February 16, 2013

"I met him at the candy store./He turned around and smiled at me."

"You get the picture?/Yes, we see."

At the Black-and-White Café...


... opposites attract.


"Isn’t it odd that the true enemy of society turns out to be that guy in the office down the hall?"

John Hawks extracts a juicy bit from that NYT article about the anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon.

Hawks (who's a paleoathropologist) also has nice closeup of a museum reconstruction of Homo erectus (who seems to be an unusually nice person with lovely skin).

And: A story about a monkey midwife:
I think this is cool not because it shows that monkeys need midwives (they don't) but because it shows that the behavioral flexibility that may have enabled midwifery in early humans is very extensive among primates. A delicious placental incentive may seem inventive, but humans are mystifyingly strange in being among the few mammals who don't regularly consume the placenta after birth.
Note: don't regularly. Not: don't ever. I have Googled it. I know what people do.

Purchase of the day.

From the February 15, 2013 Amazon Associates Earnings Report:

"Dog in Charge" [Hardcover] K. L. Going (Author), Dan Santat (Illustrator) (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.02)

... and 79 other items purchased — at no additional cost to the buyers. Commerce!

Somehow... the 4-year-old child of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie...

... looks like a miniature Meat Loaf.

"We might have welcomed him, except for one thing — his pants."

An old Levis ad I ran across by chance. I was playing "Adore," by Prince, intentionally, and when it ended, the next song in alphabetical order came on. It was "Adult Kindergarten," from this "Best of Word Jazz" album, and I went looking for it. The Levis ad, it turns out, is based on another track on that album called "Flibberty Jib." Which isn't about pants.

The State of the Union "has turned into a childish spectacle."

"I don’t want to be there to lend dignity to it," said Justice Scalia.

"Costa Rica was described as 'the poorest and most miserable Spanish colony in all America' by a Spanish governor in 1719."

This occurred because Costa Rica was all the way south in the Captaincy General of Guatemala and forbidden to trade with the Viceroyalty of New Granada (to its south), and it lacked gold and silver and an indigenous population to do forced labor. In the long run — if I am to believe the presentation on the Wikipedia "History of Costa Rica" page — this all worked out for the best:
... Costa Rica was by and large unappreciated and overlooked by the Spanish Crown and left to develop on its own. The small landowners' relative poverty, the lack of a large indigenous labor force, the population's ethnic and linguistic homogeneity, and Costa Rica's isolation from the Spanish colonial centers in Mexico and the Andes all contributed to the development of an autonomous and individualistic agrarian society. Even the Governor had to farm his own crops and tend to his own garden due to the poverty that he lived in. An egalitarian tradition also arose. Costa Rica became a "rural democracy" with no oppressed mestizo or indigenous class.
(In the "History of" project on this blog, we're going through the Wikipedia "History of" pages for all the 206 countries in the world, in alphabetical order.) 

"If a case of soap is pilfered from a U.S. military base here or pinched from a NATO shipping container, it will probably, sooner or later, end up for sale in the Bush Market..."

"... a sort of thieves’ outlet mall in central Kabul. Named after George W. Bush, the U.S. president who launched the war in Afghanistan, the bazaar has flourished for more than eight years, thanks to the long presence of foreign troops that provided war booty aplenty. But in the Obama era, with its steady withdrawal of U.S. forces, the good times are ending in the sprawling hive of vendors who hawk mountains of Pop-Tarts and enough Head and Shoulders shampoo to combat the dandruff of untold army divisions."

"'Rate shock' is the new 'death panels.'"

"They’ve chosen these words very carefully to scare people. It’s the ideal term for what is, at its core, a fear-based campaign."

"We felt that it was important for people to know that there was more to the narrative of Reeva than an exceptionally beautiful girl in a bikini."

"... that she was strong and vibrant and funny and lovely and that this is a tragedy on an unspeakable level."
Reeva's cousin, Sharon Steenkamp, told the Associated Press news agency the family did not oppose the airing, saying: "Her last words to us personally was that she wants us to watch it."
"It" is a TV realty show called "Tropika Island of Treasure." Reeva Steenkamp is the woman Oscar Pistorius is accused of murdering.

Good King Herod.

"It was probably very difficult being a local ruler caught between the Roman Empire and the different exigencies of Judaism, but he did it very well. In his time there was prosperity and work for everyone."

"In 1959 Fred Astaire hired renowned makeup artist John Chambers to work on his television special, Another Evening with Fred Astaire."

"The assignment? Turn Fred Astaire into Alfred E. Neuman. The results were predictably strange."

As they say... The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

I can't imagine such a long dance routine on network TV, even with a visual gag. I can't imagine a visual gag going on and on like that. People must have been so much more patient back then. Or much more in love with the idea of themselves as appreciating elevated culture. And yet it was not so elevated, what with the Alfred E. Neuman gag.

And that deadly modern dance. The woman swanning around while men in tuxedos behaved as if they were a single entity and that entity was a pulsating sexual organ. And all in such exquisite taste! Then Neuman/Astaire performs alone, lasts longer than all the rest of them, but in the end, he too loses his erection.

Moral: The ugliest guy might be the best performer.

Did I get that right?

"No, it was not the asteroid that hit Russia. I got so many people saying, 'Rush, the asteroid, it didn't just come close, it actually hit!'"

"No, no, no, no, it was a meteorite.  It was a meteorite and it was very cool.  You ought to see the video of that thing....  But they're now speculating, folks, that the meteor might have been connected to the asteroid, might have broken off of the asteroid and then came down.  That asteroid is gonna get fairly close, not gonna hit us, of course, but the meteorite did and of course that means the reporters can say that the meteorite hit us because of global warming. The asteroid is out there because of global warming.  CNN told us that, so that's how we know that."

If you're going to mock CNN for seeming to connect an asteroid with global warming, Rush, you ought to be sharper about science. Now, go look up the difference between an asteroid and a meteorite. If the asteroid had come down it would have been a meteorite. (But that asteroid was not that meteorite.)

ADDED: Here's my earlier criticism of Rush's mocking the CNN person.

"Somewhere, someone needs to create a 'Ridiculous Legal Document Hall of Fame.'"

"It would proudly house the contract visitors have to sign to enter Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. And it would feature the $416 million lawsuit filed against Michael Jordan in 2006 by an old man who complained that he suffered harassment because he looked too much like the basketball star (despite being six inches shorter). Last week, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley produced a legal document so preposterous it would warrant its own wing. Bradley's recusal from a state Judicial Commission case against fellow Justice David Prosser is a nakedly partisan hit job."

Opines Christian Schneider in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (Read the whole thing.)

"With Gov. Scott Walker hinting that he may move to end the city's longtime residency rule for public employees..."

"... Mayor Tom Barrett went on the offensive Friday, saying he's certain property values would drop if the requirement goes away."
"People in [the southwest and northwest sides] of the city are concerned about their property values," Barrett said. "They should remember when their property values go down that it was Governor Walker who did that to them if he proposes this. I'm still hoping he doesn't propose this."
Isn't that the wrong reason for requiring residency? You want to use people — deny them free choice — in order to bolster the real estate market? I can see not wanting the city to hollow out as people escape to the suburbs. You don't want Milwaukee to turn into Detroit, but what about the real people who work for the city? If they want to live too far out in the suburbs, their only option is to give up their jobs?

Note the big effect on who teaches the schoolchildren of Milwaukee. And then one of the reasons you might not want to live in Milwaukee is that you don't think the schools are good enough. A vicious circle there, no?

