December 1, 2012

The Pope with a clown, Susan Rice caught between 2 power-heads, and a heavily tattoo'd quarterback.

I don't know what Matt Drudge is trying to slip into our subconscious today, but it's phantasmagoric. Felliniesque.

Click to enlarge.

The quarterback is Colin Kaepernick, who, not having murdered anybody, seems to be doing comparatively well, NFL-wise. His mother is "annoyed." The body scribblings are Bible verses (we're told). Across the chest it says "Against All Odds." Is that in the Bible? I don't know. Ask the Pope (if he's through clowning around). I've heard of the book of Philipians, so maybe there's a Philcollinsians.

Hillary and Rahm are swirling around Susan Rice. The story is Hillary prefers Kerry as her successor. Fine, but I can't see the Pope+Clown → Tattoo'd Quarterback transition. I hate to think there's no connection, that these are simply the stories that belonged at the top of their respective columns. Drudge means so much more. Tell me what the meaning is.

Here's the story about the Pope meeting 1000s of circus performers at the Vatican:
Benedict, a known cat lover, paid particular attention to a pair of lion cubs that were brought up to him, stroking them and chatting with their trainers. At one point Benedict even bent down to caress one — not an easy feat given the 85-year-old pope has trouble with his knees and occasionally uses a cane.
A gentle scene. Not the first thing that leaps to mind when you think about Christians and lions

God dog.

Photos, video, and editing by Meade. The soundtrack is in the public domain, but here's the music Meade would use if it were easy to get permission from The Incredible String Band, which I'm nearly sure they would grant. Feel free to mute the sound on Meade's video and play the music at the link.

"Officials said [Jovan] Belcher, 25, shot and killed his girlfriend and then drove to the practice facility, where he shot and killed himself."

"Belcher approached Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel outside of the practice facility, thanked them for all they had done for him and shot himself in the head as police arrived."

Well, that answers the question I had when I read earlier reports: Why did he relocate? He wanted to thank them.

ADDED: If no one has said this yet, they will: It's a shame that Belcher shot himself in the head, because now they can't study his brain to see if football caused damage that led him to murder and suicide.

"People Get Ready."

A fabulous 1965 recording by The Impressions. Don't confuse it with "Get Ready," by The Temptations, which is a completely different song. Some people even confuse The Impressions and The Temptations. "Get Ready," from 1966, was written by Smokey Robinson. (Here's how Smokey did it in 1979.)

As you may have noticed, I got absorbed with the word "get" earlier today. "Let's get out of here" and "You just don't get it, do you?" are 2 famously recurrent lines in movies. In the comments, I was saying:
"Get" — the word in both cliche lines — is a funny word. I've noticed that professional writers -- e.g. lawyers -- will replace the word "get" whenever they can (with seemingly more proper words like "obtain" and "acquire" and "depart" or "arrive"). It's like it's not a regular word. It's so useful we shouldn't use it.
"You just don't get it" is a fascinating phrase. It was huge during the Clarence Thomas hearings. Do you remember? It's used to exert psychological pressure. You're trying to persuade someone that a particular viewpoint is correct, and you're jumping to this level of disgust and disbelief, essentially telling the person that they are dumb and isolated from all the people who already understand. It's not just that you don't agree with me already, you're some kind of outcast.
St. Croix said avoiding the word "get" is "a class thing," and professionals who avoid it are trying to sound "high class," trying "to impress." That made me do a little search to see whether the Supreme Court suppresses the word "get," and found it in only one third of the cases in the past year. Often it was a quote, like "Have you ever tried to get cow s*** out of a Prada purse?" (which is a cute low/high mix). Justice Scalia began a dissenting opinion with: "Let me get this straight..." (which might be taken as a deliberate working-class affectation). I'm seeing the word used in colloquial phrases like "get around," "get it backwards," and "get it right." Following natural speech patterns, "get" would appear much more frequently, so I say there's active suppression.

I ran across the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. sentence about free speech and the marketplace of ideas:
"But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas -- that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out."
Imagine what the standard present-day legal editor would do to that sentence: the best test of truth is the power of the thought to gain acceptance in the competition of the market. (The editor would also try to purge the passive voice by fiddling around with the subject — maybe it should be "competition" — toying with the notion of making "test" the verb, and fretting over whether "test" and "market" amount to a mixed metaphor.)

Lawyers and judges just don't get that "get" is a fine word that shouldn't be replaced by boring longer words. When it comes up naturally, as you'd use it in speech, that's where it belongs. It feels natural because it's won in the marketplace of people talking to each other over the centuries, carrying out their affairs in real time. "Got" is true.

As I said, I got — got! — absorbed in the word "get" today, and I got — got! — interested in figuring what's the best song with the word "get." A marketplace of "get" songs. "People Get Ready" won. (Look at how many cover versions there are!) Other contenders — in addition to the above-mentioned "Get Ready" — are: "I'll Get You"/"Get Back"/"Getting Better"/"Got to Get You Into My Life" (The Beatles), "Get It While You Can" (Janis Joplin), "Get Off of My Cloud" (The Rolling Stones), "Get on the Floor" (Michael Jackson), "I Get Around" (The Beach Boys); "Can I Get a Witness" (Marvin Gaye), "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" (The Animals).... That's just stuff easily picked from my 1960s-leaning iPod.

My point is: What a hard, sharp word! Use it.

(And: "People Get Ready" = sublime.)

"How did you suppress your sexual feelings?"

"I think they are natural. If I tried to suppress them I'd be storing up trouble for myself in the future. So I acknowledge to myself: 'Yes, that is a beautiful girl'. The thing that stood by me was: 'God created it, but you are not allowed to play with it!'"

Interviews with 4 priests about celibacy.
I was a little troubled by the "it," but there's much more here than that. For example:
Being celibate means you are always able to be open to one more relationship. If you are in a relationship with another person, to a degree that has to be exclusive; other people have to be kept out.
That is very profound and is helpful in ways not limited to those who have taken a vow of celibacy.

Do you remember the first time, as a child, you had the insight nothing is something?

"If States Don't Set Up Insurance Exchanges, Will 'Obamacare' Implode?"

Stuart Taylor Jr. explains the glaring problem with the federal exchanges. I'll just quote his parting shot:
And in the perhaps unlikely event that the dispute over the powers of federal exchanges reaches the Supreme Court, would Chief Justice John Roberts -- having made his uneasy peace with "Obamacare" in June -- have the stomach to resume hostilities based on a legal analysis that even lawyers find hard to follow?
The stomach to resume hostilities? I would not assume that Roberts "made peace" with Obamacare. He may believe he delivered a wound that escaped notice but will prove fatal.

As I said a month ago:

ADDED: "It's a slow-motion topple. We just haven't seen it go down yet":


December is upon us. A string of 31 days in a row with just about 9 hours of sunlight up here in The North. Maybe where you are it's not as dark, but what are you doing to deal with the dark?

What I'm doing this year is adapting my sleeping hours so that I experience every bit of the light. Sunrise took place at 7:10 this morning, but the pre-dawn light arrives much earlier, and I was up at 5, absorbing every trace, even imagined glimmers and mere moonlight.

Last Thursday, after class, walking home at 5...


... I absorb fading twilight....


... over Lake Mendota.


"A touchy subject!"


