely. But what if it happens? Head will become the focus of new empathy and outrage. He will have fervent support and fine legal representation. Reporters will follow the trial closely, and America will be fixated on the tribulations of Louis Head. Should he be worried that he will not be acquitted?

Be very afraid: It's President HAL, the Democratic Party candidate built from 100 brains.

Here, look, on Drudge — the first signs of the impending horror:

Remember, just 6 days ago, Drudge warned us of the encroaching robots: "Flying robots to start serving in restaurants by end of '15...,"/"Scientists on brink of creating artificial life.../Digitize brain of WORM and place inside ROBOT!"

So they got that worm brain working inside a robot, and now 100 brains — human, not worm — have gone missing from the University of Texas.  Stephen Hawking has gotten wind of the plot. He's trying to warn us. At that link:

Stanley Kubrick's film 2001 and its murderous computer HAL encapsulate
many people's fears of how AI could pose a threat to human life.
And now "Clinton camp says long-shot Dem challengers still pose a real threat...." Put it together! Is the HAL Stephen Hawking warned us about going to be ready in time for the 2016 election?

I know what you are thinking: Does the Constitution permit a robot to serve as President? We skitter over to Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 in the desperate hope that mere words could save us from the calamity of not getting Hillary Clinton as President. "Natural born Citizen" — what does it even mean? In our modern world, are robots with the brains of natural born citizens not natural born citizens? If you say no, is it not a pernicious discrimination against the severely disabled? Look at Stephen Hawking himself, in his computer-enhanced condition. It is not clear where the line should be drawn, and the Constitution must be applied to the changed conditions of the modern world, where many of us hope to extend life beyond the old-fashioned death-of-the-body limit, with our digitized brains encapsulated within computers.

But, you struggle to argue, the Constitution requires the President to "have attained to the Age of thirty five." Surely, Hillary is safe. But this approach to constitutional interpretation is rigidly narrow — the sort of crabbed reading exemplified by nonliberals. The issue more elegantly understood is whether the brain is at least 35. Surely, the builders of President HAL are selecting 35-or-more-year-old brains.

And what of this assumption that HAL will be a Democrat? What does the Clinton camp know? These are questions we can only begin to ask. Maybe I need to rewatch that movie again....

December 2, 2014

The Yawn.

Perhaps you witnessed it, on this week's episode of "The Comeback":
While Valerie [Lisa Kudrow] is talking to the landlady, Mrs. Yi (AkikoKato), she spontaneously erupts into what could have been a seizure, a mating call or an alien birth, but it turns out to be simply…a yawn.

"[Akiko] is a woman with a genuine accent and she made a choice to yawn because she thought the character was tired," explains writer and co-executive producer Amy B. Harris... "So that's a perfect example of Lisa's improv. That was not in the script. (Akiko) just sort of made some interesting choices and it was 3 am. And when Lisa saw the yawn, she just said, ‘What is that?' and then several beats later, ‘Oh, it's a yawn.' She never breaks."

But the people working behind the scenes? They could not have broken more. "I remember it was 3 am and we were all sitting in a random apartment building parking lot just rolling around laughing," Harris says. "Honestly, I don't know that I've ever laughed that hard in my life. We were dying laughing." 
But you probably missed it, because hardly anyone is watching "The Comeback." It's a big ratings flop. A yawn.

Your ugly Christmas suit.

Replacing the ugly Christmas sweater.

But that link goes to an Esquire article (with funny pictures). If you actually need to buy anything — anything at all — please consider using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"Many institutions opened law schools precisely because they were supposed to be cash cows..."

"...and won’t be particularly psyched to suddenly start subsidizing them. Meanwhile, qualified applicants are now harder to find for schools with some semblance of standards, because the biggest application declines have occurred among students who scored in the middle-to-high range on the LSAT. Or, as [University of St. Thomas School of Law professor Jerry] Organ writes, 'For law schools, 2014 looks a lot like 1985 did for dental schools.'"

