March 23, 2013

At the Samoyed Café...


... you can make a new friend.


ADDED: You can spin yarn from your Samoyed's wool and knit sweaters, which will be extremely warm.

"Even if you write a book in two years, sometimes you get a page a day, sometimes you get no pages..."

"... every sentence raises a problem, and essentially what you're doing is connecting one sentence to the next. And you write a sentence and you have to figure out what comes next or what doesn't come next."

Says Philip Roth, who's now retired from writing. "It was a constant mental activity, really. And now I just listen, and it's quite nice. I go home and go to sleep... It was on my shoulders all my life, so I really didn't even know it was on my shoulders."

ADDED: When you write a blog, you don't have the struggle of connecting one sentence to the next. The next post comes next, and there needn't be any connection at all.

"Why should they be forced to deal with the news that a male teacher they have always known as Mr Upton will henceforth be a woman called Miss Meadows?"

So wrote Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn in an article headlined "He's not only in the wrong body … he's in the wrong job."

The school's headmaster had written to the parents telling them that Nathan Upton "has recently made a significant change in his life and will be transitioning to live as a woman" and would be called Lucy Meadows.

Now, Upton/Meadows has been found dead:
Helen Belcher, director of TransMedia Watch (TMW), which monitors media coverage of trans issues, stressed on Friday that while the circumstances surrounding Meadows's death were unclear, "we know that Lucy suffered a huge amount of monstering and harassment by the press when she was very vulnerable around Christmas. That level of press attention could not have helped her mental state one bit."
"Monstering," according to an Urban Dictionary definition from 2010, is "The art of abusing people. Of ambushing them with questions, following them with questions, hounding them with questions, driving them to their fucking graves with questions. It’s sort of being like a photographer, except no ones' killed any royalty doing it…yet."

Now, the monstering turns to Littlejohn:
[F]ormer Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell... tweeted: "I hope journalists are doorstepping Dacre, Murdoch and Littlejohn for their reaction to Lucy Meadows' suicide. The Mail really is scum."
Jennie Kermode, chair of TMW, said: "What we want to come out of Lucy's death is for people in the media to think about what they are writing and the way they are writing it...."

"Clovis made Paris his capital and established the Merovingian Dynasty..."

"... but his kingdom would not survive his death in 511."
Under Frankish inheritance traditions, all sons inherit part of the land, so four kingdoms emerged: centered on Paris, Orléans, Soissons, and Rheims. Over time, the borders and numbers of Frankish kingdoms were fluid and changed frequently. Also during this time, the Mayors of the Palace, originally the chief advisor to the kings, would become the real power in the Frankish lands; the Merovingian kings themselves would be reduced to little more than figureheads.

By this time Muslim invaders had conquered Hispania and were threatening the Frankish kingdoms. Duke Odo the Great defeated a major invading force at Toulouse in 721 but failed to repel a raiding party in 732. The mayor of the palace, Charles Martel, defeated that raiding party at the Battle of Tours (although the battle took place between Tours and Poitiers) and earned respect and power within the Frankish Kingdom. The assumption of the crown in 751 by Pepin the Short (son of Charles Martel) established the Carolingian dynasty as the Kings of the Franks.
A couple hundred years in the history of France, today's "History of" country. We are proceeding in alphabetical order through the world's 206 countries, reading their Wikipedia "History of" pages. France has one of the most interesting pages, and I couldn't begin to summarize the summary there.

Here's the Battle of Tours, which happened in 732, as depicted by Charles de Steuben in 1837:

Wisconsin Supreme Court debate.

Here's the complete debate that took place last night between incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack and her challenger Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone. It's quite lively and fast-moving, with a good bit of attention to the much-publicized discord that took place 2 years ago. You may remember the story of one justice rushing at another and an accusation of choking. In that scenario, Roggensack was the one who broke up the melée.

"A T-shirt worn by a 3-year-old nursery-schooler named Jihad has led to an unusual and politically charged criminal trial..."

"... that tests the limits of free speech — and common sense — in a France increasingly ill at ease with its growing Muslim population."
“I am a bomb,” the shirt said on the front. The back read, “Jihad Born Sept. 11.”
The child's name really is Jihad, and he was indeed born on September 11th. The phrase "I am a bomb" is said to mean "I am a real looker." The mother asserts that she intended no political message by dressing the child in that shirt.
After the police investigation, no terrorism-related charges were brought. But the prosecutor decided to charge [the mother] Bagour and her brother [who choose the message for the shirt] with “apology for crime,” which under a 1981 French law carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $58,000 fine....

The "simple Pope" narrative.

The new Pope, Francis, eats "[b]aked skinless chicken, salad, fruit and a glass of simple wine," and this is supposedly terribly different from Pope Benedict who ate "fettuccine with shrimp, zucchini and saffron," Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who once "hosted an elaborate vegetarian dinner to celebrate Benedict’s 60th anniversary as a priest in 2011, featuring fresh-picked fare from the area near Venice, including chicory, white asparagus, peas and cherries," and NY's Cardinal Timothy Dolan who likes "fettuccine Bolognese, lamb cutlet, spinach and peppers, with Sicilian cannoli and homemade tiramisu."

Where is the stark contrast? Fettucine is just noodles. What's elaborate about putting some shrimp on it or some meat sauce (which is all "Bolognese" means)? Then there's lamb and a bunch of vegetables. Why is "chicory, white asparagus, peas and cherries" elaborate compared to "salad" and "fruit"? What's in the salad? Maybe chicory. What's the fruit? Maybe cherries. And cannoli and tiramisu are just routine desserts in Italy (and NYC). There's nothing fancy about eating cannoli!

I don't really mind if WaPo does a puff piece on the new Pope. But it's just such a dumb way to talk about food. They're mindlessly impressing the "simple Pope" narrative onto random facts.

"As a lawyer I’m appalled.... As a student of art history, I’m moved."

"These men have made art even when it’s against their penal interest... Hip-hop artists frequently lament that the state’s main intervention for young black men is to lock them up. It’s sad that no other intervention happened to support these young men’s obvious talent."

Shaming, Canadian style.

Via Metafilter.

Human behavior in the year 2013.

DSC01352 - Version 2

That's from my colleague Nina, who was getting off a plane in Milan, on the way to Gargnano.

The line-up of right hands in the distinctive cell-phone half-clench is so funny, and it must be happening constantly, everywhere.

"A person who lives by philosophy and reason; a person who accepts things philosophically."

That's Definition #2 for "philosopher" in the the Oxford English Dictionary (which I'm reading because, as you can see in the previous post, someone, presumably mistakenly, referred to me as "the philosopher, Ann Althouse"). This definition goes back to the 14th century:
[c1380 Chaucer Second Nun's Tale 490, I recche nat what wrong that thow me profre, For I kan suffre it as a philosophre.]
1600 Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing v. i. 35 For there was neuer yet Philosopher, That could endure the tooth-ake patiently.
1700 G. Farquhar Constant Couple ii. iv. 20 I'll beat him with the Temper of a Philosopher.
1855 Tennyson Maud iv. ix, in Maud & Other Poems 20 Be mine a philosopher's life in the quiet woodland ways.

"The woman is — in the strictest of biological terms — saying: I'm not paying you 50 grand for your chocolate bar..."

"... while the man is saying: I'm not willing to give you 50 cents for that Lexus."

A great analogy, used to explain why sexual rejection is much more humiliating for women, in a wonderful monologue called "sex-seeking, men, women and dominance hierarchies," which I'm watching because commenter Jaynie said:
Hey, ha! The MRM advocate posts youtube talks on men's rights on [their] "Girl writes what" channel, She referred to Ann Althouse as "the philosopher, Ann Althouse". She referred to you thus introducing an older post of yours....
The reference to me occurs about about 5 minutes — referring to this old post — and it is not a major part of the talk and not why I'm embedding this. I'm linking because it's a great and fascinating discussion. Though it's almost 40 minutes long, it is not full of the sort of longueurs you'd expect in a 40-minute video:

If you're thinking of jumping into the comments based solely on the quoted analogy, especially if you're itching to attack, please first listen to it in context, beginning at 10:00.

How many corrections on that NYT article about the Florida Gulf Coast vs. Georgetown game?