That's a "Calvin & Hobbes" strip from 9/11/92, pointed out by a student in my "Religion & the Constitution" class.

Here's a great tool for finding vaguely remembered "Calvin & Hobbes" strips (if you have a key word). Here are a couple other separation-of-religion-and-education strips, focusing on the Pledge of Allegiance.

Gift idea: "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes." (Generic gift-buying portal for making no-cost-to-you contributions to the Althouse blog: here.)

And thanks to Rusty, commenting in "What sort of man walks the streets of Madison with a camera strapped to his head?": "Meade looks like Hobbes. In Calvin and Hobbes."

Did Chief Justice John Roberts "lose his cool"?

I keep reading about this incident, invariably with the focus on the Chief's demeanor, causing me to suspect that the press is covering for the Obama administration again:
The chief justice accused the solicitor general’s office of being less than candid, by suggesting (as he read the government’s brief) that the secretary of labor in the Bush administration had changed her mind “upon further reflection” when that was not the reason at all. Instead, he corrected, it was “a new secretary now under a new administration” who had done so.

The chief justice scolded, “Don’t say the secretary is now of the view. It’s not the same person. You cite the prior secretary by name, and then you say, the secretary is now of the view. I found that a little disingenuous.”
You can listen to the interchange here, beginning at 29:00. Roberts sharply criticizes the government's lawyer, Joseph R. Palmore, for something that — it seems rather obvious — deserves criticism. I don't hear Roberts becoming inappropriately emotional, which is what "losing his cool" means.

Now, if you want to say Roberts is a hypocrite because his writing is equally disingenuous or worse, that's another matter. It's what Andrew Cohen at The Atlantic is doing in an item titled "The Nerve of John Roberts":
A little disingenuous. This from a judge who disappeared the scope of the Commerce Clause in the Affordable Care Act case.
Disappeared the scope? That's Cohen's way of referring to the identification of some limit on the scope of the commerce power, so that it didn't reach a private citizen's failure to purchase insurance. Congress has power under the Commerce Clause to regulate nearly everything else, which to Cohen's eye is no power at all. Unless it's everything, it's nothing. Disappeared!
This from a judge who gutted decades of First Amendment precedent in the Citizens United case after reaching out, unilaterally, to expand the scope of that campaign finance case.....
Yes, yes, roll out your list of Supreme Court decisions you wish went the other way. That's not in the same category as deceptively stating the facts of a case, which is simply not acceptable in lawyers' briefs. The Solicitor General's office disserved us. The Chief Justice called the lawyer on a deception and — with restraint — said he "found it a little disingenuous."

What I find disingenuous is the criticism of the Chief Justice. And after all he did for you upholding Obamacare! (He used the tax power instead of the commerce power).

But no thanks will be forthcoming. Pressure must be kept up. This is a big term for the Supreme Court — gay marriage (probably), affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act — and Roberts's vote may be required to reach what the media know are the right results. Roberts needs to know that any love for him is purely contingent. He's being watched.


You just don't get it, do you?

Get what? Get outta here.

ADDED: "Get" in the you just don't get it sense first appeared in 1892, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (which I'm sorry I can't link to).
[1892   ‘M. Twain’ Amer. Claimant xiii. 101,   I don't know that I quite get the bearings of your position.]
1907   M. C. Harris Tents of Wickedness i. iii. 33   ‘I don't get her,’ she murmured, as if Leonora was a telephone number....
1918   P. G. Wodehouse Piccadilly Jim xi. 114,   I get you not, friend. Supply a few footnotes....
1956   I. Bromige Enchanted Garden II. ii. 93   Fiona broke into peals of laughter and became quite helpless for a few moments. ‘Don't get it,’ said Julian.
"Get" in the get outta here sense is older:
1711   R. Molesworth tr. F. Hotman Franco-Gallia (1721) 136   You have nothing to do here (said she): get out!
1841   Dickens Old Curiosity Shop i. x. 143   Kit only replied by bashfully bidding his mother ‘get out’. 

November 30, 2012

Joey & Zeus go swimming... on the last day of November.

2 dogs, but only one human. All the videography — handheld — and throwing of things are done by Meade.

The hippie commune where "birth control was frowned upon, and abortions were prohibited; childbearing was seen as a natural, beautiful and wholly spiritual undertaking for a woman."

The Farm... it's still around.

I was amazed to see that article in The Daily Mail (in the news because there's a new documentary movie), because just a week ago I referred to The Farm here:
Meade says there was a hippie pro-life movement. He remembers hippies urging women not to have abortions and saying give your babies to us and we'll give them back to you whenever you want. I don't remember that iteration of hippie values, I don't know how the urging would have been done in pre-internet days, and my Googling fails again as I try to research the hippie pro-life movement.
Later, Meade told me the place was called The Farm, and I read about it in Wikipedia.

At the Kong Kafé...

... what are you sucking at?

(Need a Kong? Here! Need anything else? Here's the outstanding and mild Althouse portal.)

"It is a funny time to be Ted Cruz, a Tea Party hero and 41-year-old Cuban-American up-and-comer."

"He... has come to Washington only to find his party in the dumps, demoralized and groping for answers. He is a rising star in a firmament whose lights have dimmed.

Carrie Underwood as...

... Maria in "The Sound of Music."

"Offing a mustache is more complicated than you thought."

And... Aaron Rodgers, Movember is over.

At the Wet Dog Café...


... waiting for Meade to show up with a towel.

The dominant twin.

What must this do to your mind, long term, going through this dramatic experience?

"The Middleton chapter of Gilda's Club is changing its name to Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin."

"Officials said one reason is because some people might not know who Radner was.... There are 56 chapters around the world. Twenty are known as Gilda's Club, three are Wellness Community and 23 are Cancer Support Community."

"If you can dream it, you can achieve it."

"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."

Etc. etc.

The illusion that emotion is expressed through the face.

"When you and I talk to each other and we look at each other, we're really looking at each other's faces. That's where our attention is. And so the assumption has been that that's where all the information is, too.... But these studies show very clearly that that's not the case."

"Back in 1984, Congress gave authorities the power to let people out of federal prison early, in extraordinary circumstances..."

"... like if inmates were gravely ill or dying. But a new report says the Federal Bureau of Prisons blocks all but a few inmates from taking advantage of 'compassionate release.'"
Michael Mahoney made one of those requests. He was convicted of selling drugs to an undercover officer back in 1984, went to prison, got out and went on to build a new life for himself.

But he bought a gun for protection, not understanding he couldn't have one as a convicted felon. When he reported the weapon stolen, Mahoney was sent back to prison on a mandatory 15-year sentence. Behind bars, he started getting sick: hepatitis C, then non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, with tumors growing everywhere.

"He just wanted to come on home and eat barbecue and, you know, die at home, be in his own bed," says his older sister, Dixie Taylor.

The erosion of the Elmo brand.

The Daily News has a story about Charla Nash, the woman whose face and hands were ripped off by a chimpanzee back in 2009. She just settled her lawsuit against the estate of the chimp's owner. She's getting a mere $4 million from the estate, but wants $150 from the state. The state, her claim says, ought to have seized the dangerous animal, which according to the Daily News "could eat at the table, drink wine from a stemmed glass, use the toilet and bathe and dress itself."