From the comments at the link:
I am considering moving out of Milwaukee. I own a $200,000 house and my taxes are almost as much as my mortgage. How can you even consider making someone pay almost $7K year for a $200k house and I can't even send my kids to the public schools. Don't even get me started on crime.... clean up the city and you won't have to hold employees hostage!
On the other side, also from the comments:
If you draw a city paycheck, the city has every right to require you to contribute to the local tax base by living there. If that's simply too much to bear, there are other places to work. No one is forcing anyone to work for the city of Milwaukee.

The Olympics have cut wrestling, and one young man grapples with disappointment.

Kyle Snyder, 17, "a 5-foot-11, 215-pound marble slab of an athlete — undefeated in his high school career, and the top-ranked prep wrestler in the country at his weight class."
“I just grew an overwhelmingly powerful love of wrestling, and it was all I could think about,” Snyder said. “I didn’t want to be out on the football field. I wanted to be getting better at wrestling. I think I have an addictive personality, and when I fall in love with something I keep thinking about it and thinking about it.”

“Wrestling is his calling,” said Snyder’s coach.... “He probably spends 80 to 90 percent of every waking hour thinking about wrestling.”
Sad that they took wrestling out of the Olympics... and it's also sad that a determined, competitive kid like this has absorbed a message from modern American culture that extraordinary concentration and dedication is a mental disorder.

I think I have an addictive personality....

How did a 17-year-old American learn to talk about himself like that? Is it a disarming faux-modesty that he's developed so that other kids don't lose their self-esteem (like they could do as well if they were weird enough to spend all their time on one thing)? Or does he genuinely think of himself as deranged and analogous to a junkie? Shouldn't a successful high school athlete be regarded as someone to be emulated by other kids (and not a bizarre outlier to be observed for entertainment's sake but disregarded as any kind of example of how to live)?

Here's some discussion of what psychiatric experts consider to be the characteristics of an addictive personality:
- Impulsive behavior, difficulty in delaying gratification, an antisocial personality and a disposition toward sensation seeking.

- A high value on nonconformity combined with a weak commitment to the goals for achievement valued by the society.

- A sense of social alienation and a general tolerance for deviance.

- A sense of heightened stress.
This isn't at all the same thing as exceptional dedication.

I'm not knocking Snyder. He's 17 and a great achiever. I'm knocking the culture that got a message through to his still-developing mind.

"A cruise ship’s passenger log is comprised entirely of the exact demographic that is least prepared for a cruise to go to pot."

"A cruise is a giant boat full of your mother-in-law. Your mother-in-law does not belong in the wild."

So writes Monica Hesse in the Washington Post, where I guess mother-in-law jokes are okay. (What is it, the 1950s?) Oddly, Hesse is also claiming to love cruises. And she prefaces her disparagement of older women with "I say fondly."

Attacking the aggressive Ted Cruz when Liz Warren simultaneously hits the Senate in full aggression mode.

Big Media is hot to wreck Ted Cruz. Here's the NYT piece: "Texas Senator Goes on Attack and Raises Bipartisan Hackles." Oh? Bipartisan has hackles? Well, then I guess those bipartisan hackles are also raised by Elizabeth Warren. Here's HuffPo: "Elizabeth Warren's Aggressive Questioning Prompts Anger From Wall Street."

The NYT forefronts this quote from Barbara Boxer:
“It was really reminiscent of a different time and place, when you said, ‘I have here in my pocket a speech you made on such and such a date,’ and, of course, nothing was in the pocket,” she said, a reference to Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s pursuit of Communists in the 1950s. “It was reminiscent of some bad times.”
Boxer didn't name names, but the NYT wants us to know that referred to Cruz, but why not Warren too? Because the NYT wouldn't have structured its rhetoric that way if it had known that a new Senator from the Democratic Party was going to go into attack dog mode the day they published the piece?
In just two months, Mr. Cruz, 42, has made his presence felt in an institution where new arrivals are usually not heard from for months, if not years....

In a body known for comity, Mr. Cruz is taking confrontational... sensibilities to new heights...
Ha ha ha. Cruz, that clod, doesn't know the comity tradition. Meanwhile, here comes the brilliant Harvard lawprof, and she's not meekly conforming to the be-seen-and-not-heard routine. So how are those hackles doing now — those bipartisan hackles — raised... or lying flat and flobby?

Hackles? More like hacks.

February 15, 2013

At the A-to-Z Café...

... we've got Abby and Zeus.

(Abby is a St. Bernard puppy, and Zeus is a 6-year-old Lab. They belong to different neighbors, and we were taking care of them as they got together for the first time.)

"LGBT Percentage Highest in D.C., Lowest in North Dakota."

"All states are within 2 percentage points of the overall national average of 3.5%."

A Gallup poll, with the question asking how "you, personally, identify," so there could be regional variation in how likely people are to "identify" — as opposed to actually be — L, G, B, or T.

"College basketball 'brutal to watch,' needs a major overhaul as scoring dips to historic lows."

"There is little running the court, or soaring through the air, or crisscrossing through the lane, all the things that make this such a beautiful game."
"Our game is brutal to watch right now," said Jay Bilas, an analyst for ESPN.... "It’s organized fouling... The referees feel like they can’t call it all, and they don’t call it all. The result is we’re having wrestling matches instead of basketball games. It doesn’t take long, if you’re really watching, to see what’s happening and say, 'Oh my god, this is awful.'
"These games are ridiculous.... the amount of contact that’s allowed — the hand-checking, the arm bars, the dead-on pushing, the body checks on the shooter, the contact after the shot is released. Guys are getting knocked down and it’s not called."
Whenever I try to watch basketball, what I can't stand is the way the game is constantly stopped for fouls. Bilas is saying to stop it more frequently? Is the question whether the players are getting brutalized or whether people don't want to watch anymore? Or is Bilas saying the players getting brutalized is a problem if that's why people aren't watching anymore?

Purchase of the day.

From the February 14, 2013 Amazon Associates Earnings Report:

"Bats - Creatures of the Night" (All Aboard Reading: Level 2: Grades 1-3) [Paperback] Joyce Milton (Author) (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $0.60)

(image from Wikimedia Commons)

... and 55 other items purchased — at no additional cost to the buyers — that all together put a lovely smile on the blogger's beautiful face.  Many thanks!

In 1491, King Nzinga a Nkuwu was baptized as the first Christian Kongolese king João I.

This happened after Captain Diogo Cão — on a mission from  King John II of Portugal — discovered the mouth of the Congo River and the Kingdom of Kongo and found the local nobility amenable to Christianity. Today, this place is called the Republic of the Congo, and it is today's "History of" country.

"Officials said a woman in a Muslim veil had taken the girl out of class..."

"... while posing as her mother, who wears the chador and niqab."
Philadelphia police have arrested the alleged kidnapper of a five-year-old girl whose report of a talking bird helped lead them to the suspect....

Police say the victim was brought to a nearby home where a man was waiting.... The girl was found 18 hours later at a nearby park, shivering and wearing only a t-shirt. She told her rescuer: "I've been stolen."
In this story, we see 2 distinctive risks. The real mother, by wearing a veil, created an opportunity for a villain to impersonate her. The villain, by keeping a talking bird, created an opportunity for a tiny child to track her down.

Woman writing lengthily for The Atlantic doesn't seem to know the word "underpants."

Sarah Fentem goes on at bizarre length about how much she dislikes the word "panties." After extensive blah blah blah, she gets to this:
So what word could be used instead? Personally, I've always just called my bottom unmentionables "underwear." My sister, though, disagrees. "Underwear" is no dice, she says, because women have two types of underwear (bras and panties)—and how will you know which ones are being referred to?