Writes Slate's Jordan Weissmann in "Get Ready for Some Law Schools to Close."

Shapes in center, pattern around/Pattern all over, pick out shape.

I seem to have finally extracted the a generic formula for how to draw/paint like Paul Klee (in my rediscovered notes from the 2002 exhibition):

Formula for drawing/painting like Paul Klee

So that's Lesson 8 in the series. Are you getting it? Below that formula seem to be observations on particular artworks, 2 of which have titles and can easily be discovered. Click on the links to view those 2:

"Princeton Eating Club Ousts 2 Officers Over Emails Ridiculing Women."

The NYT reports.
The first email, dated Oct. 12, showed a woman engaged in a sex act with a man in one of the public spaces of the club, Tiger Inn.  It was sent out by Adam Krop, the club’s vice president, to all the names on a club-wide mailing list, and it was accompanied by a crude joke and a reference to the woman as an “Asian chick.”

Later that night Andrew Hoffenberg, the treasurer, sent an email to the same list regarding a lecture by the Princeton alumna whose lawsuit forced eating clubs to admit women. “Ever wonder who we have to thank (blame) for gender equality,” the email began. “Looking for someone to blame for the influx of girls? Come tomorrow and help boo Sally Frank.”

"Rolling Stone Never Gave the Villains of Its Gang Rape Story a Chance to Defend Themselves."

Writes Judith Shulevitz in The New Republic.
[T]he reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, allowed herself to be bound by a vow she made to Jackie not to contact the alleged rapists, especially the pseudonymous Drew, said to have lured her into the room where seven men raped her. Erdely may not even have tried to identify them....

“If I had to guess what happened at UVA—and at this point, we can only guess (which is why we should not be passing judgment),” Wendy Kaminer, a civil libertarian and feminist who has written extensively on both rape and free speech on campus, emailed me, “I’d guess that the story is neither entirely fabricated nor entirely true, and, in any case, compels a real investigation by investigators with no stake in their findings.”

Get ready for Ashton Carter.

Obama's pick for Secretary of Defense.

"That combination of irreverence, scoops and spite is creating something new on the right."

"Conservative media, never somnolent, is in a new and different boom period, led by millennial writers who are striking out against fresh targets," asserts David Weigel.

What's he referring to? The Washington Free Beacon, The Federalist, and the Independent Journal Review. Hmm.

"The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race...."

"It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate... Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded."

Said Stephen Hawking.

"A video of two sisters beating up three men, who were allegedly sexually harassing them on a moving bus in India, has gone viral on social media."

"The men started to abuse me and touch me. I told them 'if you touch me again, you'll get beaten up'. They called a friend on the phone and told him to 'come over because we have to beat up some girls.'"
She said they decided to take on the attackers when other passengers did not come to their help.

"No one came forward in the bus to help us. So we took out our belts in self-defence [and hit the men]. If only the other passengers had helped us, we would not have needed to retaliate in this way," she said.

"Fatal hammer attack on Bosnian immigrant not racially motivated, St. Louis police say."

"Many at the scene of the murder near Gravois Avenue and Itaska Street speculated that the four men who beat Zemir Begic, 32, to death with hammers targeted him because of his Bosnian descent."
But detectives do not believe Begic’s Bosnian heritage or the color of his skin served as a motive in any way, police spokeswoman Schron Jackson said.
It's one thing to say he wasn't attacked because of his Bosnian heritage and quite another to say that he wasn't attacked because of the color of his skin.

Drawn during a conversation.

Scanned conversation drawing

The notion that threats on the internet should get more freedom of speech protection than threats made elsewhere.

The Supreme Court seemed skeptical of that notion at oral argument yesterday in Elonis vs. United States.
[T]he spread of social media has led to an explosion of caustic speech and acerbic criticism that some may see as threatening. Most justices appeared to agree with a government lawyer who argued that online threats should... be taken as seriously as other threats....