Yes, horrible and bizarre, but what's that got to do with Elmo? I wouldn't have thought about Elmo if it hadn't been for this Elmo story in the sidebar next to the picture of the chimp:

"Hairstylist claims he had sex with Elmo puppeteer, too" links to "Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash was a 'gentleman,' says former Long Island lover amidst 'Sesame Street' star's underage sex scandal."
He said he saw Clash about 30 times over a two-year period and that the puppeteer wined him and dined him, and even once sent a car to Long Island to pick him up for a date.

“I feel someone who is a liar and a molester will just keep on the pattern. That’s not the type of guy I met... He was straightforward and if I wanted to have sex and have a hookup then that was my choice....”
That's an interesting example of someone trying to provide helpful evidence and not seeing the way the other side will use it. How to successfully woo a very young guy? Send a nice car over to fetch him. Let him sit at the dinner table and drink wine from a stemmed glass.

Suddenly, I remember Elmo's role in the Charla Nash story. Nash had come over to help the owner, Sandy Herold, get the 200-pound animal into the house, and here's how The Daily News describes it:
Herold has said Travis attacked because he was being protective of her and didn't recognize Nash, who had recently changed her hairstyle, was driving a different car and waved a red Elmo doll at him.
Oddly, the long Wikipedia article on Travis the chimp doesn't mention Elmo.  In fact, the Elmo detail is missing from old articles where I would expect to see it. (For example, this Time piece focusing on the owner's explanation: "Nash arrived in an unfamiliar car and emerged with her hair done in a radically different style from what Travis was familiar with. Herold speculates that perhaps the chimp didn’t recognize Nash and viewed her as a threat.") Maybe PBS got the bad Elmo publicity scrubbed from various websites. The Elmo mention I found was in The Daily News, the news site that put the new Elmo story in the sidebar right next to the picture of the chimp that was crazed (perhaps) by Elmo.

But Elmo himself did nothing wrong. He's only a puppet/doll. A brand.

The super-expensive Starbucks coffee from Costa Rica called "Geisha."

"We have loyal reserve customers who are interested in any opportunity to try something as rare and exquisite as the Geisha varietal," said Starbucks spokeswoman Lisa Passe.

Names, names, names. First of all: Lisa Passe. I love it! The name Lisa peaked hugely in 1960, when it hit #1 for female newborns. It crashed immediately after and almost no one names a baby Lisa anymore. It's passé. So Lisa Passe is a perfect euonym for someone passing off something outmoded.

Second: Geisha. From Costa Rica. Even if the varietal was already called Geisha, Starbucks did not need to adopt that branding. It chose it. Why? You emphasize that it's a particular coffee from Costa Rica, and you brand it with a word associated with Japan. What's worse than the geographic mismatch is the gender. It's a word that connotes a female catering poshly to a male.

Here's the Oxford English Dictionary definition, in full: "A Japanese girl whose profession is to entertain men by dancing and singing; loosely, a Japanese prostitute." Here's a long Wikipedia article about geishas. I'm not fussing over the details of whether geishas are prostitutes or not or how much power and autonomy they maintain today or in bygone eras. I'm just saying: What the hell kind of Starbucks branding is this?

Now, the product must be intended to appeal to women. High-priced items with a strong emotional, mental element creating the worth — they have to be speaking to women. But Geisha is not a word that should inspire females to hand over their money. You should be giving me money. A lot of money.

Does Starbucks assume its customers are if not dumb then free-floating in the present, unconnected to information of a geographical and historical kind? They're not really this dumb...

... are they?

IN THE COMMENTS: rhhardin said:
There's some risk that a Geisha Venti would mean blow job. 

"Don't waste time worrying about growing old."

"Many experts described later life as embodying a serenity, a 'lightness of being,' a sense of calm and easiness in daily life that was both unexpected and somewhat difficult to describe. . . . They acknowledge that growing old is uncharted territory . . . but many experts described it with a sense of exploring a new land."

#12 on a list of "12 ways to live a better life."

Related is #2: "Act as if you will need your body for 100 years/Don't worry about dying. Worry about chronic disease...."

November 29, 2012

"An Egyptian court convicted in absentia Wednesday seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor..."

"... sentencing them to death on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that had sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world."

It's late autumn in the Arab spring.

Federal court gives preliminary injunction to company with religious objection to HHS contraception mandate.

CNSnews reports.

What sort of man walks the streets of Madison with a camera strapped to his head?


In case you want a camera strapped to your head: here's the GoPro.

ADDED: Gift ideas: Althouse's blue suede shoes; Althouse's album cover frames.

At the Under-the-Table Café...


... I can hang out longer than you.

"In the realm of religious faith, and in that of political belief, sharp differences arise."

"In both fields the tenets of one man may seem the rankest error to his neighbor. To persuade others to his own point of view, the pleader, as we know, at times resorts to exaggeration, to vilification of men who have been, or are, prominent in church or state, and even to false statement. But the people of this nation have ordained, in the light of history, that, in spite of the probability of excesses and abuses, these liberties are, in the long view, essential to enlightened opinion and right conduct on the part of the citizens of a democracy."

A paragraph from an old Supreme Court case that feels like something some people who ought to know better have forgotten. Boldface added.

"The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers."

Foreign Policy assembles the usual and unusual suspects. Obama — the "brainy 44th president" and "huge basketball fan" — is only #4. Bill and Hillary Clinton count as a single entity — a 2-headed BillHilldabeest — but they get to be #3. This gives me a chance to look for an answer to that question I asked the other day: What are Hillary Clinton's accomplishments, if any? According to FP:
Clinton, who was among those who led the push for the United States to intervene in Libya last year, remains a relentless campaigner for women's rights and economic development, and she has insisted on the promotion of rights for gays and lesbians as an official component of U.S. diplomacy for the first time. But she has also added hardheaded global tactician to her portfolio, as when she spearheaded tense negotiations in China this past spring for the release of dissident Chen Guangcheng (No. 9). With a 66 percent approval rating, she's a lot more popular than her boss these days and has taken the ups and downs of the Arab Spring -- which she accurately predicted at a time when many others succumbed to starry-eyed wishful thinking -- as proof that her brand of pragmatic politics harnessed to global star power can be a recipe for American restoration.
Hardheaded, she spearheaded blah blah blah. My question remains. She believes things and she has an attitude about those beliefs, but can you name an accomplishment? Chen Guangcheng? Okay... Here's a WaPo article about how Chen Guangcheng is doing in the United States. Nary a mention of Hillary Clinton.
“Can you use ‘truth’ in a sentence?” their English tutor asked at Monday’s session.

“One plus one equals two. This is a truth,” Yuan replied.

“Very good! Now can you use ‘life’ in a sentence?”

“Life is a ungh-ae-lee-un-ah-boh right,” Chen answers a little more quickly.
 An unalienable right, along with liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For that, we must relentlessly push and insist and spearhead hardheadedly, like Hillary. Let's harness ourselves pragmatically to Hillary's star power which is not starry-eyed, but accurate. It's... why, what do you expect from a woman? It's a recipe:

How many weasels does it take to make a quorum?

And "where do city politicians fleebag when they want to hold up legislative decision-making by preventing quorum? Fitchburg?"

Previous Althouse blog coverage of the big Madison lighting-the-bike-path controversy: "We thought if we started calling it the 'Owlpath,' that would help remind people that it gets dark here at night, and that's special...."