Another friend of mine has suggested the terms "top undies" and "bottom undies," but I don't see that particular strategy catching on, either....

It's well-documented that women are ahead of the curve when it comes to linguistic ingenuity....
Oh, yeah, women... they're so verbally proficient that they don't know the word "underpants."

"I was 26 when the war ended... That was considered too old for marriage, in those times."

"I did not want to marry a bad, older man, and no single men came to me.... I was afraid to die alone.... I wanted someone to lean on in my old age. I wanted a child of my own."

"Obama to spend long holiday weekend in Florida — without Michelle..."

Says Drudge, collecting a set of teasers under what seems to be a very old picture of Michelle and Barack (as if to say, they were in love once but not anymore):

Those 2 go on plenty of vacations together, and now, he wants to golf and she doesn't have anything she likes doing in Florida. And she likes to ski. She's going to Aspen. This seems perfectly fine to me.

Should your spouse travel without you when he/she loves a sport that you don't care about?
pollcode.com free polls 

"Maybe I’ve been spoiled, but I feel like if this happened at Harvard Law School, a guy like Charles Nesson would be all over the opportunity..."

"... to just hop in, teach from the hip, and turn this upheaval into a Con Law experience like no other. Doesn’t Columbia Law have one professor like that? Doesn’t Columbia have any professors who want to teach just because interacting with young people and shaping minds about constitutional theory is kind of fun?"

Doesn’t Columbia even have any professors who at least want to send the message that lawprofs teach because interacting with young people and shaping minds about constitutional theory is kind of fun?

It's also interesting that at Columbia, a law professor is missing classes because she's going through a divorce. Back in the 1980s, when my first marriage broke up, it happened to coincide with a research grant that gave me a full semester off to write. I've always believed it would have been much better to have had classes to give some structure to those days.

Meanwhile, Instapundit links to Steven Bainbridge who talks about Columbia's solution of lumping 200 students together in one big class. What's the big deal if the teacher is lecturing, which, per Bainbridge, is a good idea anyway.

I suspect the students would have a few questions like: Why am I paying so much tuition if all I'm getting is something I could be watching on the Internet? And why are you paid so much money to lecture in person in front of people who could just as well be watching video of whoever is the very best lawprof lecturer on this subject?

About those 4,200 cruise ship passengers...

Do they all imagine they are media stars now? Do we have to hear from each and every one about what they did with their precious bodily fluids?
“It just feels so good to be on land again and to feel like I have options,” said Tracey Farmer of Tulsa, Okla. “I’m just ready to see my family. It’s been harder on them than us I think because they’ve been so worried about us. It’s been extremely stressful for them.”
Tracey Farmer — if that really is your name — please go home to Tulsa, Oklahoma. All of you 4,200 people, please melt back into your normal lives in your respective hometowns.

Unless you have a distinctive and grisly detail or a truly idiosyncratic way to describe the mundane, I don't want to hear about it. I don't want to hear how it feels good to be back on dry land, how you care about your family with whom you are at long last reunited, how stressful it all was, and the crushingly obvious fact that shit stinks.

You are all people who went on a cruise in the first place. That's where you made your mistake.

Is it wrong to tweet from the audience at the State of the Union?

Tennessee House Democrat Steve Cohen was only trying to send a private message, but — like your ordinary-citizen reckless idiot — he released it into his public Twitter feed.


But in the modern world, how can people today be expected to sit through a 1-hour speech and not fiddle with their electronic devices? Personally, I would lose my mind.

And by the way, how can all these people — some of them quite old — sit still for 1+ hours? They have to be in their seats in advance and remain there for a while afterwards, so the President can make his big entrance and exit. What percentage of them worried about having to go to the bathroom? How many of them took the precaution of wearing adult diapers? How many of them employed the convenience and relieved themselves?

I don't mean to be rude. I just think it's important to recognize our shared humanity. As Marco Rubio said the other day: "I needed water, what am I going to do? God has a funny way of reminding us we’re human." What about the other end of our hydration-related humanity?

Bob Dylan sang: "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked." And I say: Even the members of the United States Congress sometimes must have to pee.

And tweet.

On the 2nd anniversary of the Wisconsin uprising, "about 100" protesters march up State Street.

"The rally began on Library Mall in the late afternoon, with participants, including a number of UW-Madison students, sporting anti-Walker and pro-union signs."
The protesters made their way down State Street alternately taking up call and response chants. A few supporters joined from the sidewalk before the ralliers ended their march at the Capitol while singing “Solidarity Forever” to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Volunteers in red MTI hats passed out hand-held candles and as darkness set in, people passed lighters to start “The Fire Still Burns Vigil” to represent the protesters’ continued work against Walker. The Capitol steps were quickly engulfed with flickering candles and anti-Walker protest songs.

"Lots of people are opposed to the kind of late-term abortion that preceded the death of a woman in Maryland last week...."

"But everyone should be opposed to the blatantly illegal violation of her privacy and the exploitation of her death by protesters using it to make their point."

Writes Petula Dvorak in the WaPo.

I don't understand the "blatantly illegal" part. Dvorak is only guessing that someone in the clinic leaked the information, so shouldn't "blatantly" be something like "possibly"? Dvorak's opinion goes beyond the question of whether any law was broken. She portrays what happened to the woman as something intensely private that ought to have been mourned within her circle of family and friends and never disclosed to the rest of us, who have various opinions about a matter of important public concern related to this death.

To shift the topic slightly: Remember the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attacks, when we kept hearing — from Hillary Clinton and others — that the primary concern is for the families of the men who died.

I think we need to be a little skeptical when we hear the argument this is private, this is for the families.

What belongs securely in the private realm and what should come out into the public light? Consider the old slogan: The personal is political.

When we hear the statement this is private, we need to test its truth with the opposite proposition: This belongs in the public debate. And consider whether we are looking at something that can be divided up into private and public. We can be respectful to the family, we can avoid using the woman's name and photographs and and so forth, and extract the part of the story that properly belongs in the public debate. Those who demand absolute privacy may have complex motives. They may say: What I care about is the very personal suffering of the victim's family and friends. Why would they give voice to less admirable motivations?

"Oscar Pistorius held his head in his hands and wept openly in court Friday as prosecutors said they would pursue a charge of premeditated murder..."

"Chief Magistrate Desmond Nasir delayed Pistorius' bail hearing until next Tuesday and Wednesday and ruled that the 26-year-old Pistorius would be held at a police station in Pretoria until then. Police have said they oppose the granting of bail."

Is it okay to make politically incorrect jokes about whether he's a flee risk? Are we now released from all the old restrictions of etiquette?

Too bad John Callahan isn't still around to make he won't get far on foot jokes.

Meanwhile, Nike's "I Am The Bullet In The Chamber" ad is shot to hell.

"Rookie golfer suffers Black Widow spider bite during Women’s Australian Open, uses golf tee to remove deadly venom."

"After being informed that a bite from a Black Widow can kill a child in about 30 minutes, Daniela Holmqvist channeled her inner MacGyver and took matters into her own hands."

"Here you go — I left in a seed to give it that fresh-squeezed look."

Says Meade, just now.


"Cruz has taken the wear-their-scorn-as-a-badge-of-honor approach with his liberal critics."

"Behind the scenes, Cruz has rankled even Republican colleagues, who think he lectures too much at private party sessions — 'pontificates' is one word used — and listens too little, especially for a newbie."

