May 20, 2018

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

The newest Donald Trump tweet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh, yeah—how do you figure that?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What are the US Democrats' big ideas?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 19, 2018

At the Gray-Green Café...


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

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

Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

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

There was a lot of this sort of thing.

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

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

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

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

May 18, 2018

At the Magenta Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

And please use my portal to Amazon.


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

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

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

So "ditzy" it is.

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

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

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

"Obama’s Legacy Has Already Been Destroyed."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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