And if you don't get the "fleebag" joke, pedal up to speed here. (The state senators fled to Illinois during the great uprising over Gov. Scott Walker's budget reforms.)

"Fight over Susan Rice holds political risks for White House."

So say Anne Gearan and Steven Mufson, writing in the Washington Post, prompting me to think the opposite.

I say we're being played by a political maneuver designed to keep us from looking deeply and broadly into the issues surrounding the Benghazi attack. It's all about Susan Rice, but why? She isn't even the nominee for Secretary of State. She just might be. Focus on her. She was sent out onto 5 Sunday talk shows a few days after the attack, to say something about that terrible video, which is itself a contrivance, a distraction. So make it about the video and embody that in a specific person, whom we never noticed before. And let's yammer about her for weeks and months until we're tired of talking about her, and then — who knows? — John Kerry is the real choice for Secretary of State. Rice was always expendable. She was the capsule into which the Benghazi scandal was enclosed for burial. Once we're tired of Rice — she's been battered and beaten and those who've done the beating have been accused of black-woman-battering — we'll automatically already be tired of talking about the Benghazi scandal, which never even broke!

Political risk? Political genius!


One of the titles on the NYT "100 Notable Books of 2012."

Obviously, this is a good source for gift ideas. (And here's that Amazon portal again.)

IN THE COMMENTS: Kirk Parker said links to the Clive James poem "The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered," which has this verse:
Yea, his slim volume with its understated wrapper
Bathes in the blare of the brightly jacketed Hitler's War Machine,
His unmistakably individual new voice
Shares the same scrapyart with a forlorn skyscraper
Of The Kung-Fu Cookbook,
His honesty, proclaimed by himself and believed by others,
His renowned abhorrence of all posturing and pretense,
Is there with Pertwee's Promenades and Pierrots
One Hundred Years of Seaside Entertainment,
And (oh, this above all) his sensibility,
His sensibility and its hair-like filaments,
His delicate, quivering sensibility is now as one
With Barbara Windsor's Book of Boobs,
A volume graced by the descriptive rubric
"My boobs will give everyone hours of fun."
ADDED: Barbara Windsor's Book of Boobs... ... I mean Florence Williams's Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History makes the NYT 100 list... yet we don't see Naomi Wolf's Volume of Vulva... I mean Vagina: A New Biography. That's gotta hurt. Poor Wolf-lady! It's like a deliberate affront. A taunting. History... biography... breasts... vagina... it's so unfair... so... delicious....

"Running too fast, too far and for too many years may speed one's progress toward the finish line of life."

Why the hurry?

"The Shame of the Universities."

An alternate title that would work for 2 recently published books, according Michael Barone. (Both are books I've blogged about before: Greg Lukianoff's "Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate," and Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor's "Mismatch/How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It.")

Via Instapundit, whose own "Shame of the Universities" book is referred to in Barone's article.

Gift suggestion.

This may seem ordinary and overpriced, but it is fantastic. If you know someone who likes to wear fingernail polish but has trouble keeping the stuff from chipping within a day or 2 and is either wasting a lot of time redoing nails or just not bothering anymore, she — or he! — will love the Butter London Top and Tails Set. They may not immediately realize how great it is, but they will thank you later. I'm not kidding. I have never encountered a cosmetic product that was anywhere near this superior to everything else in its category.

"Hot Gift Is a Tablet, but Which to Buy?"

David Pogue examines the options.

Seems like the Kindle Paperwhite is best for someone who mainly wants to read books.

For a color device to use for video entertainment, it gets more complicated. Nook, Fire, Nexus, Android... whatever. I'm firmly in the grip of Apple, so I just assume you want an iPad or an iPad Mini (or both). But Pogue's piece might help.

Please shop through my Amazon portal if you can. I've used Kindle devices and, though I'm an Apple person, I use the Kindle app on all my Apple devices and I always by my ebooks — and I have hundreds — in the Kindle format.

Here's some advice I don't see in Pogue's piece: if you're buying a device for someone else, find out where that person's brand loyalties lie. If they already have books in one format, will they be able to read them on another format? The giftgiver won't enjoy watching the recipient furiously Googling for an answer to that question on Christmas morning.

ADDED: Thanks to everyone who's been using the Althouse portal this month. I see the reports and really do feel encouraged by this gesture of appreciation from you. Even though it's perfectly easy to do and costs you nothing, it means a lot to me!

"What else will these thousands of students who have been discouraged from attending law school do?"

"Where will they find a more fulfilling career? They’re not all going to be doctors or investment bankers, nor should they. Looking purely at the economics, in 2011, the median starting salary for practicing lawyers was $61,500; the mean salary for all practicing lawyers was $130,490, compared with $176,550 for corporate chief executives, $189,210 for internists and $79,300 for architects. This average includes many lawyers who graduated into really bad job markets. And the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports projected growth in lawyers’ jobs from 2010 to 2020 at 10 percent, 'about as fast as the average for all occupations.'"

A law dean — Lawrence E. Mitchell of Case Western — argues that "Law School Is Worth the Money"... because what else are you going to do with the money you don't have your life?

"The autistic worker... has an unusually wide variation in his or her skills, with higher highs and lower lows."

"Yet today... it is increasingly a worker’s greatest skill, not his average skill level, that matters. As capitalism has grown more adept at disaggregating tasks, workers can focus on what they do best, and managers are challenged to make room for brilliant, if difficult, outliers. This march toward greater specialization, combined with the pressing need for expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, so-called STEM workers, suggests that the prospects for autistic workers will be on the rise in the coming decades. If the market can forgive people’s weaknesses, then they will rise to the level of their natural gifts."

From a long NYT Magazine article called "The Autism Advantage."

"If the Senators have evidence that the terrorist detainee process has been abused to the detriment of American citizens..."

"... perhaps they could provide some examples. On the available evidence, the safeguards in place have protected both U.S. liberties and the public from terror attack."

When the god-dog Zeus fetches... it's cosmic.

The most astounding commenter in the universe, Chip Ahoy, got inspired in yesterday's Lookout Café:
It's known scientifically by k-9 studies that dogs bred for specific purposes over centuries maintain genetic memory and access it daily through their unique dog thought patterns.

They appear to access the memories of previous generations, the ones that lived to reproduce and the ones that contributed their own experiences to the collective memory whenever events are significantly emotionally charged to register and cleve in their dna.

Zeus' excellent thought adventure.

2 views on taking away the mortgage interest deduction.

From a WaPo article on the supposedly real possibility that $100-billion-a-year item with make it into the fiscal cliff deal.

1. Edward Kleinbard, USC tax lawprof:
“We simply cannot afford wasteful government subsidy programs anymore, and this is one of the most important examples of that... It’s very much a subsidy to those Americans who need it least.”
2. Mark Zandi, Moody's economist:
“It’s a very visceral thing for people.... People account for it when they think about how much house they could afford to buy. You take that away, and house prices are going to weaken. They are going to decline.”

When a man agrees to be his ex-girlfriend's sperm donor...

... with a physician as intermediary and thereby avoids the obligation of paying child support, should he succeed if, later, he asks a court to require the mother to share custody of the child?

The man is the actor Jason Patric, who says he gave the sperm on condition that the woman not seek child support, at a time when, he says, he didn't have enough money.

I'll add what I'd put on a law school exam: If you need more factual information in order to answer, tell me what it is and why you need it?