WaPo's Ruth Marcus unleashes some classic schoolgirl-style taunting: No one likes you.

ADDED: He pontificates? You mean he's uppity? The liberals need to pre-ruin any people of color on the GOP side. After Marco Rubio's career went down in flames because he drank a glass of water, the appetite for destruction rages. Look! There's another Hispano-Conservo! Get him!

"A meteor streaked through the sky and exploded Friday over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb..."

"... its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring more than 750 people. The spectacle deeply frightened thousands, with some elderly women declaring the world was coming to an end...."

No connection (of course) to the asteroid that we've been talking about which is having a close calls with Earth at a distance of 17,000 miles.

"The White House admitted today that President Obama made no phone calls – none, zero – on the evening of September 11, 2012..."

"... during the seven or eight hours when Americans were being murdered in Benghazi. He didn’t talk to Leon Panetta, or any military personnel, or Hillary Clinton. What was he doing that night? We may never know; perhaps writing the speech that he gave at a campaign event the next day in Las Vegas."

"Wait, I thought people had a 'right to die'..."

"... so why is preventing suicide a reason for gun control? Oh, who am I kidding — at the NYT, anything is a good reason for gun control."

Since most of the gun deaths are suicides, you'd have to throw away your best statistics if you didn't count suicides. But then they never stop to wonder how many of those suicides were people who felt an uncontrollable murderous urge. What if Adam Lanza had only shot himself? We'd never know what horrible plan he'd left unfulfilled.

"Most presidents place faith in action; the modern presidency is perpetual motion."

"Coolidge made a virtue of inaction. 'Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation,' he told his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate. 'It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones,' he wrote to his father as early as 1910. Congress always says, 'Do.' Coolidge replied, 'Do not do,' or, at least, 'Do less.' Whereas other presidents made themselves omnipresent, Coolidge held back. At the time, and subsequently, many have deemed the Coolidge method laziness. Upon examination, however, the inaction reflects strength. In politics as in business, it is often harder, after all, not to do. Coolidge is our great refrainer."

From the new biography "Coolidge," by Amity Shlaes.

Were you, like me, struck by the word "administration" in "Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation"? Did you think there was a missing "the" and have to stop and think? We're so used to the entity called "the Administration" that it's hard to see "administration" as the counterpart to "legislation." Or — more disturbing — our go-to word for what the executive branch is "enforcement."

February 14, 2013

"This photo cements stereotypes, perpetuates an imbalance in the power dynamic, is reminiscent of centuries of colonialism (and indentured servitude)..."

"... and serves as a good example of both creating a centrality of whiteness and using 'exotic' people as fashion props."

The SI swimsuit issue is troubling people again.

"It’s time for me to be mature."

Says the 89-year-old Frank Lautenberg, ceding the stage to Cory Booker.

Hagel nomination blocked... for now.

"The vote was 58 to 40, with one vote of 'present,' falling short of the 60 required to break the Republican filibuster. Members were set to leave for recess on Friday, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said they would vote again on Hagel when they returned, leaving Hagel’s nomination in limbo until then."

"41 states prohibit same-sex marriage. But only 20 of those 41 states have filed briefs in support of the constitutionality of Proposition 8."

"Indiana is the lead party on a brief for 19 states, and Michigan filed a brief of its own."
Compare this level of state participation with, for example, the amicus brief filed by all 49 other states in Maryland v. King (to be argued February 26), in support of Maryland’s argument that a state does not violate the Fourth Amendment by collecting and analyzing the DNA of persons who have been arrested for, but not convicted of, a criminal offense....

It is further significant, I think, that in 12 of those 21 non-filing states, constitutional amendments prevent the recognition of same-sex marriage via the ordinary political process.  All but one of those amendments was ratified from 2002 through 2008, in anticipation that popular majorities might soon support a change in state law... 

Purchase of the day.

From the February 13, 2013 Amazon Associates Earnings Report.

Pentalic Sketch Book, Hardbound, 8-1/2-Inch by 11-Inch by Pentalic (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.10)

 Honorable mentions:

BILT Tornado Waterproof Textile Motorcycle Gloves - 2XL, Black by Bilt (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.20)

Nautica Cologne by Nautica (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.06)

"Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day" [Paperback] Jonathan Bergmann (Author), Aaron Sams (Author) (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.09)

... and 62 other items purchased — at no additional cost to the buyer — that all just seem to keep Althouse... in the mood.

"She comes into the conference room singing. To me, that’s very inconsistent with someone who’s afraid."

Very intra-Wisconsin-Supreme-Court stuff, but there's a judicial election coming up, and some close scrutiny is appropriate.

At the Winter Sun Café...


... it's midday.

"[O]ne of the rare intellectual vocations that do not demand a sacrifice of one’s manhood."

= What Susan Sontag said about anthropology in 1963.

Quoted in a NYT article titled "How Napoleon Chagnon Became Our Most Controversial Anthropologist."

"The New Republic has abandoned its liberal but heterodox tradition and embraced a leftist outlook as predictable as that of Mother Jones or the Nation."

Writes Martin Peretz in the Wall Street Journal. Peretz was editor in chief of The New Republic from 1974 until 2011.
The magazine now seems to live in a space where those "little insurrections of the mind" are unwelcome. It is akin to the atmosphere in many colleges and universities: There are prevailing orthodoxies but they aren't recognized as such. Mr. Obama himself is the main one. The president is an object of fealty at the New Republic in a way that Woodrow Wilson and even Franklin Roosevelt never were.

Ronald Dworkin — a giant among law professors — has died.

He was 81.
His legal arguments were subtly presented applications to specific problems of a classic liberal philosophy which, in turn, was grounded in his belief that law must take its authority from what ordinary people would recognise as moral virtue....
Perhaps Dworkin's greatest achievement was his insistence on a rights-based theory of law, expounded in his first and most influential book, Taking Rights Seriously (1977), in which he proposed an alternative both to Hart's legal positivism and to the newly minted theories of the Harvard philosopher of law John Rawls....

He remained an unapologetic, indeed proud, liberal Democrat, unshaken in his loyalty to the New Deal tradition set by his hero Franklin D Roosevelt, even as such ideas became less and less widely held. It is possible that this shifting of the political centre of gravity under him deprived him of a more prominent career as a public intellectual.
Read the whole thing. Click on the Dworkin tag to see what we were saying about him while he was alive.

When I went to law school beginning in 1978, at NYU — where Dworkin taught — nothing was taken more seriously than "Taking Rights Seriously." That was just before the outburst that was Critical Legal Studies, in a time and a place where we were expected to believe that rights were real. Shame on you if you suspected they were inventions of judges.

"Was the problem that had no name possibly the lack of Wi-Fi?"

Noreen Malone gets a grip on what Betty Friedan — on behalf of suburban women in general — was bellyaching about in "The Feminine Mystique." She's responding to a piece by Emily Bazelon, which we talked about in a long comments thread yesterday. Malone says:
I grew up with a whip-smart mom who stayed at home with us, and so I always approach discussions like these with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, alert to any slights whatsoever against the choices and life mission of someone I so love and admire — even if I don’t plan to make precisely the same ones. But more of it is probably generational. For recession-scarred twentysomethings, staying at home or taking menial jobs is involuntary, but not because social mores dictate that women can’t achieve: It’s because so few of us, regardless of gender, have gotten hired at jobs Friedan might consider fulfilling...

I’m sure Betty wouldn’t be happy to see all the expensively educated young women of Brooklyn, where I live, spending their free time taking floral-arranging classes and knitting and fussily setting up their living rooms just so....
What's so wrong about paying close attention to the details of the beauty of your environment? Fussy... there's a word. When is intense, attentive work deemed fussy? This is a word that has long been used against women and against gay men. Is a person supposed to be interested in something other than what he or she finds interesting? Why? Who says what the proper foci of interest are in this world? Some people are more sensitive to the visual specifics of their environment. It's not as if the people who aren't spend their lives plumbing the meaning of the universe. Perhaps the interior decorator is closer to the core of what truly matters than the corporate lawyer. 

The Multicultural Student Center at the University of Wisconsin shifts from "a focus on cultural diversity to one of social justice."

The University's website reports what it calls a "transformation."
“We’re building on the legacy of this campus,” says [MSC director Donte] Hilliard. “A social justice approach is our interpretation of the Wisconsin Idea. If the borders of the campus are the borders of the state, or the world, the educational access that we get by being here in Wisconsin includes a responsibility to help transform our surroundings into more just, equitable places.”...

"It’s comforting to think, 'If we just fix the race or gender issue, the rest will be fine…' No. Oppressions are linked. We can’t get racial justice but keep destroying the environment. In America, who lives in neighborhoods with the worst environmental problems? Poor people – who are, overwhelmingly, people of color."
(If you don't know what "Wisconsin Idea" refers to — here, it has its own Wikipedia article. It's a tradition going back more than 100 years.)

Still #1.

The 2012 Law Prof Traffic Rankings are out.

(These rankings only cover blogs with displayed Site Meters, and that notably excludes Instapundit, who would otherwise be #1 by a wide margin.)

"The Nine Most Insane Quotes From The NRA’s New Apocalyptic Op-Ed."

Wayne LaPierre opinion piece is translated into He's Crazy! format for safe consumption by the readers of Think Progress, so they can keeping thinking: Progress!

ADDED: I hope Think Progress isn't also flogging the lefty meme that we must not, in our struggle against gun violence, stigmatize the mentally ill. There's a meme-collision here: 1. Don't fear the mentally ill, who are harmless and deserving of empathy, and 2. That man seems like a mentally ill person, so we need to loathe and fear him.

"Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was charged Thursday with the murder of his girlfriend..."

"... who was shot inside his home in South Africa, a stunning development in the life of a national hero known as the Blade Runner for his high-tech artificial legs."
Reeva Steenkamp, a model who spoke out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women, was shot four times in the predawn hours in the house, in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria, police said.
ADDED: Photos of Steenkamp.

AND: Here's an article from last November quoting Pistorius's ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor:
“Oscar is certainly not what people think he is. We dated for a year and a half”....

... Taylor first said she was “prepared to reveal what (Pistorius) made me go through,” but in a lawyer’s letter late on Friday evening she withdrew everything she had said.

February 13, 2013

At the Flipped Ear Café...


... there's disarray, but only so very slight.

"It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment."

That's today's sentence from "The Great Gatsby." What do you think? Talk about it, would you? I'll help you out, by cheating on the usual rules (which require us to look at one sentence in isolation). Here's the sentence just before that one:
Or perhaps I had merely grown used to it, grown to accept West Egg as a world complete in itself, with its own standards and its own great figures, second to nothing because it had no consciousness of being so, and now I was looking at it again, through Daisy’s eyes.
Perspectives! Keep shifting them!

What have you looked at in a new way today — forced, somehow, after having already expended your powers of adjustment? The Wisconsin Supreme Court? The holes in the macaroni noodles? The Belgians? Women's magazines? The slug's penis? Black food? A glass of frackingwater? Charred human remains? An 89-year-old Senator? A humanizing glass of water? The toilet?

"Our court needs to address and solve its workplace safety issue."

"If nothing is done, I wonder what will happen next in this escalating pattern of abusive behavior."

Escalating? What has happened since June 2011 in the allegedly abusive workplace that is the Wisconsin Supreme Court?
To this day, the Chief Justice and I continue to lock ourselves inside our private offices when working alone because of concerns for our physical safety due to Justice Prosser’s behavior.
That speaks to the state of mind of the Justices who are locking their doors, but what is the ongoing reality? If nothing more has happened, isn't it time now to de-escalate the drama?
It was reported recently that when asked about how the court is operating, Justice Roggensack responded ‘We are doing just fine’ and that ‘we are working very well together.
Coincidentally, Justice Roggensack is up for reelection:
A Feb. 19 primary will pare the race to two candidates. The general election is April 2.

Okay, I'm over here now.


Say what you will.

"Trypophobia... is an irrational fear of holes, pods or cracks — specifically, clusters of them."

"On Instagram and Reddit, people share photographs of clusters that make them anxious, obsessed and even nauseated."
Many images show holey foods or clusters of seeds, like aerated chocolates, the innards of a red bell pepper, and bubbles rising up in pancakes while they cook.

"I don't like the holes in crumpets or sponges or Swiss cheese," @CourtneySGray said on Twitter. "They all make me shudder and panic."

The trypophobia Facebook page touts nearly 7,000 followers, who commiserate on their "condition" and triggers. "When macaroni noodles stand up straight when I'm boiling them, I wanna cry," Kelcey Piper remarked on Facebook. "Anyone else experienced this?"
The amazing thing is, the link goes to NPR, where there's no mention whatsoever of Sigmund Freud. How radically our culture has changed in the last 30 years!

"The Congo Free State was a corporate state privately controlled by Leopold II, King of the Belgians...."

"Under Leopold II's administration, the Congo Free State became the site of one of the most infamous international scandals of the turn of the twentieth century. The report of the British Consul Roger Casement led to the arrest and punishment of white officials who had been responsible for cold-blooded killings during a rubber-collecting expedition in 1903, including one Belgian national for causing the shooting of at least 122 Congolese natives. Estimates of the total death toll vary considerably. In the absence of a census, the first was made in 1924, it is even more difficult to quantify the population loss of the period. Roger Casement's famous 1904 report estimated ten million people. According to Casement's report, indiscriminate 'war,' starvation, reduction of births and tropical diseases caused the country's depopulation."

The Congo Free State included all of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is our "History of" country today.

"My name is Emily Bazelon. I’m a feminist. I’ve never read Betty Friedan’s book—until now."

Says Emily Bazelon (on the occasion of the 50-year anniversary of "The Feminine Mystique").

I'd never read the book myself until recently. My reason for not reading it was that I'd regarded it as something that addressed the troubles of my parents' generation. I went to college in 1969, when everyone was reading "Sexual Politics" and "The Female Eunuch." "The Feminine Mystique" seemed really old fashioned — about June Cleaver and her cohort.

Here's Bazelon:
[W]hat hit me was Betty’s howl of frustration. It’s primal, and you feel its desperate force on almost every page. God, did she feel trapped among the slipcovers of the suburbs and in the pages of the women’s magazines she wrote for, where big ideas and questions were entirely unwelcome. The only way to escape was to pulverize the image of the Happy Housewife Heroine who is the title of Chapter 2. Betty’s fiercest critique in this book is of the “mistaken choice” she thinks traditional gender roles forced middle-class women and their husbands to make....
What made me dislike the book — when I finally read it — was that Freidan was not in the role of the housewives she purported to understand so well. She was in the role of writing for women's magazines. She didn't like the limited topics that were the stuff of that kind of magazine. She makes an assumption that women who buy a magazine are only interested in the topics covered by that magazine. But that's absurd! If you bought a magazine about cooking/childcare/fashion, that wouldn't mean you aren't interested in politics or science or whatever else is supposed to be more important. You might have other magazines — or books — for that.

Why the assumption? It might be frustrating for a journalist who's interested in politics to crank out material about topics she doesn't care about, but it was wrong to project those frustrations onto the unknown women who bought the magazines for their own purposes and used the information in those magazines in their individual private lives — perhaps to make a nice dinner efficiently so there would be time to read a good book in the extra time one can make in a day when you don't have a job. The notion that A Job belongs at the center of everyone's life is a huge scam, and the blithe rejection of the 1-earner marriage was an amazing, tragic shift in American culture. The equality of women — the ambition and the fulfilment of women — did not demand that we all get a job.

Disposable penis...

... amazes scientists.

Urban Dictionary Urban Word of the Day: "Too pooped to Pope."

434 up, 249 down.

Purchase of the day.

February 12, 2013.

Uno 40th Anniversary Edition Card Game (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.01)

Honorable mentions:

Procurve 2910AL-48G Switch (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $25.00)

Procurve 2910AL-48G-POE Switch (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $25.00)

Maxi-Matic EPM-450 Elite Tabletop Old-Fashioned 4-Ounce Kettle Popcorn Popper Machine (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $10.40)

South Of France - Twin Pack, French Milled Vegetable Soap - Lavender, 4.25-Ounces Bars (Pack of 3) (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.10)

... and 64 other items purchased — at no additional cost to the buyer — that monetize the sentiment, "Althouse: what a blog!"

"When Sad, Single People Get Together And Eat Only Black Food."

"Black Day" — in Korea, where "there are roughly 13 holidays devoted to love."

A State of the Union quiz.

Did Obama ever intone the standard phrase "The state of the Union is..." and if so, what word followed "is"? (There's a hint in the tags.)

Have a ritualistic sip of fracking fluid with Governor Hickenlooper.

"You can drink it. We did drink it around the table, almost rituallike, in a funny way. It was a demonstration.... they’ve invested millions of dollars in what is a benign fluid in every sense."

(Maybe it will help if you ever get the Hickenloop-ups.)

Yes, but there's a right way and a wrong way, and George Bush and Nancy Pelosi demonstrate the right way.

"What's the Big Deal? Everyone Gets Thirsty/Rubio Is Not Alone"... A photo-gallery of 10 politicians drinking water.

At the Big Paw Café...


... there's a warm corner where you can stretch out.


"Some people just can’t cope with failure. They lack resourcefulness and are psychologically fragile."

"Then their dreams of glory come crashing down and... 'charred human remains.'"

Robert Stacy McCain, seeing the pun in "charred human remains."

"What America needs is not Robin Hood but Adam Smith."

Rand Paul delivers the SOTU response from the Tea Party.

Chuck Schumer tells Cory Booker: "Frank deserves the time and respect to make his own decisions."

Let the 89-year-old Senator Frank R. Lautenberg decide when it's time to yield to the younger generation, the Dems are saying to the 43-year-old Newark mayor. They're saying that publicly anyway. I'm sure nobody wants to get caught showing any disrespect for the the old man, despite the absurdity of his intransigency. Privately, they must be dying for him to go.

"Who are we eating tonight?"

"You’re eating New Jersey and I’m eating Abe Lincoln."

"I needed water, what am I going to do? God has a funny way of reminding us we’re human."

"My mouth got dry, and I had to get some water... You know, when you give a speech on a podium and the water is right there — but when you don’t, you start looking around thinking, ‘Where am I going to get the water?’ I figured I was better off just taking that water and taking the hit for it then being unable to pronounce my words. It’d been a long day at work, we’d already done an 18-minute recording in Spanish — and you know, my mouth got dry, what can I say? But I was happy overall with what we were able to deliver."

Rubio had an opportunity last night, responding to the SOTU, and he's got a new opportunity this morning. The most interesting thing — and this is our humanity showing through too — is that he needed water. That was more interesting than his speech and even more interesting than Obama's big, long speech we'd just endured. Something real happened! Spontaneity! We all identify. I love the look on his face as he glances at the camera while drinking:

I read the look to say: Oh, no! Is this going to ruin my political career?! This! A little sip of water?! Meanwhile, it's a big win for Poland Spring in the tiny bottle form. That was a hell of a product endorsement. You can't buy product placement like that.

Rubio and Rubio supporters can make taking a drink from a little water bottle into a thing. It's such an innocent and pure foible, needing a drink of water. It's a nice meme for him. Humanizing. Wholesome. Downside is: Too much plastic waste. So recycle. The best way to deal with the bottles is to refill them with tap water. And the best way to deal with a goof like that is to refill it with humor (and branding).

ADDED: You know, it was pre-recorded. They could have done another recording if they'd wanted to.

What's the most likely reason why they didn't do another recording?
pollcode.com free polls 

Matt Damon pledges not to go to the bathroom...

... until there is a toilet for everyone in the world:

February 12, 2013

At the Big Puppy Café...


... you can talk all night.

Rubio's SOTU response.

Full text here.

Desperate water-drinking move got my attention more than anything else. He had to dart off camera to get a little bottle and then quickly gulp. That was awkward. I also noticed:
So Mr. President, I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.

"A charred body has been found in a burned-out cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains..."

"... where Christopher J. Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer, was thought to have sought refuge during a shootout with police officers on Tuesday...."

I'm glad that's over, but I don't understand why so much attention was paid to this story. We need to stop making major celebrities out of criminals. It's disgusting. And dangerous.

State of the Union.

Talk about it here. The Supreme Court Justices: Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan are all there. No Scalia, Thomas, or Alito.

1. Obama's voice seems strange. Here's the full text of the speech, by the way. You don't really need to sit through all of this.

2. "So let’s set party interests aside..."

3. "[D]eficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts."

4. "A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than one million new jobs. I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda, and I urge this Congress to pass the rest." That gets a huge laugh from Biden, and we laugh a lot at Biden laughing so much.

5. "After shedding jobs for more than 10 years... " I say: "Shedding? Maybe we should go back to the dog show." (I've got the SOTU and the Westminster Dog Show recording on the DVR. We can go where we want. I love that Tibetan Mastiff!)

6. Climate change. "Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late." What?! What is the overwhelming judgment of science? He merely gave the impression of making an assertion. That's not the attitude of science.

7. "I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years." There's a modest goal. Why not cut all waste?

8. "Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago." Closeup on Biden, who looks elderly.

9. We should do "more to encourage fatherhood – because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one."

10. "And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over."

11. Closeup on John Kerry. I say: "He looks different." Meade says he had plastic surgery.

12. "Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment..." support all sorts of gun control. "[I]n the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun."

13. "But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity, and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government."

14. Biggest cheer of the night: a 102-year-old lady who waited in line 6 hours to vote.

15. Weirdly, there's no cheering at all after the description of the police officer at the Sikh temple shooting, Brian Murphy, who who kept fighting "even as he lay bleeding from twelve bullet wounds. When asked how he did that, Brian said, 'That’s just the way we’re made.'" That was the last anecdote of the night.

16. "Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."

After beginning its new design era with an Adorable Obama cover...

... which looked like this, The New Republic comes out with its next issue, addressing the subject of "The Republicans" ("The Party of White People"), and it looks like this:


That came in the mail today. Yes, I've subscribed. The toy robot is there to cover up my address label. And yes, I understand the reference to "The Beatles" (i.e., The White Album).

The morning ice walk.

Are we really doing this?


Rest time for one, snow-eating time for the other.


"Coca-Cola drinking 'linked to New Zealander's death.'"

Ridiculous headline about a woman who drank 10 liters of Coke every day:
The mother of eight... had developed an addiction to Coca-Cola and would get withdrawal symptoms, including "the shakes", if she went without her favourite drink.

She drank Coke throughout her waking hours and her teeth had been removed because of decay.

The fact that one or more of her children were born without enamel on their teeth should have been treated by her, and by her family, as a warning.”
This has nothing to do with Coke as a product. We're talking about someone who consumed 2.2 pounds of sugar and 970 mg of caffeine every day. And the equivalent of 35 8-oz. glasses of liquid. (I'm saying "equivalent" because I don't picture her pouring the stuff into a glass.) This is not the kind of problem that can be solved with tort suits and warning labels.

But Coke is defending itself against this bad publicity. Have you seen this ad?

I love the extremely tactful voiceover which — la la la la — goes on and on and on just to say one very obvious thing to the almost-too-stupid-to-live crowd: It's not just calories that you eat that will make you fat if you don't burn them off — calories that you drink are real too.

Purchase of the day.

February 11, 2013. Stink Free Hardfloor Pet Stain & Odor Remover by Stink Free (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $0.97)

Honorable mentions:

Sugarlips Seamless Rib Tank Top 409 (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.05)

InSinkErator CRD-00 Power Cord Kit (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $0.66)

InSinkErator DWC-00 Dishwasher Connector Kit (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $0.52) 

Odor-Free Countertop Compost Keeper by Norpro (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.84)

...and 60 other purchases at no additional cost to the purchaser that say, "hey Althouse, thanks for blogging!"

Thank YOU, all you sugarlipped insink composting stinkards!

"I’m not a politician, and there will be times when folks will ask me questions about the inner working of politics that I don’t know about."

"I’m a quick study, I’ll figure all the political jargon out, but I’m not going to adopt it.

Says Gabriel Gomez, running for the Senate seat vacated by John Kerry.
Look at my training – serving my country, U.S. Naval Academy, Navy aircraft carrier pilot, Navy SEAL, successful private sector, business career.... I’m not saying governance or being a Senator is easy, nor am I saying I don’t have some things to learn – I am saying I am up to the task.  And let’s look in the other direction – maybe Washington has something to learn – they clearly need some new ideas and sending career politicians would be the same old same old. 
We'll see how well that pitch works in Massachusetts.

"[T]he pantheon of hungry young men who have moved to Washington and shape-shifted, whether consciously or not..."

"... into something that’s more palatable to the city’s establishment. The blogger who, in 2008, tweeted, 'fuck tim russert. fuck him with a spiky acid-tipped dick,' now styles himself as the evenhanded, empirically driven adult in a room of squabbling, stubborn children. Even his critique of Washington, grounded in data and charts and graphs, is establishment to the core: This place, he says, is not like it used to be."

From "Ezra Klein: The Wise Boy/A tale of striving and success in modern-day Washington," by Julia Ioffe (in the redesigned New Republic). I'm not sure what to make of this long, long piece about Klein, but this is a funny picture to publish:

That's just a photoshoot misfire that ought to have been deleted instantly. To select it to illustrate the article is practically to announce: This is a hit piece.
I pointed out that, in spite of his loathing of being subjected to the journalistic gaze, he had agreed to be profiled not only by me, but also by New York magazine—simultaneously. The “people above me” he said, “seem to think it’s a good idea.” It would bring in readership, and Klein felt it would be “hypocritical” not to cooperate with the press when he, the press, was constantly asking people to cooperate with him. It was almost too meta to bear. “You’re sitting there taking notes and recording while I’m sitting here taking notes and recording,” he said. “It’s a peculiar situation!”...

Klein later told me that he found our exchange “slightly threatening.”

“Don’t take it personally,” one of Klein’s friends explained. “He didn’t get this far being casual about his image management.”
Oh, good lord, this thing has me sympathizing with Ezra Klein! Ridiculous.

By the way, a pantheon is "a temple dedicated to all the gods." (OED.) The figurative meaning is: "The group of people or things most revered by an individual, nation, profession, etc.; a group of people particularly respected, famous, or otherwise significant in some capacity; a set of things having acknowledged value or importance." It doesn't make sense to talk about "the pantheon of hungry young men." Either they hungry or they are in the pantheon. The ambitious young strivers are not the gods.

(Are there hungry gods?)

"The artists who, on a snowy February morning in 2013, are re-recording the same 11 tracks..."

"... in the 12 hours it took the Fab Four to lay down the album aren't changing the world perhaps — but they are taking part in a one-off event."
In 1963, both record industry convention and time restraints dictated that The Beatles record a number of cover versions for Please Please Me (six in total) - which accounts for its low standing in the band's back catalogue.

"It's not the best Beatles album," says BBC 6 music presenter Stuart Maconie. "But it's the first Beatles album.

"It's the first album of the rock era, really. That's what people forget. It was all about singles and it was the first self-contained album and it did change the whole rock era."
The references to "Please Please Me" there — in that BBC.com article — are not the single we remember but to the album which you can buy these days in the United States but wasn't what we had back then.
In the United States, most of the songs on Please Please Me were first issued on Vee-Jay Records' Introducing... The Beatles in 1964, and subsequently on Capitol Records' The Early Beatles in 1965. Please Please Me was not released in the US until the Beatles' catalogue was standardised for CD.
Anyway, the recording of the album you probably have on CD was made on February 11, 1963, 50 years ago, yesterday. 

"Shushing the Baby Boomers."

I linked to this January 2007 NYT piece in the previous post, and I've linked to it before — here and here. Is Obama a Baby Boomer or not? If Obama the solution to the Baby Boomer problem or part of the problem? Obama's ambiguous generationality. Much to say there.

But I've just got to make a separate post to call attention to the historical artifact that is Robert Grossman's illustration depicting Barack Obama leaping over 6 little figures who represent the Baby Boomers:

"Why have Americans lost their devotion to the future?"

Asks David Brooks, observing that America was built on a "future-oriented mentality," but these days we "sacrifice the future for the sake of the present." Read the whole thing to see if you agree with that premise, which is backed up by assertions like: "The federal government is a machine that takes money from future earners and spends it on health care for retirees." Taking the premise as true, why is it happening? Brooks goes back to the big events that shaped The Greatest Generation:
The Great Depression and World War II forced Americans to live with 16 straight years of scarcity. In the years after the war, people decided they’d had enough. There was what one historian called a “renunciation of renunciation.” We’ve now had a few generations raised with this consumption mind-set. There’s less of a sense that life is a partnership among the dead, the living and the unborn, with obligations to those to come.
Interesting avoidance of the obvious generation that deserves the blame. I'm talking about my generation: The Baby Boomers. We didn't endure the Great Depression and World War II, but we were raised by parents who found it just wonderful to have a predictable quiet life home life, comforts that were perfectly normal to us, but without the prior deprivations, boring and unsatisfying.

Oh, the trouble we made, changing the culture, restructuring the politics, leveraging our numbers. Don't say we didn't look to the future! The future was us getting old.

We set up the benefits programs, and we taught the younger generations to believe in them, deeply and emotionally. We're just trying to get to the end without their noticing what we have done. It's a tricky business, because we want the money to flow into our needs as we struggle to live longer and longer, sucking more and more of the life out of the young before we die.

Wasn't it amazing the way we got you to love Obama — the last of the Baby Boomers (or did you believe him when he said he was post-Boomer?)? Under the banner "HOPE," he got you to believe in a health-care scheme that forces healthy young people to sacrifice your hope of building individual wealth.

Obviously, the story isn't over yet, but what will be left when we're gone? How long will that take? It depends on how securely we've structured this thing, how long your soppy empathy lasts, and whether the "death panels" taunt keeps working to deter you from the kind of self-serving politics from which we ourselves never refrained.

"The National Jurist contains a law school ranking alternative to U.S. News & World Report..."

"... using the following methodology:"
Post-Graduate Success:  50%
Employment Rate:  22.5%
Super Lawyers:  12.5%
Partners in NLJ 200:  10%
Bar Passage:  5%

Student Satisfaction:  35%
RateMyProfessors.com:  20%
Princeton Review:  15%

Affordability and Diversity:  15%
Debt:  10%
Diversity:  5%
Some of those factors are incredibly lame/immensely manipulable, but I suppose I should like it because my school does well on it.

Why was wrestling cut from the 2020 Olympics?

Wrestling! Isn't that Essence of Olympics?
The IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of 25 "core sports."
Something had to be cut so something could be added.
Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896....

Wrestling was voted out from a final group that also included modern pentathlon, taekwondo and field hockey....
 Field hockey!
The board voted after reviewing a report by the IOC program commission report that analyzed 39 criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors....

Wrestling featured 344 athletes competing in 11 medal events in freestyle and seven in Greco-Roman at last year's London Olympics. Women's wrestling was added to the Olympics at the 2004 Athens Games.
So they let the women in... and then they cut the sport altogether. But they leave field hockey... the team sport conventionally thought fit for women. How well did field hockey do in the 39 criteria?

Maybe the political-emotional-sentimental thinking went something like this: In a system that requires performance of the theater of women's equality, how can we eliminate the sight of something that's making us very uncomfortable?

February 11, 2013

At the Tired Dog Café...


... you've earned your sleep.

"And as the time passed and the servants came in and stood waiting in the hall, his eyes began to blink anxiously, and he spoke of the rain in a worried, uncertain way."

I figured that "ducks will have something to eat" post has got you screaming please, please, give me a "Gatsby" sentence. I know many of you don't like or don't get the "Gatsby" project, in which we isolate and munch on a single, possibly turgid, sentence from "The Great Gatsby," more or less every day around here on the Althouse blog. But now, perhaps, you'd love one as an amuse bouche. The moods are orchestrated here on Althouse.

This sentence has us suspended in time. Time passed, servants waited, standing around, and the man is there, being awkward. Blink is a good word in relation to time. It expresses the shortest kind of time, and anxious eye blinking contrasts to the waiting around of the servants. They are patient and he is nervous, and then — cutting through the awkwardness — the man speaks — but his speech piles on more awkwardness, as he talks about the weather — rain — and we need to be told that this isn't relaxing talk-about-the-weather small talk. His weather-talk has a specific, unsettling attitude: He spoke of the rain in a worried, uncertain way.

How is the weather where you are? Is there much rain? Please watch out for the ducks... the hungry, hungry ducks. 

"The world’s most experienced penis reattachment surgeons can be found in Thailand..."

"... where, during the 1970s, an estimated one hundred vengeful Thai wives, spurred by media coverage of a prominent 1973 case, sliced off the penises of their adulterous husbands as they slept. When a suitably equipped microsurgeon was on hand to reattach the errant appendage, the men were able to resume philandering within a matter of months. Though probably with reduced success: The penises, though operative, were shorter, numb, and often only partway erectable. The most serious complication, in the Thai attacks, was infection. Two of the wives flushed the penises down the toilet, forcing their husbands to grope for their lost manhood inside the septic tank. (Incredibly, both were found, cleaned, cleaned some more, and reattached.) More commonly, the women would hurl the penis out the window. In the cases described in 'Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam,' all the recovered penises were 'grossly contaminated.' Better that than eaten by livestock. Many rural Thai homes are elevated on pilings, with the family’s pigs, chickens, and ducks tending to mill about seeking shade in the space underneath. It is not, oddly, the pigs, but rather the ducks, that the castrated Thai must worry about. The paper does not provide the exact number of penises eaten by ducks, but the author says there have been enough over the years to prompt the coining of a popular saying: 'I better get home or the ducks will have something to eat.'"

I'm reading "Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex," by Mary Roach.

"The history of Comoros goes back some 1,500 years."

"According to myth, the Comoros islands were first visited by Phoenician sailors. The earliest inhabitants of the islands were probably Arabs and Africans, the latter probably Bantu-speaking... The most notable of these early immigrants were the Shirazi Arab royal clans, who arrived in Comoros in the 15th and 16th centuries and stayed to build mosques, create a royal house and introduce architecture and carpentry."

Comoros — it's some little islands near Madagascar — is today's "History of" country.

"Labradors are the Chicago Cubs of show dogs."

Loveable losers. 
For the past 22 years, the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the U.S.... In 136 years of the [Westminster Dog Show], no Labrador has ever won Best in Show....

Their fans point to the bite of the Sporting group, which has produced 19 Best in Show winners, including the Sussex Spaniel in 2009, English Springer Spaniel in 2007 and German Shorthaired Pointer in 2005. Those dogs are what buffs call "flashy" breeds.... Unlike their peers, Labradors lack the extravagance of a long coat or the grace of a fast gait, making it trickier to catch a judge's eye....

Labradors also go home empty for the same reason they are such reliable companions: their good temperament. Some dogs are divas. Labradors like to share the spotlight with their handlers. "Labs aren't selfish enough," [said David Frei, the Westminster Kennel Club's communications director].

Purchase of the day.

Yesterday, Sunday February 11. Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Anti Dandruff Shampoo 14.2 Fl Oz (Pack of 2) (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $0.97)

Honorable mentions:

VIZIO E701i-A3 70-inch 1080p 120Hz Razor LED Smart HDTV (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $64.00)

"Coolidge" [Hardcover] Amity Shlaes (Author) (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.53)

Rheem Ruud Weatherking Factory OEM Protech Parts 62-22868-93 Furnace Hot Surface Ignitor (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.86)

Plus 32 other purchases. Thanks to all who used the portal.

"Should Elderly Politicians Make Like the Pope and Quit?"

Asks David Weigel.
Pope Benedict is three years younger than Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who's puttering around condemning the very idea of Cory Booker running against him....

[C]overage of Lautenberg... high-fives him for his vigor. A recent Philadelphia Inquirer story pointed out that the senator had returned from "a cold that became the flu" and was "wielding a cane -- which he insisted he didn't really need," but otherwise focused on his "feistiness."
Weigel mixes 2 topics: the individual's decision to continue despite age and infirmity and the way the media (and the rest of us) "play along." Nothing about what the Pope is doing changes the playing along part of it. We've come to believe that age discrimination is wrong, and we've allowed that to mean too much.

Age discrimination isn't like race discrimination! Age takes a toll on people and it matters and affects their performance. A specific individual may be doing relatively well for his age, and we ought to see him as an individual, but age matters. Statutory law prohibiting age discrimination tells us not to take age into account in some situations, but that doesn't include electoral politics. Feel free to boldly assail Lautenberg for clinging to his Senate seat. (And feel free to criticize judges who seem to be hanging on too long, especially Supreme Court Justices.)

Is the Pope any help here? He waited until he was 85 to step down. And he began the onerous work when he was nearly 80. The previous Pope — immensely admired — made a point of sticking with the job through a long, painful decline. I think both of these Popes encourage people to keep going and not to cede the work to the less old.