In his appeal to the high court, his lawyer defended Elonis’ statements as free expression, comparing them to rap songs, which often contain violent images and language.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said he was unswayed by that argument. Elonis can claim “it’s therapeutic or it’s art,” but that should not be enough to escape prosecution, he said.
The serious legal question seems to be about what needs to be proved about a criminal defendant's state of mind when the issue is not whether he intended to do the threatened act but only whether he intended to make the victim fear that he would do it. Can we just look at what he said and whether those words would make a reasonable person feel afraid or is something more needed, some other evidence of what he meant to do? Because he may have only meant express anger... to emulate Eminem.
The justices’ arguments Monday suggested the court may be ready to settle that question, potentially making it easier to convict those who post threatening messages.

Victims of domestic violence urged the justices to uphold the conviction. They said women who are stalked or harassed by ex-spouses and others deserve the protection of the law when threats are made.

Free-speech advocates supported Elonis, saying they worried about giving the government too much power to punish rants and offensive words.
ADDED: Here's the PDF transcript of the oral argument. Early on in the argument the lawyer for Elonis says that these days "people conduct their entire lives electronically," and Chief Justice Roberts says:
Yeah, you are going to find a lot of information on the cell phone that the guy is really angry at his ex­wife and ­­ and, you know, would like to see her suffer. And he's going to put it online, and then you are going to say, well, that was just therapeutic, as you said in your brief. It was therapeutic. Yes, of course, it shows that he was going to do something dangerous. It's a good thing that he had this outlet of the internet so he didn't have to do it... [A]ll he has to do is say understood your brief, it's therapeutic, it's a good
thing I could do this, or it's art.
The lawyer says what he wants is that it be shown that the defendant has notice that he has put the other person in fear, and then after that, if he continues, the speech is not protected.

"I called Lena Dunham... She said, 'Oh my gosh, it’s the coolest thing. It’s so subversive. You’re going to be in drag.'"

Said Allison Williams, who plays a character on Dunham's "Girls" and who got cast in the role of Peter Pan. Quoted in "The Cast of ‘Peter Pan Live!’ Knows You Hatewatched ‘The Sound of Music’/Allison Williams, Christopher Walken, and the cast of ‘Peter Pan Live!’ talk about bracing themselves for hate-tweets and our collective PTSD from last year’s ‘Sound of Music.’"
“I have full faith that this will happen.... People will hear the opening strings of music that they know deep, deep down in their heart, and it will make them nostalgic again. And they’ll crumble. And they might get one hate-tweet out really quickly, and then we won’t hear from them for a while—because they’ll have been sucked into the sense memory that hopefully will be Peter Pan.”
Is it "cool" to watch "Peter Pan Live!" on the theory that you are "hate-watching"? Or is the message that it's "cool" — that you're only hate-watching to snark and follow tweets — a device put out there by the network to overcome the defenses of those who really actually want to watch it because deep down somewhere they love the musical "Peter Pan" and they feel like rooting for the earnest efforts of actors performing it live on television but they're afraid it might be uncool? Well, you know, it's not cool to try to be cool or to think about being cool and there's always the old theory that the coolest thing is the straightforward, sincere embrace of something requires disdain from people who are insecure in their sense of personal coolness.

Oh my gosh, it’s the coolest thing. It’s so subversive....

What does "it" refer to?

ADDED: The relevant meaning of "subversive" in the OED is "hat challenges and undermines a conventional idea, form, genre, etc., esp. by using or presenting it in a new or unorthodox way." Example:
2007   Guardian 16 June (Guide Suppl.) 23/3   Enjoying commercial success with herky-jerky pop based on the ideas of Noam Chomsky and Thomas Pynchon,.. Devo were the most subversive band to ever crack the mainstream. 

"Where are your stories saying the same thing about our heroes joining the U.S. military and having to clean toilets?"

Comment at the Washington Post article "Indian student went to join the Islamic State, but all he got was this lousy job cleaning toilets."

"Tumbling oil prices are draining hundreds of billions of dollars from the coffers of oil-rich exporters and oil companies..."