November 28, 2012

At the Lookout Café...


... keep watch.

"23 songs that use fruit for sexual metaphor."

Before looking, guess which fruit wins:

Pick one. free polls 

"Madison... through our weird college-tinted glasses..."

A cool depiction by Daniel Fleming:


EBay thwarts Glenn Beck's satirical artwork.

"Obama in Pee Pee" violated a viewpoint-neutral policy:
Your listing contain [sic] the bodily fluid of urine. We do not allow bodily fluids to be listed on our site. Even if the liquid in the jar is not urine, you are describing it as such. We do not allow this type of listing and we ask that you do not relist this in any way....
Too bad Beck didn't do a more accurate satire of Andres Serrano's notorious "Piss Christ," which was a photograph. EBay's policy wouldn't have covered a photograph of urine (or of liquid described as urine).

Gift idea.

Story Cubes are fun and aesthetically pleasing.

"Even though it’s my job to be an actor, I have given my life to God."

"I am very comfortable and firm in that, but I still have to be on this show. It’s the No. 1 comedy, but it’s very inappropriate and the themes are very inappropriate. I have to be this person I am not."

The continuing struggles of 19-year-old Angus T. Jones, of "Two and a Half Men," the show he called "filth" and urged people not to watch, remarks he now apologizes for if they "reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed."

Chris Larson upsets Jon Erpenbach to become the Wisconsin Senate minority leader.

This is very intra-Wisconsin, but you may have seen Instapundit's item "DEMOCRATIC WHITE MALE SENATORS CONSPIRE to block a black woman’s committee chairmanship. In Wisconsin" ... which links to a somewhat abstruse Charlie Sykes piece about state senator Bob Wirch breaking "his promise to vote for Senator Jon Erpenbach" supposedly to get the seat that Lena Taylor would otherwise have on the joint finance committee. (She wouldn't continue as chairwoman, in any case, because her party is going into the minority.)  Taylor is black, and these are all Democrats interacting with each other, which gives the conservative Sykes an opportunity to inflict a little pain.

Suing the psychotherapists who offered to cure homosexuality.

The claim is consumer fraud.
The former clients said they were emotionally scarred by false promises of inner transformation and humiliating techniques that included stripping naked in front of the counselor and beating effigies of their mothers. They paid thousands of dollars in fees over time, they said, only to be told that the lack of change in their sexual feelings was their own fault....

Since the 1970s, when mainstream mental health associations stopped branding homosexuality as a disorder, a small network of renegade therapists, conservative religious leaders and self-identified “life coaches” has continued to argue that it is not inborn, but an aberration rooted in childhood trauma. Homosexuality is caused, these therapists say, by a stifling of normal masculine development, often by distant fathers and overbearing mothers or by early sexual abuse.
There's a lot of ineffective counseling out there. At what point do you call it consumer fraud and dole out damages to the patients who volunteered for it and emerged with new problems or the same problems/nonproblems they began with?
“The defendants peddled antigay pseudoscience, defaming gay people as loathsome and deranged,” said Sam Wolfe, a lawyer with the [Southern Poverty Law Center].
In the mental health (and religion) field, where does the science end and the pseudoscience begin? Freudian therapy is pseudoscience, isn't it? How about getting all the psychiatrists of the world to cough up all the fees they've collected over the decades?

Obviously, Wolfe begins with the position that the perceived problem is not a problem, and he has no sympathy for those who offer to cure the nonproblem and is uninhibited in his efforts to pump up hatred of those terrible bigots. Loathsome! Deranged!

We can find more civil, moderate, and non-litigious approaches to ending the pain caused by these misguided attempts at reorienting sexuality. I recommend more science, more conversation, more intelligence, more empathy... for everyone.

"Students told to disavow 'American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality.'"

Asserts a headline at The College Fix that's getting a lot of attention right now. See Memeorandum and Instapundit. But the text, even as it tries to stir up our outrage, does not support the assertion:
A political science professor at Butler University asks students to disregard their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status” when writing and speaking in the classroom – a practice the school’s arts and sciences dean defended as a way to negate students’ inherent prejudices.
Disregard? The headline said "disavow." There's a big difference between disavowing something and disregarding it.  But "disregard" isn't even the teacher's word. What is the teacher's word? I'm guessing, from reading this far, that the teacher would like students to become aware that their attitudes and opinions come from their own perspective and to enlarge their field of vision.
The syllabus of the class, called Political Science 201: Research and Analysis, goes on to ask students “to write and speak in a way that does not assume American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status, etc. to be the norm.” It is taught by a black, female professor.
So "do not assume"... It doesn't say "disavow" or "disregard." It says do not assume. Do not assume that do not assume means more than do not assume

The writer at The College Fix, a student at Butler, says he "dropped that politically correct political science class."
Clearly, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University believes its students were raised as racist and misogynist homophobes who have grown to harbor many prejudices, a stance that is both offensive and hostile to any student’s ability to learn.
Now, I don't see the evidence that the teacher deserves this harsh judgment, but I believe the student really did experience her expression in this very negative way. It's easy to point at the probable and amusing irony: He read the syllabus from the perspective of a white, middle-class, heterosexual, American male. Maybe he'd benefit from experimenting with reading it from different perspectives. The teacher said do not assume and he assumed a lot (as far as I can tell). He assumed that she assumed that the students were racist, sexist homophobes. He was afraid she thought that and afraid she wouldn't be fair or that he couldn't learn very much from her.

That's where the teacher failed. She didn't anticipate the way her message would be perceived by incoming students. She repelled this student. And there's the other irony: She was not — to use the word she seems to treasure — inclusive.

"Jogging with Zeus on Picnic Point."

Yesterday, at moonrise, dog, man, and new GoPro camera get a workout. If you hear music, it's the UW Marching Band.

November 27, 2012

In one hospital, over a period of 14 hours, 19 boys — and no girls — were born.

It's in the news as if it's amazing, but of course it's no more unusual than any other combination of boys and girls born anywhere else over any other period you might define. In fact, it's less unusual, since the choice to define the relevant period and end it when the last boy was born maximized the presence of boys in the group.

"Jake from ‘Two and a Half Men’ means nothing. He is a nonexistent character."

"If you watch ‘Two and a Half Men,’ please stop watching ‘Two and a Half Men.’ I’m on ‘Two and a Half Men’ and I don’t want to be on it."

Angus T. Jones denounces his own show
, based on religion. Quit the show then, man. What kind of religion is this, where you blame people for consuming the "filth" — his word — in which you are deeply embedded? If you don't know you can walk away from the show, then I wonder whether you know you can walk away from the religion.

Lindsey Graham "more concerned than I was before" about Susan Rice.

And he "wouldn’t vote for anybody being nominated out of the Benghazi debacle until I had answers about what happened that I don’t have today."

Shouldn't Rice be better at conciliation if she's got what it takes to be Secretary of State?

CORRECTION: Originally, I'd attributed the quote in the headline to McCain, one of the 2 Senators at the meeting with Rice. (The other Senator was Ayotte.)

The most popular Republican in the country.

Chris Christie.

The return of Martha Coakley.

"Coakley is still scarred from her 2010 Senate defeat, and many Democrats shudder at the thought of her running again."

"The whole time I thought he sounded like Pedro/Pablo from 'Napoleon Dynamite.'"