"An earlier version of this article included several errors."
Georgetown’s record is 25-7, not 25-6. Florida Gulf Coast’s record in the Atlantic Sun was 13-5, not 17-1. Florida Gulf Coast became the seventh No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 seed, not the sixth. Georgetown has now failed to advance past the Round of 16 in the past six years under Coach John Thompson III, not the past seven. Florida Gulf Coast forward Eddie Murray was incorrectly referred to as Eddie Murphy. Florida Gulf Coast was misidentified in some instances as Gulf Coast College.
"Some instances" must be at least 3, so at least 7 errors. Approximately 1 error per 100 words. That's got to be some kind of record.

Eddie Murray was incorrectly referred to as Eddie Murphy. Man, that's embarrassing.

Rough for Georgetown too. LOL.

"I know what you're up to. This is the strange Lutheran thing, isn't it?"

"Stranger even than what the Mormons get up to. It's why you guys are oddly so cool and taciturn about this time of year, the most joyous of all for the promise it holds and for its demonstration of life eternal."

That's Chip Ahoy, in last night's Glacier Café, the one with this picture:


Chip's riff:

If you don't recognize the image within the image, it's from yesterday's "What does Jesus look like?" post, the one that began with a discussion of a leaflet illustration of (supposedly) Jesus, the one where Meade said "If Chip Ahoy had a son, he'd look like Jesus." Because Chip Ahoy really does look that Jesus. Not the guy-that-got-thrown-out-of-the-darts-tournament Jesus, the Jehovah's-Witnesses-leaflet Jesus.

Especially this pic (nicked from the sidebar at Chip's here):

Purchase of the day.

From the March 22, 2013 Amazon Associates Earnings Report:

Bikemate Slim Case 3 for iPhone 5, 4S, 4, 3GS, 3G, BlackBerry Torch, HTC EVO, HTC Inspire 4G, HTC Sensation, Droid X, Droid Incredible, Droid 2, Droid 3, Samsung EPIC, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III
by Satechi (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $2.40)

... and 38 other items purchased — at no additional cost to the buyers — through the Althouse Amazon portal.

Thanks, now get up on your bike. And remember - no texting whilst pedalling. IT'S THE LAW!

Rap Genius explains "Everything Rush Limbaugh Gets Wrong..."

"... about Beyonce."

Fine. I agree that he misunderstood the lyrics of the new song "Bow Down Bitches." (Limbaugh thought Beyonce was advising women to bow down to their men, but Beyonce was advising women to bow down to Beyonce.)

But you don't understand that he's only talking about Beyonce to get what he calls "low information voter" to pay attention to his show, which he explains here:
This Beyonce thing has just blown way out of proportion. Normally, I would let this go. It's pop culture, but, as you know, we're in the middle here of a vast outreach to low-information voters and this is right up their alley. It is a golden opportunity here.  You're just gonna have to trust me on this. Stick with me on this. I'll try to get through this as quickly as we can. It isn't health care. It's not Obamacare.  We're not going to be talking about any of that. We're talking about what low-information voters are talking about today....
The Drive-Bys do not like me venturing outside of my own area of expertise.... They are not going to allow me into pop culture. They are not going to allow me access to low-information voters. They are afraid of that. So there are all kinds of efforts out now to discredit me on this Beyonce story which, between you and me, I could give a rip. But it's all part of the low-information outreach.
This "low-information outreach" has been going on for months.  Here's the place, in yesterday's show, where Rush throws out another huge chunk of bait for people who don't much care about important economic and political issues but will, like Rap Genius, engage over the right pop culture tidbit. In this new bait, Limbaugh claims that — via some old parody song — he's "The Father of 'Chop and Screw.'"

Is Rap Genius going to write another long column in Esquire explaining, in words and pictures, how Rush Limbaugh is actually not the Father of Chop and Screw? That would be taking Rush's bait, but it's probably also in Rap Genius and Esquire's interest to publicly heartily chomp on this bait. Everybody can win, I say, as I link to both Rush and Rap Genuis/Esquire, who presumably want, more than anything else, traffic.

Taking the high road.

"It is ridiculous and not really funny at all. I’d appreciate you taking the high road and not resorting to something childish like this that’s been blogged about 1,000 times."

ADDED: The linked article prompted me to research the history of the term "to go commando." The Oxford English Dictionary traces it to 1974:
slang (orig. U.S.). to go commando  : to wear no underpants (beneath one's clothing).
The origin of this use is obscure; the allusion appears to be to commandos' reputation for action, toughness, or resourcefulness rather than to any specific practice.
1974   Current U.N.C. Slang (Univ. N. Carolina, Chapel Hill) (typescript) Spring,   Go commando, to be without underwear.
1985   Chicago Tribune (Nexis) 22 Jan. c,   Colored briefs are ‘sleazy’ and going without underwear (‘going commando’, as they say on campus) is simply gross.
2001   Guardian 7 June ii. 8/2   Thank goodness he wasn't wearing a pair of sagging Y-fronts or, much worse, a thong. Thank goodness he wasn't going commando.
2004   J. Evanovich Ten Big Ones 186   Unless Ranger kept his underwear in his safe, it appeared that he went commando.

March 22, 2013

At the Glacier Café...


... we must trek over immense expanses of ice.

"The last ice age in the area of the modern-day Finland ended c. 9000 BC."

"Starting about that time, people migrated to the area of Finland from the Kunda and - possibly - Swiderian cultures, and they are believed to be ancestors of today's Finnish and Sami people in Finland."
The oldest confirmed evidence of the post-glacial human settlements in Finland are from the area of Ristola in Lahti and from Orimattila, from c. 8900 BC. Finland has been continuously inhabited at least since the end of the last ice age, up to date.
Finland is today's "History of" country.

"Bill Althouse, a Colorado activist who identifies himself as executive director of the Campaign to Regulate Alcohol Like Marijuana..."

"... offers some modest proposals for alleviating this disparity, including..."
  • If a child sees a parent consume alcohol, Protective Services may remove the child from the home.
  • If a parent has one drink, it will cause loss of custody of children in a divorce case.
  • No alcohol may be served by the drink anywhere in Colorado.

"The concept of 'redistribution' falsely implies that the existence of property is prior to the existence of the state. #mythofownership"

Tweeted Matt Yglesias last fall, quoted by Andy at Ace of Spades, who notes that "Journalist and political blogger Matthew Yglesias bought a three-bedroom, three-bath condo on Q Street in Logan Circle for $1.2 million" and quips "So, party at Matty's this weekend? I mean, I'm sure he won't mind if we crash the joint, what with that myth of owning private property and all."

"There are at least two things wrong with this official Department of Education website quoting Mao Zedong..."

"1. Mao probably meant 'to be insatiable in learning,' not 'satiable.'


"If the court dismisses the Proposition 8 case on standing grounds and strikes DOMA down on federalism grounds..."

"... the combined effect would be to reaffirm America's democratic, decentralized decision-making process without imposing an answer—one way or the other—to the same-sex marriage question," writes lawprof and former federal judge Michael McConnell.
By taking such a path, the court would be spared from imposing a single nationwide definition of marriage as a matter of constitutional law, and from having to rule, for all time, that there is or is not a constitutional right to same-sex marriage — a momentous step that some justices might be reluctant to take. It would leave the issue to the states, at least for the time being. This course might appeal to centrist justices like Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts and Stephen Breyer — and perhaps could even command a unanimous court, which would have a welcome calming influence on the nation's culture wars.

Considerations of these sorts have long been part of the virtue of judicial modesty, too often undervalued by partisans on both sides.
If we welcome the Court's calming of our culture wars — if we believe calming culture wars is a longstanding part of judicial virtue — we ought to compare the benefits of determining once and for all that the choice of marital partner belongs in the hands of the individuals who enter these relationships.

Individual rights matter, and it is the Court's duty to say what they are. If there is no proper case before the Court — if there really is no standing — then the Court has the duty to shut up. But the Court should no more shrink from saying what rights are than it should strain to find them to be something other than what they are.

If the Court could demonstrate its capacity to live up to these duties and if we could believe in the accuracy of these announcements about the substance of our rights, then telling us what our rights are ought to have a calming effect. And yet even if the Court's reputation is so far gone that we can't believe its announcements anymore, the duty remains.

Maybe it won't be calming, but the notion that the Court must calm us, when it is a question of our rights, defies the meaning of rights.