"... and injecting a much-needed boost for ailing economies in Europe and Japan — and for American consumers at the start of the peak shopping season. The result could be one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history, potentially reshaping everything from talks over Iran’s nuclear program to the Federal Reserve’s policies to further rejuvenate the U.S. economy."

"Mom, I feel like I'm isolated from your heart."

Said Madonna, quoting her son, in part of the answer to the question where she gets material for her songs:
My children. Stuff they say. Like, my son came to the studio the other day and said he didn't want to go home. I said, "No, you have to go home; it's time for bed." And he said, "Mom, I feel like I'm isolated from your heart." I was like, "Oh, that's a good line. I have to use that." You get it everywhere, the high and the low. You've got to be open to it all. Suffering is a big informer, a big catalyst for creation. You take your sadness, your despair, your sense of injustice, and you put it in your work.
Suffering is a big informer! It's everywhere! A catalyst for creation!

I got to that via Drudge, who teased it like this...

... because no matter what a person says, nothing is more interesting than their being naked.

Does Madonna remember her "first favorite childhood song"? Yes, it's:
I know a place where no one ever goes / There's peace and quiet, beauty and repose / It's hidden in a valley, behind a mountain stream / and lying there beside the stream I find that I can dream / Only of things, of beauty to the eye, snowflakes and mountains towering in the sky / Now I know that God made this world for me.
The internet, which is not a place where no one ever goes, only wants to know whether, when she's lying there beside the stream, is she naked?

The song, by the way, is called "I Know a Place." Don't confuse it with the Petula Clark hit "I Know a Place" or the Bob Marley "I Know a Place" or The Beatles' "There's a Place."

December 1, 2014

At the December Café...


... you can talk about anything you want.

"I started living in a bubble of restriction. Entirely vegan, entirely plant-based, entirely gluten-free..."

"... oil-free, refined sugar-free, flour-free, dressing/sauce-free, etc. and lived my life based off of when I could and could not eat and what I could and could not combine."

At some point, the interest in "healthy" eating becomes an unhealthy obsession, orthorexia nervosa.

This reminds me of the most interesting sin called scrupulosity — the sinful obsession with not sinning.

"You know, Americans have come so far since, let's say, the era of Joe McCarthy. I mean, think about it. We're less racist."

"We're less sexist. We're less homophobic than we used to be. We only have one remaining bigotry. We don't want to be around anybody who disagrees with us."

Said Bill Clinton, the former U.S. President, speaking at the 100th anniversary festivities for The New Republic.

"Chuck Hagel was exactly the defense secretary that President Obama wanted. He wanted to take the temperature down a notch after Gates...."

"He didn't want any more rock star military generals, he didn't want, you know, this constant fighting with the Pentagon over troop numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan. And Chuck Hagel gave him everything that he wanted. I think at the end of the day though, Chuck Hagel was viewed by the White House as almost too passive. But I think the real reason why he was let go-- is because the White House, after the midterms, felt like they needed to show that they were doing something, they were shaking up their national security team. The reality is, he didn't want to shake up his national security team."

Said NYT reporter Helene Cooper on "Meet the Press" yesterday. Chuck Todd — the moderator, who'd asked her why Hagel was fired" — interjected after that first sentence: "He wanted a smaller personality." That is, Obama, when he picked Hagel, was looking for "a smaller personality." So... was Hagel too small or not small enough... or just the wrong kind of small... or the right kind of big enough to be worth making an example of? And by "right kind," I mean, he's a Republican. That's always been useful.

It's "cyber Monday."

I don't know what you do for Cyber Monday, "the biggest online shopping day of the year," but if it includes some shopping at Amazon, please consider supporting this blog by entering Amazon through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

Cass Sunstein thinks the FDA's new requirement that food sellers post calorie counts "could turn out to be a game-changer."

So the argument that businesses should go through all this expense and trouble is that it just might work.
The motivating idea is that consumers should be free to make their own choices -- but that those choices should be informed ones. Most restaurants have little incentive to disclose calorie information on their own. The new FDA rule is meant to force such disclosure, and then to rely on the operation of the free market.

The FDA hopes that once consumers see calorie counts, they will make healthier choices, and there is evidence to support the agency’s optimism.... The evidence is far from unequivocal, however. Some studies find little or no effect....

But... [s]ometimes disclosure requirements affect providers more than consumers, prodding them to change their offerings. As a result of the FDA’s rule, many restaurants, cafeterias, convenience stores, movie theaters, vending machines and so on will offer healthier foods -- at least as long as their customers want to buy them.
I'm amazed that this kind of guesswork and casual hopefulness is all that supports such an expensive and troublesome new requirement.

Are you excited about the "Breaking Bad" spin-off "Better Call Saul"?

Here's a taste:

I'll keep my mouth shut about whether that's promising, since my initial take on "Breaking Bad" was — after a 22-minute taste — was that it fit the interests and emotional needs of people who are not me.
[Walter White is] an entirely listless, enervated man with nothing to live for, utterly empty and bland and beaten down with no love for anything (except maybe chemistry)... He's had it with his bland old life which wasn't worth living even before he was dying. He's energized to go bad. He's finally alive.

This is a classic melodrama plot point: man who is about to die finally learns how to live.

He's been emasculated and suddenly he embraces manhood, which is saying "no" to all the crap he's had to eat, like vegetarian fake-bacon strips that taste like Band-Aids.

"'Resentment' is the perfect one-word brand for the current political culture."

"In fact, Cramer, the traveling professor, is writing a book whose working title is: 'Understanding the Politics of Resentment'... 'I finally sent the revised manuscript back to my editor the Friday after the election,' she says. 'I was kind of joking to myself that if Scott Walker loses, I’m a little bit in a bind because I think I’ve gotten this wrong. But I think his win is sort of a continuation of what I had been hearing.'"

From "No end in sight to Wisconsin’s politics of resentment," by Paul Fanlund in The Capital Times. Cramer is Kathy Cramer,  "a youthful and charismatic political scientist from the University of Wisconsin," who "ventured from her Madison campus office to coffee shops and gas stations in small Wisconsin communities" and "struck up conversations uncovering a pattern of simmering resentment toward those of us in Madison and Milwaukee."

ADDED: The Cap Times doesn't seem to want us to get to that article. The proper link didn't work, and then a link going to a Google search didn't produce a workable link. And I'm down in the comments telling people to read the article and address the topic and don't just rehash Ferguson or whatever has rubbed you raw lately. All I can say is go to the home page of The Cap Times and see the article title there.

I'll think hard before linking to The Cap Times in the future. Do they see they are getting traffic from me and act to fend it off?

AND: Now, I think I've got a working link in the original post. Interestingly, the headline has changed! It's now "Ferguson makes us think about Madison’s black-white divide." Wow! That didn't seem to be the subject of the article to me, and I was annoyed that my commenters were turning it into another Ferguson discussion. That is bizarre!

The teaser on the front page is now: "Paul Fanlund: Ferguson makes us think about Madison’s black-white divide/Missouri firestorm elevates topic of relations between races here."

The article wasn't even mostly about race. It was about class politics.... at least the last time I read the text. Maybe the text is different too. I happened to blog this piece 12 minutes after it went up. Maybe they were still tweaking it, spiking it with click bait. What a sad place we're in with the media titillating us with Ferguson continually. What good do they hope to do! I'm sure there are at least a few lefties feeling bad that the effort to forefront class inequity is failing.

MORE: Now, I've figured out that the article with the Ferguson headline is a different article, also by Paul Fanlund, and it went up in the last hour. I'm thinking the original article I blogged has been pulled and that other article put in its place.

UPDATE: Commenter George Grady said "Google has a cached version of today's article, for now anyway," and I've now redone the first link with that, so it can be read. I can't believe I wasted so much time this morning on this article the Cap Times wafted momentarily. Talk about your "politics of resentment." I'm blogging pure resentment right here.

November 30, 2014

At the Last-of-November Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

Approximating biomorphs.

Here comes Lesson 7 in the continuing series How to draw/paint like Paul Klee. Click the "Paul Klee" tag for more lessons and more of an explanation. Here's the transcription from the next page of that notebook I wrote at an exhibition in London in 2002:
• "Vegetable — Physiognomic" — Plants superimposed on a face.

• "Strange Plants"

• using a single line lazy eight movement, make a tree in the center w/ suitable background. Paint in yellow & green. Background is horizon line only & dark blue sky grading to light blue green at horizon. Dappled ground.
 It's frustrating that the most elaborate description is the one without a title, but I found what I'm sure is that tree:

"Fig Tree" is the title of that 1929 watercolor. As for "Vegetable-Physiognomic" (1921) and "Strange Plants" (1921), these were easy to find, and I've opted to brighten and sharpen these images a bit:

Obama goes to the bookstore with his daughters.

He checks out and comments on how sad he looks in the photograph on the cover of Chuck Todd's book ("The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House"):

Yesterday, at Picnic Point... it was bleak...

Picnic Point

... but there were trumpeter swans...

Swans at Picnic Point

... I walked out on the beach to try to get a better view ....

Picnic Point

... but Meade climbed down a muddy slope to get closer shots... which you can see over at The Puparazzo... which is mostly about dogs, but our main dog Zeus had flown the coop (to Michigan). And yet when we got back to our car, we encountered a dog... a wonderful Treeing Walker Coonhound.

The Treeing Walker Coonhound has "a clear, ringing bugle voice," and the trumpeter swan has "a deep, trumpet- or bugle-like honking." And from where we were we could also hear the brass of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band wafting over from the stadium a couple miles away.

"The fact that under the influence of psilocybin the brain temporarily behaves in a new way may be medically significant in treating psychological disorders like depression."

"'When suffering depression, people get stuck in a spiral of negative thoughts and cannot get out of it,' Dr. Expert said. 'One can imagine that breaking any pattern that prevents a "proper" functioning of the brain can be helpful.' Think of it as tripping a breaker or rebooting your computer."

"Dr. Expert." I love that. The doctor really is Dr. Expert — Dr. Paul Expert. I have no idea how fascinating that would seem if I were high on psilocybin — or should I say breaking a cerebral circuit or rebooting my brain with psilocybin? But I do find that amusing. Dr. Paul Expert! How to trip/medicate like Paul Expert....

Must we be depressed to deserve the brain benefits of psilocybin?
Anecdotally, psychoactive mushrooms may positively affect even nonsufferers. They did for me. 
"Me" = Eugenia Bone, author of "Mycophilia: Revelations From the Weird World of Mushrooms." These names! I feel like I'm reading a work of fiction... a work of fiction possibly titled Dr. Expert and Ms. Eugenia Bone.
I ate the mushroom as part of research for a book. The experience lasted about four hours, much of which I spent outdoors, but seemed to last much longer. I think because everything I was seeing was so new: the way the air was disturbed behind the flight of a bee, the way the trees seemed to respire, how the clouds and breeze and rocks and grass all existed in a kind of churning symbiosis.

I experienced a number of small epiphanies — self-realizations actually — but one in particular remained with me. As the drug wore off, I went indoors to take a hot bath. For a moment I thought that might not be a good idea, as bath time is when women in middle age can be very self-critical and unforgiving, and I didn’t want the sight of my waistline to veer me into a bad trip. But while in the tub I envisioned my body as a ship that was taking me through life, and that made it beautiful.
Makes me think of the old George Harrison lyric: "I got born into the material world/Getting worn out in the material world/Use my body like a car/Taking me both near and far..."

I hope you watched that, because it was very trippy, and it might have rebooted your brain in a way that could enhance your experience as as we bring this post in for a landing and get close to Ms. Bone:
I stopped feeling guilty about growing older and regretful about losing my looks. Instead, I felt overwhelming gratitude. It was a tremendous relief that I still feel.
Ah, now, I hope the looming access to psilocybin is not limited to those who can name the right psychological ailment, so that women with body dysmorphia get access, slipping in through the door along with the depressed. That would be depressing. But look how fast the middle-aged woman who feels bad about her naked body jumps from wanting access for herself to the urge to control the young and the festive:
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting 16-year-olds take magic mushrooms. I’m not suggesting they be used to party at all. What I am advocating for is a mind open to the possibilities of their use to help people in need. Because illiberality doesn’t cure disease; curiosity does.
If you want relief from government control, you have to embody the persona of the victim. You must belong to the ranks of the "people in need." Your desire to tweak and tamper with your brain medicinally must be a matter of disease. You must portray yourself as down and trying to get to normal, not normal and seeking a higher ground.

From the Spiritual Sky/Such sweet memories have I....

Everybody loves gloves.

May I recommend gloves? These are all the brand that I've repeatedly bought for myself (and all the links go to Amazon, which gives me a percentage of your purchase price, so your gift-buying is a way to express appreciation for this blog):
men's driving gloves
women's cashmere-lined gloves
women's driving gloves
men's rabbit-fur-lined gloves
I'm thinking of getting I just bought the driving gloves — in "dazzling blue" — not just (or even mostly) because they might be great/amusing to wear while driving, but because we like to keep the house at 62° (or less) in the wintertime and the backs of my hands get cold. So these would be "driving gloves" in the sense of driving the blog... driving people on the internet crazy... and, as noted above, if you appreciate my driving you around the internet and pointing out interesting sights and keeping up a conversation in what has been an 11-year ride, you can tip the driver by buying your gloves and other presents for yourself and others via those links and through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

IN THE COMMENTS: EDH said: "Some, ah, gloves... gloves... howdaya... Oh, little gloves."

"My Vassar College Faculty ID affords me free smoothies, free printing paper, paid leave, and access to one of the most beautiful libraries on Earth."

"It guarantees that I have really good health care and more disposable income than anyone in my Mississippi family. But way more than I want to admit, I'm wondering what price we pay for these kinds of ID's, and what that price has to do with the extrajudicial disciplining and killing of young black human beings. You have a Michigan State Faculty ID, and seven-year old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed in a police raid. You have a Wilberforce University Faculty ID and 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot dead by police for holding a BB gun. I have a Vassar College Faculty ID and police murdered Shereese Francis while she lay face-down on a mattress. You have a University of Missouri Student ID and Mike Brown's unarmed 18-year-old black body lay dead in the street for four and a half hours. But. 'We are winning,' my mentor, Adisa Ajamu, often tells me. 'Improvisation, Transcendence, and Resilience — the DNA of the Black experience — are just synonyms for fighting preparedness for the long winter of war.'"

From "My Vassar College Faculty ID Makes Everything OK," by Kiese Laymon, who is an English professor at Vassar College and the author of "How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America" and other books.

"The chance of being convicted is so slim that 'if you wanted to murder someone, it would almost be better to just hit them with your car'..."

"... said Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), who has pushed for stiffer hit-and-run penalties."

From an article in the L.A. Times titled "Hit-and-runs take a rising toll on cyclists."
Hit-and-run collisions involving bicyclists surged 42% from 2002 to 2012 in Los Angeles County, according to a Times analysis of California Highway Patrol crash data.

The increase came as the overall number of hit-and-runs involving cars, cyclists and pedestrians dropped by 30%. Between 2002 and 2012, the most recent data available, more than 5,600 cyclists were injured and at least 36 died in crashes in which drivers fled the scene....

The Los Angeles Police Department closed one in five hit-and-runs from 2008 to 2012, meaning about 80% were unresolved, according to data the department reported last year to the Board of Police Commissioners. Less than half of those cases were closed through an arrest.