One comment from a community college student who was pranked, along with the rest of his  Speech 101 class by classmate Jose Barrientos, who faked a Mexican accent for 4 months, and then, comically, dropped the accent:

One girl knew he was a fake. You see her at about 3:00. I think it's not a mere coincidence that the young woman is strikingly beautiful. Well-tuned bullshit detector.

If my older readers don't get the "Napoleon Dynamite" reference, you could get the highly amusing movie at Amazon, which, as you may know, I'm hoping you will enter through the Althouse portal when you do any shopping you might need to do. But if you don't want to get up to speed on Pedro from "Napoleon Dynamite," I'll bet you remember Bill Dana doing the Mexican accent as Jose Jimenez. Here's Bill Dana as Jose Jimenez playing an expert in how Santa Claus is supposed to speak:

Dana retired the Jimenez character in 1970. It was considered in bad taste to get laughs playing a dumb ethnic stereotype with an accent. But it's not the 70s anymore, and maybe it's okay for Barrientos — who is a standup comedian — to do this routine, since his agenda is to expose the prejudices of the audience and to critique them and dispel stereotypes. I don't know. It seems to me that there was some real hostility in doing the accent for 4 months on the theory that people would think ill of him. He could have been building relationships. Going public now, he's leveraging his comedy career on deceit and betrayal, which only seems worthwhile if they really were small-minded bigots. In that regard, note that the 2 most fooled students were a couple of black guys — highlighted at the very end, for maximum comic effect.

Seen on the internet.

Grabbed this morning from a major news website:

I just wanted you to know what's out there. I'm not saying be afraid, be very afraid. But... pay attention.

"Intrade Closes To U.S. Bettors, Bowing To Pressure From Regulators."

Legal hassles thwart a guilty pleasure.
“It is against the law to solicit U.S. persons to buy and sell commodity options, even if they are called ‘prediction’ contracts, unless they are listed for trading and traded on a CFTC-registered exchange or unless legally exempt,” said David Meister, director of the regulator’s enforcement division. The restrictions Intrade and TEN are accused with violating “enable the CFTC to police market activity and protect market integrity,” he added.
Got that? I notice "unless legally exempt." How about legally exempting it then?

"In recruiting women over 40 years of age, companies are finding young women who will misrepresent their true age on application forms."

"Legendary jukujo performer Mariko Kawano was one of the first, apparently claiming to be 34 when in fact she was really three years younger."

Recycling your turkey-frying oil in Madison, Wisconsin for the greater good of America and the world.

A City of Madison news release:
"We know that there are many people who have lots of oil left over after frying their Thanksgiving turkey," Madison recycling coordinator George Dreckmann said. "We are very excited to be able to offer them a chance to turn that old cooking oil into fuel for cars and trucks in our area."
Dreckmann — a euonym! The Oxford English Dictionary defines "dreck" — from Yiddish drek (German dreck) filth, dregs, dung — as "Rubbish, trash, worthless debris":
1922 J. Joyce Ulysses ii. 491 Farewell. Fare thee well. Dreck!
1947 Horizon Feb. 90 The anonymous countryside littered with heterogeneous dreck.
1965 E. Lacy Double Trouble v. 58 Drek your dolls are!.. I wouldn't stick my customers with such junk!...
Back to the press release:
"Every year thousands of gallons of old cooking oil is tossed in the landfill or flushed down the drain. Since we began our cooking oil program we have recovered over thousands [sic] of cooking oil" Dreckmann said. "Now we can recover this resource and use it to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and cut air pollution."

Cooking oil must be brought to the 1501 W. Badger Rd. or 4602 Sycamore Av....
So hundreds/thousands of citizens with their gallon jugs of used oil will get in their cars and drive to the oil collection site and then various unseen processes will be applied to convert that stuff into something useful. Is there a net benefit to the environment and to the American economy? I don't know, but think how wonderful it is that the nice people of Madison can feel good about themselves (after they went ahead and deep-fried the turkey instead of just roasting it).

Oh, Althouse, why are you so cynical?!  I'm sorry. Let me paint a different picture. The turkey-frying Madisonian hangs gallon jugs of used oil on his handlebars and bikes down South Park Street to Badger Road.

"'Black dog' is a powerfully expressive metaphor" for depression "that appears to require no explanation."

"The combination of ‘blackness’ with the negative connotations of ‘dog’, noun and verb, seems an eminently apt description of depression: an ever-present companion, lurking in the shadows just out of sight, growling, vaguely menacing, always on the alert; sinister and unpredictable, capable of overwhelming you at any moment. Further, the ‘dark hound’ is an archetypal object of fear, with a long tradition in folklore and myth. Black dogs in dreams are interpreted negatively, often representing death; from all over the world come tales of nightmares caused by oppressive black dogs crushing the sleeper’s chest."

The first paragraph in the essay that won a competition — by the Black Dog Institute — on the theme of "the history of the term ‘black dog’ as a description for depression." Like many, I traced the metaphor to Winston Churchill, but he was a late entry in a long tradition.

The topic came up this morning at Meadhouse, which is brightened this morning — and many mornings — by the presence of Zeus, the neighbors' black Labrador Retriever. I've heard that there's prejudice against black dogs. They're least likely to be chosen from amongst the abandoned shelter dogs, most likely to get put down. Ah, yes: black dog syndrome. Some people jump to the conclusion that it's racist. But it seems more likely that people experience the black dog metaphorically. It's depression.

(Another really practical explanation is that black dogs don't photograph well, so it's harder for shelters to interest people in their black dogs. But since people love to photograph their dogs, maybe you should prefer a dog that photographs well.)


"Time honors Sandra Fluke as 'Person of the Year' finalist."

That's the Breitbart headline for an item that begins "Just when you think Time magazine can’t make any more of a mockery of itself...." But there are 40 individuals on Time's "Who Should Be TIME's Person of the Year 2012?" which gives readers a chance to vote. Included on this list are many minor newsworthy figures and many whose contributions were not clearly positive. Bashar Assad and Kim Jong Un are on the list — "honored." Nice by not really world-changing figures like gymnast Gabrielle Douglas are included.  The click-through gallery is in alphabetical order, and the first picture that hits you is a conservative old white guy, Sheldon Adelson. Now, he's not presented in a positive light:
In the post-Citizens United era, Sheldon Adelson became the public face of what critics cast as a plutocrat class trying to buy U.S. elections. But it's not clear how much the conservative casino magnate got for his money — other than a heap of bad press.
Time's perspective is obviously liberal, but within that perspective, it's quite a concession to say that Citizens United hasn't been a horror show.

Anyway, Time made an effort to amass an interesting list of people who made the news for different reasons or who represent different cultural and demographic sectors. There's E.L. James and Jay-Z and Psy. Did they "influence the news" (Time's stated standard)? The real problem here is that it seems that Barack Obama is the necessary choice for 2012, and that's simply too boring.

And in fact, he is not winning in the readers poll. The readers have decisively chosen Malala Yousafzai. She has the least negative votes ("no way") and is coming in 3d on positive votes ("definitely"). Ahead of her on the positive list are Mohamed Morsy and — I guess the vote-for-the-worst crowd is out in force — Kim Jong Un. Malala Yousafzai is the face in the gallery that makes your heart zing. I clicked through the whole thing without feeling like hitting a definitely/no way button until I got to her. I still didn't vote, of course. (My female heart is well-defended against the outreached arms of commercial media.)