There are 5,000+ castles in Germany, and many of them come onto the real estate market every year.

Priced from $650,000 to $26+ million, which seems kind of cheap, but the upkeep is high, and you might not be able to drive all the way up to it.
[One] family must park and take a five-minute uphill walk to the front door, which is accessed by a drawbridge. As a result, the family uses a small tractor or a conveyor belt from the valley floor to get everything from groceries to building materials up to the castle....

"But Idol is dropping nearly every week and last night was down 50% from its Thursday night premiere this season..."

"... and that’s scary."

They've obviously got themselves to blame, for several reasons, the main one being the desire to make it a "girls" year. Before the voting even started, they'd stacked the deck to exclude a "boyfriend"-type guy for the young girls who watch the show with their parents. "Idol" lost track of idolatry. The girls liked the boys, but somehow that couldn't be permitted to keep happening year after year. But that was the show! Was.


... is there hope?

UPDATE: Condolences to all.

Priebus on the "biologically stupid things" Republicans said.

"If you go around and you say a lot of biologically stupid things and you poison the well and you create a caricature or you allow a caricature to become reality, you’re not going to win an election."

"Milwaukee County prosecutors Thursday filed voter fraud charges against 10 people..."

"... including two accused of double voting in 2012 elections and two felons ineligible to vote."
Also among the fraud cases: a Milwaukee woman who is accused of signing a recall petition against Republican Gov. Scott Walker three times; and the petition circulator who collected those signatures.

What does Jesus look like?

Leaflet — delivered to our door just now — caused Meade to say "Look: Jesus got a haircut."

I expect to see a nice-looking Jesus, but this is nice-looking to the point of too nice-looking. How nice-looking is Jesus supposed to be? Also, where did he plug in the blow dryer? At some point you'll say that's not Jesus, but, oddly enough, this isn't at that point.

What does it take for an image to be perceived as Jesus? Here, the words are a big influence. Let's strip away the context.

That seems less like Jesus than the slices of toast that evoke the Shroud of Turin. What's happening with the toast and this stingray and so forth is a mental process called pareidolia — the perception of meaning in "a vague and random stimulus." It's "a type of apophenia, seeing patterns in random data." The lack of detail invites our mind to provide the completion. We instinctively want to see something, and so we do. It's hardly surprising that our fulfillment often (but not always) gravitates toward the divine. The problem with the picture on the new leaflet is that it's too detailed and specific, and that blocks the creative contribution of our minds. Jesus looks like a particular guy, and that can't be Him.

And here's a story about a man who was kicked out of a darts tournament for looking like Jesus:
[Nathan] Grindal, 33, who has long hair and a full beard he started growing four months ago, was sitting in the crowd at the tournament when some nearby spectators began to chant, "Jesus! Jesus!" during the final match between Phil Taylor and Kim Huybrechts, ABC News reported. Others joined in the chant, until most of the 4,500 people in the arena were chanting the Almighty's name.

It got so raucous that security staff decided to remove Grindal, fearing his presence was upsetting the concentration of the players, as well as hurting the enjoyment of the viewers at home...
Grindal looked like this:

"Chihuahuas accused of chasing boy."

Headline at my favorite police blotter on the internet, at the Daily Inter Lake (from Montana). In addition to the chihuahua story, there's:
An observant grandmother spoke with a probation officer after finding a “bowl of weed” and four lighters in her grandson’s bag on First Avenue North West in Hungry Horse....

A drunk and mostly naked woman caught the attention of the Columbia Falls Police Department after she passed out in a car on Nucleus Avenue. The homeowner reported hearing a horn blaring and looking out her window to see someone slumped over in her vehicle. Upon investigation, she found the woman, who was extremely drunk and wearing only a shirt.

A cab driver was attacked by a fare while he was transporting her on Ninth Street West. Eventually she calmed down, paid him and said that while she couldn’t remember where she lived, she could walk the rest of the way home.

Rush smells a Rose.

I was just listening to the podcast of Monday's Rush Limbaugh show. A long segment called "The Mommy Wars" ends like this:
RUSH:  Here's Charlie Rose.  And listen to Charlie.  He had to wrap up the interview with the women on his show today with Gayle King, and they were talking about the new feminism.  Here's what Charlie Rose said that men have to do.

ROSE:  It is incumbent on men to appreciate more and to do more and have the same responsibilities that women do.

RUSH:  I just sit here, my mouth just falls open.  Will you play that again?  It is up to men to understand more, to do more, to explain more, to say more, to feel more, to touch more, to be more, to be fully respected and understood so that women will go to bed with us, is what he means.

ROSE:  It is incumbent on men to appreciate more and to do more and have the same responsibilities that women do.

RUSH: Appreciate more and to do more and understand the absolute hell women's lives are, because if we don't, we'll never get 'em in the sack.  Yes, dear, yes dear, yes dear, yes dear, can we go to bed now?

Weird outrage over a woman getting fired for selling Girl Scout cookies at work.

And she worked in a retail store — using its retail space to sell a product and take cash that did not go into the cash register. I do not get the FoxDC presentation of this story: "Imagine being fired for selling Girl Scout Cookies at work. It happened to a woman...." Well, of course! I can't imagine thinking she doesn't deserve to be fired for this.

Quite aside from the obvious conflict with the business interests of her employer, why are adults taking over the cookie-selling that is supposed to be part of the scouts "girl-led, entrepreneurial program" (to quote Girl Scout COO Colleen Cibula)?

The fired woman's troop leader — as FoxDC puts it — is "worried" that the firing "will scare away other potential cookie moms — and end up ultimately hurting  the scouts themselves." Cookie moms?!
"A cookie mom is a self-less person. She doesn't profit from any of this in any way. She's doing it out of the goodness of her heart... I don't think anyone should be terminated for doing such a charitable thing."
Even if it is conceived of as a charity rather than an entrepreneurial program, retail workers aren't free to solicit donations for their favorite charities!

Have people lost their minds? If Girls Scouts is a good charity, it ought to be teaching the girls admirable lessons. It's bad enough that they're guilt-tripping people into eating more cookies (or buying cookies that they don't eat), but making mothers, especially working mothers, feel that they are supposed to do the work for their girls is ridiculous. Something is very wrong here.

From the comments at the link:
EVERYONE sells girl scow [sic] cookies at work! Its not safe to go door to door, and after you exhaust all your family, friends and neighbors that only leaves your co workers!
It's not safe to go door to door? Was it ever a good idea to send little girls out to be door-to-door salespersons? The cookie-selling program seems entirely unprincipled. We shouldn't even be eating cookies in the first place.


"Scow" was an interesting Freudian slip for "scout." One definition for "scow" in the OED is: "Orkney and Shetland. ‘A big gaunt woman’... slang (chiefly U.S.). A disparaging term for a woman."
1866   T. Edmondston Etymol. Gloss. Shetland & Orkney Dial. 99   ‘A great scow of a woman’—a tall, thin, bony woman....
1960   H. Wentworth & S. B. Flexner Dict. Amer. Slang 449/2   Scow,..a large, ugly, and/or unpleasant woman.
1970   R. Lowell Notebk. 143   Often the Dutch were sacks, their women a sack, Obstinate, undefeated hull of the old scow.
1970   G. Greer Female Eunuch 265   More familiar terms in current usage refer to women as receptacles for

Asking Americans to think about the "common good" may "backfire and actually unmotivate" them.

NPR reports on some social science research by Stanford's MarYam Hamedani:
So Hamedani and her colleagues... give volunteers messages about individual liberty or ask them to think about the greater good. And what she finds is that when people are asked to think about the greater good, it actually undermines their performance on a variety of mental and physical tasks that people actually work harder, try harder when they're asked to think about themselves as being trailblazing individuals....

She finds that Asian-Americans are not turned off when you appeal to the greater good. And here's her theory: Everyone in America is raised to value independence, but there are some groups that are also raised to value interdependence. When you talk to those groups about the greater good, your message works just fine. But when you speak to people who've been raised on a diet of individualism and liberty and you ask them to think about the greater good, it creates this clash with this internal voice they have in their heads which says: March to your own drummer.
I love the way NPR lets it show that they don't like the American "diet." That Asian food is so much better. Why won't Americans swallow more of that? NPR keeps trying to serve it.

Funny that in their earnest left-winginess NPR doesn't hear themselves impugning Asian-Americans. Interdependence — that's supposed to sound so flattering. You know NPR would not mean to do anything other than flatter Asians here, even when — as they just revealed — Americans value independence. NPR, how can you be so lacking in perspective and self-criticism that you don't hear yourself blabbering out the old racist stereotype that Asians lack individuality?

But if you'd like more of this interdependent-commongoodliness-it's-all-in-the-framing that they're serving today at the NPR Restaurant, click on the link. The next bite is gun control.

Purchase of the day.

From the March 21, 2013 Amazon Associates Earnings Report:

Burner Plus Irons
by TaylorMade (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $22.40)

... and 31 other items purchased — at no additional cost to the buyers — through the Althouse Amazon portal.

Thanks, now go burn up those links.

"Using a mixture of simulated moshers and standing fans, they could reproduce mosh pits, circle pits and..."

"... other common collective motions that take place at metal concerts. You can try some simulations for yourself in their mosh pit simulator below."

"You Already Have a Prenup."

"Every married couple has a prenup, whether they want one or not. The laws covering marriage and divorce in every state are nothing more and nothing less than premarital agreements. So the question is not whether you should have a prenup, but whether you want your state’s default version of one."

Another way to say that is: If you don't want a pre-nup, you don't want marriage. Which is not the same thing as saying: "If You Want a Prenup, You Don’t Want Marriage."

March 21, 2013

"Astronomers released the latest and most exquisite baby picture yet of the universe on Thursday..."

"... one that showed it to be 80 to 100 million years older and a little fatter, with more light and dark matter than previously thought, and perhaps ever so slightly lopsided."

"For the third time in the past twenty years, NBC seems serious about replacing Jay Leno with the funnier guy in the 12:30am slot."

"While he remains atop the ratings (overall and in 18-49s), Leno's current deal expires in fall 2014, and, gosh, never seen this sentence before: 'Given the past turbulence involved in changing hosts, NBC wants to make the transition ... as smooth as possible.'"

How long do you think it will take before they bring back Leno this time? free polls 

"Nearly two-thirds of Americans favor giving illegal immigrants in the country an opportunity for legal status with a path to citizenship..."

"... according to a poll published Thursday by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution. Support for an earned path to citizenship for those immigrants came from 71 percent of Democrats and also a majority, 53 percent, of Republicans, the poll found."

"The Senate’s upcoming vote on the assault weapons ban is going to put vulnerable Democrats in a difficult spot."

"Democrats facing tough reelection races will either attract the ire of the National Rifle Association or prominent gun control activists.... A vote against the ban could spark primary challenges that could weaken Democrats in the general election."

At the Spherical Café...


... there's a balanced conversation.

Harry Reems "fetched up in Los Angeles, begging on the streets and sleeping in Dumpsters."

"He contemplated suicide, he said, but could not summon the nerve. In 1989 Mr. Reems, then living in Park City, Utah, stopped drinking with the help of a 12-step program. He converted to Christianity, obtained his real estate license and married Jeanne Sterret in 1990... [He] led a life of contented small-town obscurity in Midway, Utah, golfing, attending church and collecting Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia. He retained the name Harry Reems, he said in interviews, as a proud emblem of an odyssey he did not regret."

Harry Reems, the original male porn star, is dead at age 65.


Side questions: Have you ever seen "fetched up" used as it appears above? Is "Dumpster" a proper noun?

"I feel the Dior cast is just so pointedly white that it feels deliberate."

"I watch that show and it bothers me - I almost can't even concentrate on the clothes because of the cast.... And recently they're changing from a very diverse, worldwide, multicultural cast to just a very Germanic-looking white girl.... Natalie Portman could complain that John Galliano was a racist, but I feel [Dior designer] Raf Simons sends the same message."

I'm wondering about why so many people over at Metafilter are wondering about...

... why the song "The Weight" is such a big deal.

Yesterday was the first International Day of Happiness.

Did you notice?
The initiative for Happiness Day came from the Kingdom of Bhutan, the small landlocked Himalayan state, which adopted a Gross National Happiness Index as a better measure of its people’s prosperity than its income.
Anyway, it was yesterday. Resume your grim existence.

"If we’re going to be successful, part of what we’re going to have to do is get out of the formulas and habits that have blocked progress."

"Both sides are going to have to think anew."

Obama, at a news conference with Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority.
What was surprising, given how much Mr. Obama appeared to give up on the peace process at the end of his first term, was how ready he seemed to take up the challenge once again of trying to broker a deal that creates a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel.

“I absolutely believe it is still possible, but it is very difficult,” Mr. Obama said. “If we can get direct negotiations started again, I believe the shape of a potential deal is there.”
I don't see why it's "surprising" that he'd say something bland and minimal like "still possible" when he's actually taken the trouble to go over there. It's not like before he'd said "I absolutely give up." He merely "appeared to give up." Has this appearance changed? He'd never gone to Israel before, not in his entire first term. Now, at the beginning of his second term, he's getting the visit in, so you won't be able to say he never went. What is "surprising"? There's nothing new. But, he says, "Both sides are going to have to think anew." Is that new or is the same old hopelessness?

ADDED: It just crossed my mind for the first time in a long time: Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. That took a lot of pressure off him to make the usual gestures at solving the Palestinian problem. Or do you think he feels he ought to justify the prize retroactively?

"Tree gifted by President Obama to Israel this morning is dug up hours later for 'pest' testing."

This, after that car breakdown...

A foreign trip is all about the photo ops and symbolism...

So, you've got to wonder who's controlling the spectacle.

Purchases of the first day of Spring.

From the March 20, 2013 Amazon Associates Earnings Report:

Stink Free Stink Finder Super Bright Light
by Stink Free (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $2.24)

York Shower Curtain
by InterDesign (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.61)

10602 Dirtex Cleaner
by Savogran (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $0.72)

Ultimate Flora - Critical Colon BifidoMax 80 Billion
by Renew Life (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $2.88)

... and 47 other items purchased — at no additional cost to the buyers — through the Althouse Amazon portal.

Thanks, now spring forward and clean up.

"My statement equating repeal of [Proposition] 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic..."

"... it was a description of how some folks – not me – feel about gay marriage.... I believe intolerance comes from fear, and these folks are genuinely scared. I believe in a God who loves everyone... and my faith tells me to do my best to also love everyone. Everyone: gay or straight, stridently gay, self-righteously faithful.... I may disagree with someone's most fervently held belief, but I will not hate them.... I am damn sorry.... If I could repeat the evening, I would make a clearer distinction between a set of beliefs I abhor, and my human sympathy for the folks who hold them … In this controversy, [my position] means speaking for Christians with opinions I in no way share about homosexuality. Will I endorse them? Never. Will I disavow them? Never."

Michelle Shocked explains herself.

This is a difficult position to take — attempting to be a bridge. Almost everyone gets mad at you. But that's what makes the bridge so important.

"To understand why female lawyers, doctors, bankers, academics, high-tech executives and other, often expensively pedigreed, professionals quit work to stay home..."

"... you need not search their souls for ambivalence or nostalgia," asserts Judith Shulevitz in The New Republic.
To reject a high-flying career, as... so many women have done, is not to reject aspiration; it is to refuse to succumb to a kind of madness. Professional accomplishment shouldn’t and doesn’t have to look like this. The main reason white-collar workers can be driven to work 80-hour-or-so weeks is that very few of them have government protections. Most of them are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which mandates the 40-hour-week and overtime pay. American managers aren’t allowed to join unions. Other countries have laws that protect against overwork even for professionals, such as standard or maximum number of hours anyone can work in a week....

"Is it okay to make a fiction film, "inspired by actual persons in a trial" — but not even "based on a true story"?

HBO's movie with Al Pacino as Phil Spector says "it is neither an attempt to depict the actual persons, nor to comment upon the trial or its outcome."
Of course, filmmakers — particularly one as talented as writer-director David Mamet — are entitled to artistic license. But the problem here is that the movie blends fact and fiction into a misinformation smoothie. Characters bear the actual names of participants, dialogue is lifted directly from trial transcripts, and Al Pacino nails Spector's shuffle and rasp. But when the movie jets off to the land of make believe — as it often does — there's no red flashing light to warn the audience....
In lieu of examining Spector's actual case and what it says about the American legal system, the film prefers to meditate on what HBO calls "the nature of celebrity" and how it contributed to the supposed framing of Spector. There are long stretches in which former pals, lawyers and the defendant himself muse on the larger reasons for the injustice.

"It's called envy," Pacino-as-Spector says. "Extraordinary accomplishments … transform the grateful into an audience and the envious into a mob."
I respect Mamet enough to withhold judgment until I see the film. I'll get back to you on the subject. But since a real woman was killed, and I think — in real life — we know Spector killed her, there's at least some disrespect entailed in portraying Spector as innocent and railroaded.

A work of fiction can explore an alternate history: What if Elvis didn't die, but went into hiding? What if... whatever all that crazy stuff is in the movie "JFK" happened? It could be just junk, feeding fantasies of what we wish had really happened or what would be thrilling to discover had happened, but it could be a serious work of art. I'm trying to think of how it could be great fiction. I'm projecting on to David Mamet what I want to be true of David Mamet and perhaps it's a serious contemplation of what we/Mamet project onto Phil Spector, the truth of what we want to be true.

March 20, 2013

Eating locusts in Israel...

... where there's a bad infestation going on.
Locust is the only insect which is considered kosher. Specific extracts in the Torah state that four types of desert locust - the red, the yellow, the spotted grey, and the white - can be eaten....

Locusts that have feasted on sesame plants acquire an oily, shiny tinge, and are said to be particularly delicious.

Teenager arrested for tweeting rap lyric containing the word "homicide."

"Two teenage girls have been accused of sending threatening tweets about the rape victim, a day after Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were sent to juvenile detention for raping the West Virginia girl."
Asked if their tweets were about the 16-year-old rape victim, Sheriff Abdalla said “no question.”

“We’re monitoring Twitter 24 hours a day,” he said....

Sheriff Abdalla said the girl’s tweet was: “You ripped my family apart, you made my cousin cry, so when I see you . . . it’s going to be a homicide.”

The lyric in [Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill's] song “Traumatized” is: “You ripped my family apart and made my momma cry. So when I see you . . . it’s gon’ be a homicide."
ADDED: Here's how Talking Points Memo reported the basis for the arrest: "The older girl was charged with aggravated menacing for a tweet that threatened homicide and said 'you ripped my family apart,' according to the attorney general’s office." Pathetic!

WaPo job notice: "This blogger should be able to identify trends, cutting through the noise of the Internet to bring context and perspective to a Washington audience."

"We envision at least a dozen pieces of content per day, with the knowledge that one great sentence can equal one great post. This assignment requires not only the ability to aggregate content, but the skill to execute the types of stories that others will aggregate and share.... This is a job that will require early mornings to get a start on the day’s news and may sometimes require late nights covering awards shows and other live events. For example, a recent Monday may have seen posts on topics including: Justin Timberlake’s rumored second album of the year; the History Channel’s controversial depiction of Satan as someone who looks like President Obama; reactions to media coverage of the Steubenville rape trial verdict; the recovery of a long-lost Rembrandt self-portrait; the new Beyonce song; a follow-up to that day’s 'The bucks start here' feature in the Style section; reflections on the season finale of 'Girls'; and more."

Too hard or too easy? I'm linking because this job notice is being treated as if it's horrifyingly arduous, and, in my view, it's obviously what anyone offering to blog for WaPo ought to be able to do.

I write more than 12 posts a day on the average, by the way, and I'm just reacting to stuff that interests me and writing for the intrinsic pleasure of it.

"There is a statue outside the Federal Trade Commission of a powerful, rambunctious horse being reined in by an extremely muscular man."

"This used to be a metaphor for liberalism. The horse was capitalism. The man was government, which was needed sometimes to restrain capitalism’s excesses."

Wrote David Brooks, getting just about everything wrong.

Oh, well, we all get distracted and lose our minds when gazing upon extremely muscular men, do we not?

"But it’s hard to imagine the NLRB or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as instruments of tyranny."

"Was it Hitler or Stalin who banned prepayment penalties for adjustable-rate subprime mortgages?"

"Austronesian peoples are believed to have settled in the Fijian islands some 3,500 years ago..."

"... with Melanesians following around a thousand years later."
Most authorities agree that they originated in Southeast Asia and came via Indonesia. Archeological evidence shows signs of settlement on Moturiki Island from 600 BC and possibly as far back as 900 BC.

In the 10th century, the Tu'i Tonga Empire was established in Tonga, and Fiji came within its sphere of influence. The Tongan influence was thought to have brought Polynesian influence to customs and some language into Fiji. The empire began to decline in the 13th century....
Fiji is today's "History of" country.

Bowl bought for $3 at a garage sale is sold for $2.2 million.

It was a Ding bowl from the Northern Song dynasty — a thousand years old.
Sotheby’s would not identify the lucky bowl sellers, only to say that they were a family from somewhere in New York state.
I can see why they don't want to be known. It's best that the people who sold it to them never realize what happened.

"Meet the Gaybros: They like sports, hunting, and beer. They make the gay community mad."

I don't know if this Slate article deserves all the traffic it's going to get, but I decided to become part of the problem, if it's a problem. I apologize in advance.

"Why is one of the greatest all-time NBA scorers working as a crossing guard?"

"I just do it. I have a routine. I exercise, I go to work, I go home. I have a spring break next week. I have a summer off, just like when I was a basketball player.... I just didn’t want to sit around the house all day."

"Bolshoi ballet was 'giant brothel' claims former dancer."

"Anastasia Volochkova... fired from the Bolshoi in 2003 for being too heavy... made the allegations...."
"Ten years ago, when I was dancing at the theatre, I repeatedly received such propositions to share the beds of oligarchs.

"The girls were forced to go along to grand dinners and given advance warning that afterwards they would be expected to go to bed and have sex," she alleged.

"When the girls asked: 'What happens if we refuse?', they were told that they would not go on tour or even perform at the Bolshoi theatre. Can you imagine?"

At the Blue Sky Café...


... it's the first day of Spring!

"[T]he economic struggles of male workers are both a cause and an effect of the breakdown of traditional households."

"Men who are less successful are less attractive as partners, so women are choosing to raise children by themselves, producing sons who are less successful and attractive as partners."
“A vicious cycle may ensue,” wrote Professor [David H.] Autor and his co-author, Melanie Wasserman, a graduate student, “with the poor economic prospects of less educated males creating differentially large disadvantages for their sons, thus potentially reinforcing the development of the gender gap in the next generation.”

"President Obama’s armored Cadillac limo, which was supposed to schlep him around the Holy Land, broke down."

NY Post headline.
According to Israeli’s Channel 2... "The Americans filled it up with diesel, rather than [gasoline]"...

It was a stroke of bad luck for the carefully choreographed arrival here, which featured a walk down a red carpet and warm words from both sides. The car was photographed on a flat-bed tow truck.
It's all photo-ops and the symbolism.

"More than two dozen Madison-area restaurants will ask for a small donation as servers pour glasses of water this week..."

"... which one group said was just the beginning of a push to curb water waste."
The collections will benefit the Clean Lakes Alliance, which works to clean up Dane County's lakes, said James Tye, the group's vice president.

"We're not telling people, 'Don't drink water,' we're just telling them to be aware that the water that's coming to your table is not free and any water being left on the table is just being tossed away," Tye said.
Annoying. Just avoid restaurants for a week and you'll be free of this dunning. Or, skip the water and, since this is Madison and not New York City,  order a large soda. (Or as they say in NYC, where people are hipper and also more babyish, a sugary drink.)

ADDED: Here's an idea. When the waiter asks you for $1 for your water, say I will add an extra dollar to your tip, and you can put it in the water fund if you want.

"Thanks for your interest, but I don't feel that I have anything new to say on the subject of myself."

"I actually find it too boring to talk about! I said that to Jack Craver some years back, and what I got for it was an article about how egotistical I am for refusing to do an interview. But... whatever... I genuinely find the topic dull. I answered the same questions over and over again many years ago, and I'm not good at doing things that bore me."

Written just now, in email —without the link — to a journalist who wanted to interview and "profile" me. I read it out loud to Meade.

MEADE: "I'd drop that last sentence."

ME: "Why? Do you think it's asshole-ian?"

MEADE: "I just don't think it's necessary. You've already made the point that you think it's boring."

ME: "So you think it's asshole-ian?"

MEADE: "It's a little asshole-ian."

But of course, that's the thing about me not doing things that bore me. I write things and post/send them quickly. That email was already sent. But that's not to say the conversation with Meade was useless. It was intrinsically good, and then — a plus — bloggable. But I never blog conversations with Meade without submitting it for his approval.

So let's see if this sees the light of day.

"Spouses Probably Shouldn't Try to Split Household Tasks Exactly Evenly."

Instapundit links to this piece by Noah Berlatsky in The Atlantic, which seems to state a comically obvious point. The "exactly" kind of gives it all away, doesn't it? You can't quantify tasks — different individuals take different amounts of time doing the same thing, different tasks have different degrees of arduousness (and the arduousness is different to different individuals both objectively and subjectively) — so the split couldn't be done exactly, even if that's what you wanted to do. Doing the calculations would add to the work, and different individuals would react differently to the arduousness — and symbolism — of that new dose of work. The idea is to get along better, not worse.

But there's some great stuff here: If you quantify and keep track, you are thinking in terms of debt. Berlatsky refers to David Graeber's book "Debt: The First 5,000 Years":
[M]any egalitarian societies make an enormous effort to keep clear of the logic of debt. Graeber tells a story about an Inuit man who offered a hungry anthropologist named Peter Freuchen a huge mound of seal meat. Freuchen thanked the man profusely. Freuchen recorded the man's response.
"Up in our country we are human!" said the hunter. "And since we are human we help each other. We don't like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs."
The logic of debt? Isn't that the logic of gifts? Keeping track of debts is a way of avoiding too much, doing only your fair share. Gifts complicate a relationship, adding joy to serving and transforming the experience of being served. Debts make a cooler transaction. But Berlatsky conflates debt and gift in the pursuit of the idea that human beings do things for one another in recognition of mutual humanity. He also — scarily — conflates marriage and egalitarian societies:
Societies like the Inuit put enormous social effort and pressure into making sure that excellent hunters don't end up putting everyone in their debt. Marriages, too, can slide towards hierarchy if you're not careful. There's a lot of years of inequity and a lot of learned gender roles telling men and women that women owe housework to their families—an obligation that (as the hunter suggests) can pretty easily end up feeling like, and even functioning as, slavery. That's why housework is a feminist issue—and why both men and women need to work to stop it from becoming the whip that makes one spouse the master and the other the dog.
Okay, I've done my fair share of the work of untangling the mixed up ideas in this article. But that paragraph is a mess. Why don't you clean it up?

I'm going to comment on the illustration The Atlantic paired with Berlatsky's idea salad. That looks like a more amusing task. It's Grant Wood's "American Gothic." Quick! I need a picture that represents a marriage... a bad marriage.

But the article critiques a modern-day version of a bad marriage, and "American Gothic" depicts a comical, cliché, old-fashioned marriage.

Anyway, I found a nice 2005 Slate article about "American Gothic." I hope you know the models for that painting were not a married couple that Wood found living in that house you see in the background. Wood found the house in Iowa, painted it, then got the idea to pose a couple characters in front of it. The woman is his own sister. The man was his dentist.
The critics who admired the painting in the early '30s — including Gertrude Stein and Christopher Morley — ... assumed it was a satire about the rigidity of American rural or small-town life, lampooning the people H. L. Mencken called the "booboisie" of the "Bible Belt." As [Steven] Biel [author of "American Gothic"] explains, "American Gothic appeared to its first viewers as the visual equivalent of the revolt-against-the-provinces genre in 1910s and 1920s American literature"—a critique of provincialism akin to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Sinclair Lewis' Main Street, and Carl Van Vechten's The Tattooed Countess.

But a few years later, as the nation sank into the Great Depression, people started to see Wood's painting in a different light. American Gothic was no longer understood as satirical, but as a celebratory expression of populist nationalism. Critics extolled the farmer and his wife as steadfast embodiments of American virtue and the pioneer spirit. "American democracy was built upon the labors of men and women of stout hearts and firm jaws, such people as those above," read one caption in 1935.
The political propagandists are everywhere, mining whatever material they can get their hands on. It's arduous work, but somebody's got to do it.

"On Gay Unions, a Pragmatist Before He Was a Pope."

NYT headline. You may think this sounds absurd, just a figment of the imagination of American liberals who somehow suddenly see this once-unknown issue as the centerpiece of civil rights, but:
Argentina was on the verge of approving gay marriage, and the Roman Catholic Church was desperate to stop that from happening. It would lead tens of thousands of its followers in protest on the streets of Buenos Aires and publicly condemn the proposed law, a direct threat to church teaching, as the work of the devil.

But behind the scenes, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who led the public charge against the measure, spoke out in a heated meeting of bishops in 2010 and advocated a highly unorthodox solution: that the church in Argentina support the idea of civil unions for gay couples....
Bergoglio revealed himself as "a deal maker willing to compromise and court opposing sides in the debate, detractors included." Where opposition wasn't going to stop gay marriage, the compromise of civil unions might. That was the thinking. Bergoglio "acted as both the public face of the opposition to the law and as a bridge-builder."
“He didn’t want the church to take a position of condemning people but rather of respect for their rights like any vulnerable person,” said [Roxana Alfieri, a social worker in the communications department of the bishops’ central office here] who sat in on the bishops’ 2010 meeting.

March 19, 2013

At the Open Eye Café...


... you can get some shut-eye later.

"Why should food stamps pay for junk food?"

Charles Lane doesn't "get" the argument that "it’s not fair to restrict poor people’s grocery choices."
Of course the federal government should be able to leverage its purchasing power for socially beneficial purposes. If you take Uncle Sam’s help, you play by his rules.
And, really, when you think about it, isn't that the point? Here, let me help you.... Aha!

"One of the fallouts of feminism is that girls became more accessible."

"Maybe not wisely accessible," Lily Tomlin says to Vanity Fair, when asked to opine on the TV show "Girls."
A lot of young girls — they’re expected to give blow jobs now. Young, young girls, as far as I can perceive. Maybe 12 or 13 years old. I mean, that’s a rite of passage, I suppose. As a feminist, I don’t want those girls to be used. Maybe they love giving blow jobs, I don’t know. Maybe they do? But I don’t think you really love giving boys in general blow jobs without any feeling to someone you’re not close to. I don’t try to speak for people that young. I’m not that young anymore. 
She's 73.
But my own sense of self—I wouldn’t give myself away that easily.

That’s part of the culture, and I don’t like that it’s put on teenyboppers and young girls. They should be developing themselves in a different way than just being sexually accessible. Or looking good. I don’t like it being brought back to the time where girls were competitive and disliked each other, this whole concept of cat fights and girls being jealous of one another. You still see cartoons on Saturday morning where there is the nice girl and the mean girl, and they’re competitive for the boy who is kind of goofy and ignorant . . . it’s like an old stereotype. But I don’t think you can beat too much humanity out of too many humans too quickly.

"Gosnell catered to the women who couldn’t get abortions elsewhere – because they were too pregnant."

"For Dr. Gosnell, they were an opportunity. The bigger the baby, the more he charged."
[Adrienne ] Moton, the first employee to testify, sobbed as she recalled taking a cell phone photograph of one baby left in her work area. She thought he could have survived, given his size and pinkish color. She had measured him at nearly 30 weeks....
Gosnell later joked that the baby was so big he could have walked to the bus stop, she said.

"Although Medieval Ethiopia was very isolated from the other Christian Nations..."

"... they did maintain a degree of contact through Jerusalem."
Like many other nations and denominations, the Ethiopian Church maintained a series of small chapels and even an annex at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Saladin, after retaking the Holy City in 1187, expressly invited the Ethiopian monks to return and even exempted Ethiopian pilgrims from the pilgrim tax. His two edicts provide evidence of Ethiopia's contact with these Crusader States during this period. It was during this period that the great Ethiopian king Gebre Mesqel Lalibela ordered the construction of the legendary rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.

Ethiopia is today's "History of" country.

I'm going to make a list of the 10 most beautiful names of countries in the world today. Ethiopia is the list.

"I am so proud to wear the uniform because it proves I am a student..."

"... and that I am living my life and learning."

"It was black humor. It was in poor taste. We're not saying it was OK, but it was not desecration."

Said the lawyer for one of the Marine snipers who urinated on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Dog face.


Dog love.


The law professor and the protesters.

Been there... haven't done that.

"Immigration reform will not occur until conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution."

"I am here today to begin that conversation... Let's start that conversation by acknowledging we aren't going to deport... My plan will not grant amnesty or move anyone to the front of the line... But what we have now is de facto amnesty."

Rand Paul.

"Then the tone of the conversation became extremely religious and she began talking about the two things most important to her being Jesus Christ and freedom."

"Then she talked about how she had just come from a prayer meeting the night before, and the people in her prayer meeting were really worried because these are the end times, and they’re the end times because Prop. 8 is going to lead to ministers marrying gay people with a rifle to the head. At which people got a little riled up; then there started to be some call and response from the crowd about what she meant. She started exhorting the crowd very specifically to go ahead and tweet or write and say that Michelle Shocked says God hates f--s, and some other references to the Bible denouncing homosexuality as sinful and abhorrent."

Purchase of the day.

From the March 18, 2013 Amazon Associates Earnings Report:

Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection Soothing Smooth Mint Toothpaste Twin Pack 8 Oz (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $0.54)

... and 80 other items purchased — at no additional cost to the buyers — through the Althouse Amazon portal.

Althouse portal users: clinically proven to be pro-health.

Thank you everyone who supports this blog – putting a smile on the lovely blogger's pretty face at least after every meal and every night before bed.

"The FBI says it has solved the decades-old mystery of who stole $500m... worth of art from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum..."

"The key goal here is to recover those paintings and bring them back," said US Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
Just after midnight on 18 March 1990, two men posing as police officers pulled off the heist, stealing 13 pieces of art in 81 minutes....

Ortiz said the statute of limitations had expired on crimes associated with the actual theft. She said anyone who knowingly possessed or concealed the stolen art could still face charges, but said prosecutors were willing to discuss potential immunity deals to get the art back....

In the meantime, empty frames hang on the walls of the museum, a reminder of the "enormous loss" and a symbol of hope that they will be recovered, said Ortiz. The stolen paintings include: The Concert by Johannes Vermeer; and three Rembrandts, A Lady and Gentleman in Black, Self-Portrait and Storm on the Sea of Galilee, his only seascape.

I'm glad to hear this art may be returned, but I can't help noting that name: Carmen Ortiz. Here's someone who may be desperate for good publicity after getting trashed earlier this year.

"'If I don't like somebody's name... I won't like them very much,' he explains unabashedly."

"My name, Audrey, for example, tastes strongly of tinned tomatoes. 'If I actually had to speak with you every day, I'd try and shorten [your name] somehow,' Wannerton tells me."

"Six months after hearing they did not have breast cancer, women with these false positives experienced changes in 'existential values' and 'inner calmness' as great as for women who had cancer."

"They reported having more anxiety, feeling more pessimistic and having more problems with their sleep and sex lives — as well as other negative outcomes — than women who had normal mammograms."

You see where this is leading?
Screening less frequently could be one way to reduce the numbers of women who have to cope with false positives without greatly increasing their risk of developing advanced breast cancer, a separate team of researchers reported Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine....

Ruth Ann Steinhagen, who was forgotten and 83 when she died, was famous at the age of 19.

"The story began with what appeared to be just another young woman's crush on Eddie Waitkus, the Chicago Cubs' handsome first baseman."
"So complete was this crush that the teenager set a place for Waitkus, whom she'd never met, at the family dinner table. She turned her bedroom into a shrine to him, and put his photo under her pillow.

"After the 1948 season, Waitkus was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies — a fateful turn. "When he went to the Phillies, that's when she decided to kill him"...

"Steinhagen had her chance the next season, when the Phillies came to Chicago to play the Cubs at Wrigley Field. She checked into a room at the Edgewater Beach Hotel where he was staying and invited him to her room.

"'We're not acquainted, but I have something of importance to speak to you about,' she wrote in a note to him after a game at Wrigley on June 14, 1949.

"It worked. Waitkus arrived at her room. After he sat down, Steinhagen walked to a closet, said, 'I have a surprise for you,' then turned with the rifle she had hidden there and shot him in the chest."
In the movie "The Natural," Robert Redford played a character based on Waitkus, and  Barbara Hershey played the Steinhagen character.

"Can you accidentally do a Nazi salute?"

"A 20-year-old Greek footballer has been banned for life from playing for his national team after a controversial goal celebration in which he appeared to give a Nazi salute. The player says he hadn't understood the meaning of the gesture — but is it possible, in 2013, for a European to be so poorly informed?"

"Proponents of the arts have long argued that creative therapy can help ageing patients."

"Now, scientists have begun investigating that claim."
"The healthcare system really needs to pay attention much more than it has in the past to primary prevention among older adults, to improve the health of individuals and help them maintain it," says [Thomas Prohaska, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia].

"I would suggest that art has a major role. Where it stands in the scheme of things is yet to be determined."
How much have we spent already on all this art therapy? Why are we only now getting the science? There's an awful lot of sentimentality around the idea of art. Of course, it must be uplifting and vitalizing. But is it?

"The President Barack Obama administration is claiming that authorities do not need court warrants to affix GPS devices to vehicles to monitor their every move."

"The administration maintains that position despite the Supreme Court’s infamous decision last year that concluded that attaching the GPS devices amounted to search protected by the Constitution."
The question of whether probable-cause warrants issued by a judge are needed is an open one because the high court stopped short of answering it. The court ruled in January, 2012, that attaching the device amounted to a constitutionally protected search because it was a trespass on a private vehicle.

"She presumed that all her suburban-housewife sisters felt as imprisoned as she did and that the gratification she found in her work was attainable for all."

"That was never true, of course; the revolution that [Betty] Friedan helped to spark both liberated women and allowed countless numbers of them to experience financial pressure and the profound dissatisfactions of the workaday grind. More women than ever earn some or all of the money their family lives on. But today, in the tumultuous 21st-century economy, depending on a career as a path to self-actualization can seem like a sucker’s bet."

From Lisa Miller's "The Retro Wife: Feminists who say they’re having it all—by choosing to stay home," a long article in New York Magazine. Worth clicking if only for the photo-illustration.

March 18, 2013

"Anyone entering the Supreme Court’s chamber Monday morning expecting constitutional drama over the right to vote had to come away quite disappointed."

"It took all of fifty minutes of a one-hour argument to get to any constitutional issue, most of the Justices wanted to focus on what 'may only' means in a federal law...."
Since Congress only specified that states “may require only” some information, and gave them explicit permission to find ways to verify eligibility, Arizona has argued that the two mandates can exist side by side....

Alito... sought to drive home a worry about states’ ability to ensure voter eligibility by outlining a hypothetical.  A boy, the Justice suggested, who looks to be thirteen years old rides up to a registration office on his bicycle, wearing a T-shirt from a middle school, and seeks to register.  Alito then asked:  “Can the state require him to show some proof of age?"

"For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing."

Why, that's a sentence from "The Great Gatsby." Couldn't you tell?

The unreality of reality... the world... founded securely on a fairy’s wing....

So... I Googled "unreality of reality," and the second thing that came up was a Wikipedia article titled "Reality in Buddhism."
Some consider that the concept of the unreality of "reality" is confusing. They posit that, in Buddhism, the perceived reality is considered illusory not in the sense that reality is a fantasy or unreal, but that our perceptions and preconditions mislead us to believe that we are separate from the elements that we are made of. Reality, in Buddhist thought, would be described as the manifestation of karma[citation needed].
Isn't it always like that? Citation needed!

"Self-surgery is the act of performing a surgical procedure on oneself."

"It can be a rare manifestation of a psychological disorder, an attempt to avoid embarrassment or legal action, or an act taken in extreme circumstances out of necessity."
1 Genitals
2 Abdominal
3 Medically supervised
4 Self-trepanation
5 Amputation of trapped limbs
6 In fiction
7 References
8 Further reading
9 External links

"I’ve seen very few people — myself included — reach the top or even near the top while working full time at home."

"I do not blame job discrimination for blocking my path. I knew what would happen when I made these decisions. I knew there were jobs that, by their nature, were too inflexible for me if I was going to achieve the balance. You can’t cover a war and be there for your children...."

Writes Michael — yes, a man — Winerip.

"The best thing you'll see on the Internet today curls."

From a slideshow called "Man Curls."

At the Puppy Face Café...


... you can rattle your jowls all evening.

"Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank plans to depart the Obama administration to become chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison..."

"... she told the department's staff Monday after being tapped for the new job."
... Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, said on Twitter that Blank is "a great pick" for the job. "Academic credentials, leadership experience & economic smarts."
Welcome to our new leader!

ADDED: The UW press release.

"Why does the devil in 'The Bible' look exactly like President Obama?"

This is actually an easy question to answer.

1. Mainstream video productions are not going to cast a black man as Satan. Everyone knows better than to do that. If you want to have an actor in the role of God, that's a great time to cast a black actor, e.g. Morgan Freeman. That's something that makes Americans feel good about racial progress. That's what we do here.

2. Needing an actor to play the role of Satan, the casting people working on the History Channel's "The Bible" picked Mehdi Ouzaani, a Moroccan actor. He was chosen because he's a fine actor and he looks like a person who would have lived in the region during Biblical times. Of course, he's not black. They wouldn't cast a black man as Satan!

3. Since Ouzaani isn't black, they didn't think about his resemblance to President Obama. People tend not to see cross-racial resemblance. If you were putting together a "Separated at Birth"-type book, can you think offhand of any black and white celebrities you'd pair?

4. They didn't notice, but when the film went up on television, with millions of viewers, and with particular shots showing Ouzaani's face in the shadows, some of them said "Hey, Satan looks like Obama!" That seemed funny/outrageous. It got tweeted. Soon everyone's talking about casting an Obama lookalike as Satan.

5. And that's how it happened. Or... maybe the Devil made them do it.

"Estonia remained one of the last corners of medieval Europe to be Christianized."

"In 1193 Pope Celestine III called for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe. The Northern Crusades from Northern Germany established the stronghold of Riga (in modern Latvia). With the help of the newly converted local tribes of Livs and Letts, the crusaders initiated raids into part of what is present-day Estonia in 1208. Estonian tribes fiercely resisted the attacks from Riga and occasionally themselves sacked territories controlled by the crusaders. In 1217 the German crusading order the Sword Brethren and their recently converted allies won a major battle in which the Estonian commander Lembitu was killed. The period of the several Northern Crusade battles in Estonia between 1208 and 1227 is also known as the period of the ancient Estonian fight for independence."

In Estonia, today's "History of" country, which looked like this before September 21, 1217:

The original meaning of the word "bless" is about blood.

"Bless" is the word of the day, blogged already here. Now, I'm looking in the Oxford English Dictionary (which, unfortunately, I don't have a way to link to) to see whether it is only God that blesses, and I see that in the original meaning, it is human beings who do the blessing and they do it with blood.
Orig. meaning (prob.), To make 'sacred' or 'holy' with blood; to consecrate by some sacrificial rite which was held to render a thing inviolable from profane use of men and evil influence of men or demons. (The streaking of the lintel and doorposts with blood, Exodus xii. 23, to mark them as holy to the Lord and inviolable by the destroying angel, was apparently the kind of idea expressed by blóedsian in pre-christian times. Cf. also the history of the Latin words consecrāre and sacrificium.)
Note that the etymology is about blood:

Purchases of the day.

From the March 17, 2013 Amazon Associates Earnings Report:

Calvin Klein Men's Basic Brief, White, Size 38, 3-Pack
Calvin Klein Men's Basic V-Neck T-Shirt, White, Large , 3-Pack
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Foot Cream for Dry Rough Feet, (Pack of 4)
"Detroit: An American Autopsy"
"Python Algorithms: Mastering Basic Algorithms in the Python Language" (Expert's Voice in Open Source)

"This is so much worse than raw eggs in milk that I drank for the Marilyn Monroe diet, I kind of can't believe it."

"If pneumonia were a food, this is what it would taste like."

This = 2 raw eggs beaten into orange juice, because that's what Greta Garbo had for breakfast.

Hillary Clinton — at long last — endorses same-sex marriage.

She's been quite the laggard. Why today? Can't let Portman get out in front of her?
Monday’s announcement marks something of a gradual evolution for the former Secretary of State. Mrs. Clinton supported civil unions but opposed same-sex marriage during her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination back in 2008. But she lauded New York State back in the summer of 2011 for passing an “historic” measure to legalize gay marriage. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, joined with the Human Rights Campaign to help pass the New York law. Earlier this month, he said the 1996 law is incompatible with the Constitution and should be overturned... 
“Like so many others, my personal views have been shaped over time by people I have known and loved, by my experience representing our nation on the world stage, my devotion to law and human rights and the guiding principles of my faith,” she said. “Marriage, after all, is a fundamental building block of our society, a great joy and, yes, a great responsibility.”
A great joy and also, sometimes — isn't it, Hillary? — a great pain. If joyful heterosexuals are permitted to undertake this tremendous responsibility, it's only fair that adulterous heterosexuals be permitted to shirk it... I mean, it's only fair that homosexuals have access to equivalent pain and suffering, don't you think?

As expected, I got some pushback for saying "I hope the Supreme Court blesses us with" a right to same-sex marriage.

That was a provocative way to say that it will be a blessing if the upcoming Supreme Court cases resolve this issue that is dogging and distorting the political discourse in our country.

Even to say "it will be a blessing" would have been provocative, since it seems to give God credit for whatever good happens. But that usage of "blessing" has constitutional text to support it:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 
Liberty is a set of blessings, our Founders told us. The human task is to secure the blessings. If the Supreme Court says it has found a liberty — let's say a right to same-sex marriage — we may say that it is securing a liberty that is already there. When someone says "bless you," that doesn't mean that the blessing emanates from the speaker. It's short for "God bless you." It's asking God to deliver a blessing. In the Constitution, what we see is that the Framers believed that God had blessed us with liberty.

So to say "I hope the Supreme Court blesses us" is to identify the Court as the source of the blessing, to put the Court in the place of God, and to prompt and tease those who think the Court improperly makes up rights. That was deliberate and devilish temptation. Thanks for succumbing!

Below the fold are the comments that inspired this post:

A federal court trial on the constititionality of the NYC police stop-and-frisk policy.

"Lawyers for the plaintiffs hope to convince Judge Scheindlin that officers are under pressure to make stops as part of a quota system, and that police supervisors use subtle hints and coded language to encourage officers to stop young minority men."
In response to the accusations, the Police Department has denied using a quota system and points to its written policy forbidding racial profiling.

“Minorities are overwhelmingly the victims of violent crime in New York City, and the neighborhoods in which they live demand and deserve the Police Department’s attention,” the city’s executive assistant corporation counsel, Celeste Koeleveld, said in a statement about the coming trial. “Precinct by precinct, the rates at which minorities are stopped are consistent with the rates at which minorities are identified as crime suspects.”
The court is looking at a period in which there were 5 million police stops and only 12% resulted in arrests.

"Warfare, unlike philosophy, could never be conducted from an armchair. Until now."

"For the first time in history, some soldiers have this in common with philosophers: they can do their jobs sitting down. They now have what I’ve always enjoyed, namely 'leisure,' in the Hobbesian sense of the word, meaning they are not constantly afraid of being killed. Hobbes thought that there are certain not-so-obvious perks to leisure (not being killed is the obvious one). For one, you get to think. This is what he means when he says that 'leisure is the mother of philosophy.' I tend to agree with Hobbes: only those who enjoy a certain amount of leisure can be philosophers."

Writes philosopher John Kaag
, who, we're told, has a forthcoming book called "Drone Warfare." Better hurry, there's also another book called "Drone Warfare, coming out in April. That one is written by CODEPINK and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin, has a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich, and a subtitle "Killing by Remote Control."

March 17, 2013

At the 3 Dogs Café...



... you can howl all night.

"The British and Americans preferred to cede Eritrea to the Ethiopians as a reward for their support during World War II..."

Says the "History of Eritrea" page at Wikipedia. (In our "History of" project, we're proceeding through the world's 206 countries in alphabetical order.)
The resolution ignored the wishes of Eritreans for independence, but guaranteed the population some democratic rights and a measure of autonomy. Some scholars have contended that the issue was a religious issue, between the Muslim lowland population desiring independence while the highland Christian population sought a union with Ethiopia....