Sandra Fluke's no votes far exceed yes votes —  24,809/9,356  — but I would guess that outrage from the Breitbart crowd will now skew the vote. I don't know which way, but for Time, traffic is traffic and it will experience a nice boost from the inclusion of Fluke. The "Person of the Year" event — and this post gets my "annual nonsense" tag — is a nice commercial gambit for Time. So:

Who made a mockery of itself? free polls 

If DOMA is unconstitutional, what kind of past employee benefits will need to be paid?

Don't assume the effect of a new decision will be only prospective. Consider this report of a ruling by the Judicial Council of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals:
... Christopher Nathan, 39, of San Francisco, a law clerk for U.S. Magistrate Maria Elena James, sought [health insurance] coverage for his spouse, Thomas Alexander, 40.... [H]e was turned down by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts because the 1996 law bars federal recognition of same-sex unions.

In April, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware said the denial violated the federal court's rules against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender, and ordered the court to reimburse Nathan for the costs of buying private insurance.

The Judicial Council, the final authority in the administrative review process, went a step further in this week's order and said DOMA has been held unconstitutional by a San Francisco federal judge in another employee's case. The three-judge panel ordered the court [that is, his employer] to determine how much it owes Nathan and then pay him within 10 days.

November 26, 2012

At the Black Dog Café...


... come in and dry off.

"Often times, there's not a distinction between asking a political question in the official office and the campaign office."

"All those things are things that need to be coordinated. There's nothing wrong with that."

"The senior employee knows that one of the other employees doesn't like country music, so he tells her, 'If you don't date me, it's going to be country music all day long.'"

"Does that make the senior employee the supervisor?" — asked Chief Justice John Roberts.

"I looked like my gay brother."

Says Anne Hathaway about her "Les Mis" hairstyle.

"The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research at Humboldt State University plans to sponsor scholarly lectures..."

"... and coordinate research among 11 faculty members from fields such as economics, geography, politics, psychology and sociology."

Is this bad? free polls 

Prof "assaulted by employees of a McDonald’s in Paris who objected to his wearing a cyborg-style eyepiece while eating dinner with his family."

McDonald's claims its people were respectful but concerned that he was secretly filming customers and invading their privacy (under French law). So he shows up looking like this:

What do you think? Should the restaurant be required to leave him alone, though his looks upset the other customers? Should we get used to the future with its “computerized vision systems"? Or should we preserve our instincts about dangers?

This — from the man's blog — may seem irrelevant, but it affected me:
On the evening of 2012 July 1st, my wife and children and I went to McDonalds at 140, Avenue Champs Elysees, Paris, France, after a day of sightseeing (8 museums and other landmark sights, as part of a boat cruise package)....

We ordered two Ranch Wraps, one burger, and one mango McFlurry....
Is this the right way to be in Paris? Obviously not, but freedom matters, and I'd like the French to care about freedom.

"A 32-year-old man who died after downing dozens of roaches and worms last month to win a python at a Florida reptile store choked to death."

CNN reports the results of the medical examination, and the first comment over there is: "And now the worms are eating him."

Fearing election loss, the Obama administration rushed to "develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones."

The NYT reported the other day. Its sources say they wanted "a new president [to] inherit clear standards and procedures."

That means that the President was fine with the lack of rules/standards/procedures to confine his own power.
Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory.
Why are they still working on it? I imagine that every attempt to put the rules in writing and to cover everything they've already done (and want to keep doing) ends up with something they can't justify explicitly saying.
In an interview with Mark Bowden for a new book on the killing of Osama bin Laden, “The Finish,” Mr. Obama said that “creating a legal structure, processes, with oversight checks on how we use unmanned weapons, is going to be a challenge for me and my successors for some time to come.”

The president expressed wariness of the powerful temptation drones pose to policy makers. “There’s a remoteness to it that makes it tempting to think that somehow we can, without any mess on our hands, solve vexing security problems,” he said.
Tempting no-mess remoteness. That sounds like a much bigger theme... like the overarching theme of the Obama administration.

An interview with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the imprisoned filmmaker behind "Innocence of Muslims."

The NYT forefronts the fact that Nakoula is angry and without remorse. I think he should be angry, and the NYT should show far more concern about free speech and political persecution, but there's some detailed material, e.g.:
Mr. Nakoula’s supervised release barred him from using aliases. But he resumed work on his movie under the name Sam Baccil, said Jimmy Israel, who assisted with preproduction. Mr. Israel, who still thought Mr. Nakoula had been away battling cancer, placed casting notices on One advertised 11 roles that included “George: male, 20-40, a strong leader, romantic, tyrant, a killer with no remorse, accent.” Mr. Israel said Mr. Nakoula told him that “Muhammad would be named George to mislead the actors.”
You're supposed to believe he is in prison because of the alias?

"You’re throwing me out! You’re sending me out to a doghouse! Why not put me in a manicomio?"

The "grannypod" (or MedCottage) — a $125,000 outbuilding, "essentially a portable hospital room."

(Manicomio means madhouse.)

"I see a cure as a dynamic process, in which multiple doctors, professionals, artists, scientists and others join as a society..."

"... to converse, support each other, be open to various contributions and shape solutions that merge humanity, technology, technique, philosophy and art. Creativity and 'normal life' become part of the process and bring 'diseased' people back to life."

74 conservative bloggers answer the question "Which of the following candidates would you most prefer to see as the GOP’s 2016 candidate?

There were 19 names to choose from, and Marco Rubio got a clear plurality, which was not surprising. What was surprising was Rand Paul at #2 and Scott Walker at #3. Have people heard that Scott Walker does not have a college degree? Could that possibly work? (I know I was disparaging college in another post this morning.)

Chris Christie is down at #10, with only 2 votes — including mine — and he's #1 on the list of who would you least like.
In 2008, the least wanted candidates for bloggers were…John McCain and Ron Paul.

In 2012, the least wanted candidates for bloggers were…Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

So, going by those results, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush would have to be considered the early favorites for 2016 based on the fact that conservative bloggers don’t want either of them as a nominee.

If the airline "managed to get her over there," was it "obligated to get her home"?

So says the lawyer for an obese woman who died after the airline could not get her onto a plane in Hungary.
They spent several relaxing weeks at a vacation home they owned in the Hungarian countryside. It was a trip they took almost every year....
How many weeks? Did her condition change over that time? The lawyer "is mulling a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the airlines accusing them of violating laws protecting the disabled."
On the plane, the crew, with help from the local fire department, was unable to move her from her wheelchair to the three seats assigned to her. The captain ordered them off after 30 minutes of no success.
“We had 140 passengers on board, and they had connections and needed to travel,” said Lufthansa spokesman Nils Haupt. “The question was never the seat belt. The question was the mobility of the passenger.”

“She was very ill and did not trust that the hospitals in former communist Hungary could attend to her needs,” [the lawyer] said.
I'm sorry but this is a lawsuit I hope will fail. If you are that sick and that mobility-impaired and you insist on treatment only from your doctors in the United States, don't leave the country.

"Y est-ce deux dés?"

"A brilliant French song from the 1960s about life in one of France's former colonies."

Yes, really brilliant. If you're impatient, be patient... and know that the fun starts at 0:59.

(Via Metafilter.)

"Egyptians have a long history as the region's funny men."

"In many other Arab countries, Egyptians are known as 'ibn nukta,' or 'the son of jokes.' The sheer number of jokes from Egypt reveals the importance of humor in daily life...."
But has [Bassem] Youssef taken it too far?

Cliff jumpers.

"A growing bloc of emboldened liberals say they’re not afraid to watch defense spending get gouged and taxes go up on every American if a budget deal doesn’t satisfy their priorities."
Here’s what these progressives fear: an agreement that keeps lower tax rates for the wealthy, hits the social safety net with unpalatable cuts and leaves Pentagon spending unscathed. In other words, they’d rather walk the country off the cliff than watch President Barack Obama cave on long-held liberal priorities.

The "all-star" iteration of "Dancing with the Stars" ends up with a no star finale.

Have you heard of Shawn Johnson, Kelly Monaco, and Melissa Rycroft?

"Young adults are earning college degrees at a record rate. Why?"

Headline at the Christian Science Monitor.

Good question. Why? Doing what you're told? Nothing better to do? Putting off the time when the consequences of your decisions become apparent? High self-esteem leading you to think you're the exception to the trend? Being part of the trend, going where everyone else is going?

"Holiday music is often the domain of musicians who do the bare minimum."

"Available shortcuts abound: So many standards reside in the public domain, the arrangements write themselves, and expectations for the work as a whole generally hover somewhere in the neighborhood of 'This could be nice, I suppose.'"

The exception, NPR tells us, is Sufjan Stevens. Lots of streamable Christmasables over there, so you can check that assertion. I'm dubious, but I stopped 10 seconds into "Silent Night," the first song.

What are you listening to or singing these days? Christmassmedia or something else?

(If you're buying anything, enter through the Althouse portal to Amazon to send me some holiday cheer... as I sit here in the predawn, in a room lit only by the computer screen. I will type on and on whether you acknowledge me Amazonishly or not, but I do appreciate the cybergesture.)

"Smoking 'rots' brain, says King's College study."

Says the BBC, and maybe my brain is rotted, but I can't find the scientific concept of brain "rot" in the article or any justification for using it here. It seems like goofball sensationalism to me. Smoking has well-known health risks that are "significantly associated with cognitive decline." Okay, but is the brain rotting?

Maybe I'm just not getting the British. I know these characters use the noun "rot" to mean bullshit. Here's the Oxford English dictionary definition #5:
slang. Ridiculous or nonsensical talk or ideas; nonsense, rubbish. Also: pointless or fatuous activity. Also as int. Cf. tommy-rot n. at Tommy n.1 Compounds 2.

1846 Punch 10 136/2 Peel and Potato-blight defy To make him hold his tongue, or try To talk aught else but ‘rot’!
1857 T. Hughes Tom Brown's School Days i. vi. 138 Let's stick to him, and talk no more rot.
1879 M. E. Braddon Cloven Foot iv. 96, I thought he despised ballet-dancing. Yet this is the third time I have seen him looking on at this rot.
1889 tr. R. Shilleto New Triposes in C. Whibley In Cap & Gown 228 Your Natural-rot, your Moral-bosh.
1894 G. Moore Esther Waters xxxix. 302 All bloody rot; who says I'm drunk?
1914 G. B. Shaw Fanny's First Play 158, I quite agree that harlequinades are rot.
a1953 E. O'Neill Long Day's Journey (1956) i. 35 It's damned rot! I'd like to see anyone influence Edmund more than he wants to be.
1977 C. McCullough Thorn Birds ii. 36 ‘What if it isn't the Eyetie girl?’.. ‘Rot!’ said Paddy scornfully.
1990 R. Clay Only Angels Forget vi. 78, I insisted on a church wedding. Mother said, ‘What rot, Isobel, you don't believe in any of that’, which was true but irrelevant.
2004 A. Hollinghurst Line of Beauty iii. 78 He talked a lot of rot at dinner on... the coloured question.
‘Rot!’ say I scornfully. It's the mark of bad writing to bolster your saids with adverbs, I say scornfully, brain-rottedly. Now, where are my cigarettes?

November 25, 2012

Lake and Lab...

... 5 minutes of...

(Here's the "Chuckit" ball launcher used to give young Zeus a workout.)

"Thinking about buying a house? Or a municipal bond? Be careful where you put your capital."

"Don’t put it in a state at high risk of a fiscal tailspin." There are 11 states on the "death spiral" list, beginning with California, New York, Illinois and Ohio.

"But I've often had the feeling that the existential dilemma is a very subjective matter..."

"... entirely depending upon the individual and the circumstances of his life, and that we 'Western intellectuals' with our wrenched and tormented psyches have often imposed the need to find a purpose which may be in the end only an exercise in masochism," wrote William Styron in a letter to his daughter.
A fisherman in the Arabian Gulf finds purpose in life by fishing, a Wyoming shepherder by tending his sheep and remaining close to Nature that big sky. On a somewhat higher level intellectually; a person like James Joyce, a profoundly pessimistic man at bottom, could find reason and purpose through these moments of termed "epiphanies," — instances of intense revelation (through love, or a glimpse of transcendental beauty in the natural world) which gave such a sense of joy and self-realization that they justified and, in effect, ratified the existence of him who experienced them. In other words, the existential anguish becomes undone; through moments of aesthetic and spiritual fulfillment we find the very reason for existence.
Styron suffered from depression and stopped writing novels in the last 27 years of his life. The passage above is from a new collection of letters. His nonfiction account of suicidal depression is "Darkness Visible."

The letter above goes on to talk about his great novel "The Confessions of Nat Turner." He says:
The creative act in art often approaches this, but it can work on humbler levels as well. If you'll pardon my pointing to my own work, I think I tried to render this quality of revelation — "epiphany" in a part of Nat Turner. I'm thinking of the passage beginning on p. 119 of the Random House edition (you may want to re-read it) where Nat as a little boy is waiting on the table during a spring evening and experiences the combined ecstasy of (a) being alive and healthy in the springtime, (b) being appreciated as a human being, and (c) being given some marvelous unspoken promise about the future. For him at this moment all these things were enough. Existence and its joys justify everything and remain sufficient.
That reminds me of the the Dostoevsky quote we've loved so much we have a button:

"Munchausen by internet can be bad for your health forum."

So how do you smoke these fakers out?

Via Metafilter, where they are "the hipsters of detecting false Internet illness claims. We did it before it was cool."

At the Coldwater Café...


... you can get what you want.



And if you're getting what you want at Amazon, please enter through this link. (That link is always at the top of the page, under the blog's title: click "Shop Amazon.")

"Now that legal pot is here, will cigarette companies dust off their old plans for mass commercialization?"

NPR explores the coming of legal marijuana:
In the '70s... "there were high-level conversations about adding marijuana to tobacco, creating a line of marijuana cigarettes, and being ready to jump in and market this."

As recently as 1993, when it looked like France was poised to legalize marijuana, Philip Morris trademarked the name "Marley." But when the estate of Bob Marley complained, the company claimed it had nothing to do with the reggae singer.

"Philip Morris said, 'No no, it could be any kind of Marley,... like Jacob Marley, the cheap, cantankerous teetotaler from A Christmas Carol.'"...
Want legal marijuana? Write to the President: