April 27, 2013

"Before he became the anti-junk-food mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg was a pioneer in the corporate provision of junk food."

"For decades, Bloomberg has made available to employees—at no charge—the entire contents of a convenience store. What started as coffee, chips, and cookies (snacks, not meals), quickly expanded to things that were like meals (fresh fruit, cereal and oatmeal for breakfast, cans of tuna fish, soup, and noodle packets for lunch)."

Writes Daniel Gross, in part of an argument that the IRS shouldn't add the value of food provided to employees to their taxable income. This food is "an instrument of social control."
Companies use people’s basic needs and desire to consume calories as a way of channeling their efforts toward the greater corporate good.
Does that really make food different from money, which is also used to energize and appease workers? One difference is that people eat different amounts of food and some — such as vegetarians — eat less expensive items. How would you calculate the value of the free food?

Purchase of the day.

From the April 26, 2013 Amazon Associates Report:
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Sauce Pans
By using the Althouse portal, you can buy things you want, pay nothing extra, and make a contribution to this blog. We notice. We appreciate it. And only if you can't keep a secret will we know it's you.

The Althouse Amazon portal: the coolest touch in portals – perfect balance, drip-free, and designed to last a lifetime.

"I like the soft roundedness I’ve found in women, the scratchy ridiculousness I’ve found in men, and the culinary generosity I’ve found in both."

"If you lined up 100 people I’m physically drawn to, maybe only 4 would be women, but the depth of attraction I’d feel for those women would be the same as for the men. This was true when I was 23 and entered my first romantic relationship (with a woman), and it’s true now that I’m 38. I do not think of myself as 4 percent lesbian but 100 percent bisexual."

Writes a woman named Wilson Diehl — op-edding in the NYT — who seems irritated that people won't believe her. She married a man named Jared:
Jared contacted me on an online dating site, and before we had even met I told him via e-mail that I hate tofu, sausage and girlie cocktails; I’m sensitive about textures, depictions of violence and buzzing noises....
Sensitive about textures.... presumably that explains scratchy ridiculousness.

Anyway, she's a stay-at-home mother (working on a book), and she doesn't use bisexuality as a reason to be nonmonogamous. Her "bi-ness seldom has occasion to come up organically," so she makes jokes like "I can’t pick a restaurant — I’m bisexual."

"About 500 locks on cell doors simultaneously opened inside Montgomery County’s main jail early Saturday morning..."

"No inmates tried to escape...."

Justice Breyer breaks his proximal humerus in a biking accident...

... and undergoes shoulder replacement.
It was the third biking accident for the justice, who two years ago broke his right collarbone after a fall near his home in Cambridge, Mass. He suffered more serious injuries in 1993 when he was hit by a car while biking across Harvard Square.

At the Northern Colors Café...


... it's perfectly beautiful.

"Daddy, remember that time we died?"

From the Reddit page devoted to "the creepiest thing your young child has ever said to you."

ADDED: "I want to peel all your skin off"... "what do you see through the black circles in my eyes when you're controlling me when I'm at school?"

AND: "When I was about 3 we had a cat that had still born kittens. I asked my father if we could make crosses for them, which he did. As he was making them I asked: 'aren't those too small?' Dad: 'What do you mean?' Me: 'aren't we going to nail them to them?' Dad: (after several moments silence) 'we're not going to do that' Me: 'oh.'"

AND: Then there's the 3- or 4-year-old who called his dad a "demented peon" and the 5-year-old who called her mother a "glassy-eyed, slack-jawed troglodyte!" (Rude... but admirable vocabulary.)

Come on!


Where's the action?!

"By the time you get to be a big fancy adult with a career and a house, your daily routine is basically just a collection of unconscious habits..."

"... You make coffee, commute by car, attend meetings and answer e-mails, shop in certain stores, watch TV and repeat. It becomes effortless."
Your brain goes into autopilot. Unfortunately, this also means it becomes hard to make changes.

But different habits, while being equally effortless, tend to add up in a good way over time. If you have a $50,000 take-home pay but are in the habit of living on $25,000 and investing the rest, that will put you ahead by about $350,000 every 10 years after compounding. A habit of biking instead of driving can keep you lively and fit into your 80s while saving you hundreds of thousands of dollars as well.

The key thing to remember is once you establish the habit, it becomes effortless and even pleasant to stay in the groove — even while your friends think you are some kind of unimaginably frugal bike-riding superhero.
I think the key is to be selective about where to make the cuts. Where are the places where you can change the habits and actually improve your life? The $4 latte may be worth it to you if that's how you get yourself out of the house and into a public place where you encounter other people and moderate loneliness into manageable solitude. A month of daily lattes might correspond to one item of clothing that gives you a moment of manic elation but then gets lost in your closet amongst scarcely dissimilar items.

"He can be a serious presidential candidate because he represents a segment of Republicanism that hasn’t had a voice."

"But he can’t just be a neater package of his dad — that won’t work. He needs to convey his own domestic and foreign vision, and continue to overcome the kook factor, which he inherited."

"As with all drugs, there is such a thing as too much caffeine."

"According to a 2001 Institute of Medicine report, 600 mg of caffeine (or six cups of coffee) will bring on negative cognitive effects, otherwise known as the jitters, in most people — including Kramer from Seinfeld. And some people are so sensitive to caffeine that one cup will bring on nervousness and irritability, rather than the alertness that most of us feel. 'We also know that caffeine is bad for people with anxiety — for them, it's likely to hurt productivity... But for people on the more depressive end, caffeine would improve productivity. The effect of the drug really depends on the brain into which it's being infused.'"

"As you can imagine, I have had occasion to feel the blues."

Clarence Thomas wrote on Supreme Court letterhead to George Jones in 1993. (Jones had sent letters and cassettes to Thomas.)
I have listened to your music for over a decade. The lyrics so often captured just how I felt....

You may be interested to know that I used one of your songs to allay the concerns of my bride's mother. Prior to our wedding, she expressed some concern about this being my second marriage. At that time, I had been listening repeatedly to one of your albums which unfortunately is packed away. I believe it was entitled Wine Colored Roses. I apologize in advance if that is wrong. One of the songs contained the lyrics: 'I put a golden band on the right left hand this time; and the right left hand put a golden band on mine.' As I said before, your music has captured so much of my own feelings.

"Everybody loves the idea of the wily islanders diving to the bottom of the wreck..."

"... and coming back up with bottles of whisky which they would then hide from the customs."

The ship was the SS Politician. The islanders were from Eriskay, in the outer Hebrides. There were 100s of cases of whisky recovered and hidden from the authorities during WWII.

The link goes to a story about an auction of a couple of the bottles. There was a book — "Whisky Galore" (alternate title "Tight Little Island" — and then a movie by the same name that was made in 1949.

"For a true islander, life without [whisky] is not worth living."

"Eating boogers may actually be good for your health."

"Scott Napper came up with the idea during a lecture on molecules in mucus....The scientist says that exposing the body to the germs caught inside mucus might help build immunity."
"It might serve as almost a natural vaccination, if you will,” Napper told CTV. "Simply picking your nose and wiping it away, or blowing your nose, you might be robbing it of that opportunity."
I blogged about this topic years ago, but it's hard to find the old post because I avoided using any of the key words that would allow me to search for it now. Anyway, I'm surprised to see this presented as a new idea. I guess it's an idea that is continually contemplated and repressed. Plus it's hard to study. It's easy to come up with the hypothesis. But design the study and carry it out.

A rape case that went cold in 1978 is solved using the national DNA database.

The possessor of the DNA, now 64 years old, gets life in prison.

"There’s a strong relationship between how many dollars you have and how many trees you request to be planted in your neighborhood."

Said Earl Eutsler, of Washington D.C.’s Urban Forestry Administration.
Eutsler mapped requests to the city for trees along streets last year and found a heavy concentration in Northwest and Capitol Hill but merely a sprinkling in the city’s poorest wards.

Doris Gudger of Anacostia is among those who see little to like about lots of trees. When city crews showed up one recent day and planted some in front of her rowhouse in Southeast Washington, she wanted them gone.

The pollen would aggravate her allergies, she said. The leaves would be a pain to rake. The shade would draw drug dealers. And, she feared, soon would follow affluent gentrifiers and higher taxes, pushing out older residents like herself.
Environmentalists are pushing city trees, and that policy meshes with the values of the affluent, so that lots of trees make a neighborhood look affluent, and you might think it would be good to bestow trees on the poorer neighborhoods, but what if poor people don't like trees?

What should happen to the pro-tree policy if people in poor neighborhoods don't like trees?
pollcode.com free polls 

"We don’t know where this came from, Disney is getting to her somehow.... We don’t even play with princesses..."

"...but all she wants to do is put on a dress and dance around the house, and now she really, really wants Cinderella at her birthday party," the parents say to the professional Cinderella, who dresses like the Disney Cinderella and sings "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" at parties. Won't Disney come after her after this big profile in The Washington Post?
“I can say I’m Cinderella because she was around before Disney,” explained Russell, who has upgraded her outfits and now has five other performers working for her. “Rapunzel they don’t own, but ‘Tangled’ they do. Our Little Mermaid is not their Ariel. But we do look like them.”

April 26, 2013

"Working for him, the whole crew being artisans, this whole thing that rose from the earth — it was a real castle."

"There’s a whale-watching tower. Each room has a theme — there’s a cathedral room, a storytelling room. We set up a tile factory on the property because there’s a million dollars worth of hand-made tile in this house. It’s an extraordinary place."

Him = Bob Dylan. 

At the Boston Café...


... fight the terror.

"Tom Brokaw declined his invitation to this year's White House Correspondents’ Dinner because of Lindsay Lohan."

"'Somewhere along the line, it began to freewheel out of control,' the renowned anchorman told Politico about the celeb-filled soiree, 'and the breaking point for me was Lindsay Lohan.'"
The trouble-making actress was invited as a guest of Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren at the 2012 dinner. Page Six’s Cindy Adams recalled how Lohan disappeared a few times to the bathroom for a cigarette and tipped a bathroom attendant a crumpled $100 and said, "You’re too old to be doing this."
Hey, Lindsay's right. We're all too old.

"I do a little thing about the way people shake the sweetener packet."

"You know, like they're all excited. I want to get all the granules down to one end. I love all these rituals."

Are you looking at me?


Just kidding! I love you!


Did ya get my profile?


"Following Portugal's April 1974 Carnation Revolution..."

"... , it granted independence to Guinea-Bissau on 10 September 1974."
Luís Cabral, Amílcar Cabral's half-brother, became President of Guinea-Bissau.   Following independence local soldiers that fought along with the Portuguese Army against the PAIGC guerrillas were slaughtered by the thousands. A small number escaped to Portugal or to other African nations. The most famous massacre occurred in Bissorã. In 1980 PAIGC admitted in its newspaper "Nó Pintcha"...  that many were executed and buried in unmarked collective graves in the woods of Cumerá, Portogole and Mansabá.
Today's "History of" country is Guinea-Bissau.

"Forget everything you once knew. Albums, cycles, they’re totally toast. An artist today is constantly creating..."

"... and constantly in the public eye. He doesn’t bitch that he can’t sell records, that the old model is broken, rather he explores the new avenues where money is available to be made. Piracy? Rip-offs? Imitation? That’s your greatest desire! Content ID will make it so you profit off all the imitators who cover your music! You don’t want to hold it close to the vest, you want to open it up to everybody. Which reminds me, ALWAYS SAY YES! You’re gonna get ripped-off anyway. If there are no barriers to piracy, let people do what they want. Your efforts are just fodder, starter material for others to bake their own bread. They’ll give you credit if you don’t antagonize them. And they’ll give you their money too. People like to pay those they believe in. Foster belief and you’ll get paid...."

The 2d Circuit court says the "fair use" copyright exception doesn't require that a new work of art "refer back to the original."

Richard Prince used somebody else's photographs in his collages, and the court said it's enough that a reasonable observer finds the new work "transformative."

The photographer, Patrick Cariou, made "serene and deliberately composed portraits and landscape photographs depict the natural beauty of the Rastafarians and their surrounding environs," the court said. But "Prince’s crude and jarring works, on the other hand, are hectic and provocative."
In her decision in 2011, Judge Batts gave Mr. Cariou the right to destroy the “Canal Zone” paintings that had not been sold to collectors, a remedy that was criticized by Judge Barrington D. Parker Jr. of the Second Circuit during oral arguments last year.
Destroy?!! But look what Prince did with Cariou's photographs: here. And Prince sold the works for more than $10 million. And yet, don't you feel free to take a book of photographs you own, cut out the pictures, paste them onto poster-board, and scribble and scratch on them? If you made some creepy ugly image out of photos of beautiful models, wouldn't you feel that was yours all yours?

There's a high art/low art issue here. There's the way that the snooty people who exhibit in an elite gallery think they owe nothing to the relatively low people who take sentimental photographs. But that's a topic for debate, not a reason for the photographer to hit up the high-class artist for money or — absurd! — claim a right to destroy the expensive articles of commerce.

UConn's new husky dog logo — insensitive to campus violence against women?

"In an open letter to UC President Susan Herbst, self-described feminist student Carolyn Luby wrote that the redesigned team logo will intimidate women and empower rape culture."
UConn basketball coach Geno Auriemma said the logo “is looking right through you and saying, ‘Do not mess with me.’ This is a streamlined, fighting dog, and I cannot wait for it to be on our uniforms and court.”

In response, Luby wrote, “What terrifies me about the admiration of such traits is that I know what it feels like to have a real life Husky look straight through you and to feel powerless, and to wonder if even the administration cannot ‘mess with them.’ And I know I am not alone.”
Compare the 2 logos:

Resolve the logo controversy.
pollcode.com free polls 

NYT exposé of the Pigford settlement "shows that it became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress..."

"... and law firms that stand to gain more than $130 million in fees. In the past five years, it has grown to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers. In all, more than 90,000 people have filed claims. The total cost could top $4.4 billion."
From the start, the claims process prompted allegations of widespread fraud and criticism that its very design encouraged people to lie: because relatively few records remained to verify accusations, claimants were not required to present documentary evidence that they had been unfairly treated or had even tried to farm. Agriculture Department reviewers found reams of suspicious claims, from nursery-school-age children and pockets of urban dwellers, sometimes in the same handwriting with nearly identical accounts of discrimination....

As a senator, Barack Obama supported expanding compensation for black farmers, and then as president he pressed for $1.15 billion to pay those new claims. Other groups quickly escalated their demands for similar treatment. In a letter to the White House in September 2009, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a leading Hispanic Democrat, threatened to mount a campaign “outside the Beltway” if Hispanic farmers were not compensated....
Read the whole thing.

ADDED: This is what we need big media for: "The Times’s examination was based on thousands of pages of court and confidential government documents, as well as interviews with dozens of claimants, lawyers, former and current government officials and others involved in the cases over the past 14 years. Many officials spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing rules against disclosing internal government deliberations and, in a few cases, the desire not to be drawn into a racially charged controversy." Thanks for this work.

IN THE COMMENTS: I am criticized for thanking the NYT. They should have been all over this story long ago. Why weren't they? And, another way to look at that question is: Why are they at it now?

"Groupers Use Gestures to Recruit Morays For Hunting Team-Ups."

"The two fish cooperate to flush out their prey. The grouper’s bursts of speed make it deadly in open water, while the moray’s sinuous body can flush out prey in cracks and crevices. When they hunt at the same time, prey fish have nowhere to flee."

'Wow! That is great. That is awesome!" — last words as execution drug kicks in.

Spoken by Richard Cobb, 29, after delivering what seemed to like his official last words: "Life is death, death is life. I hope that someday this absurdity that humanity has come to will come to an end. Life is too short. I hope anyone that has negative energy towards me will resolve that. Life is too short to harbor feelings of hatred and anger. That's it, warden."

"Wausau woman finalist in potato chip flavor contest."

"[Karen] Weber's cheesy garlic bread is head-to-head against two other flavors: Sriracha hot sauce and chicken and waffles."

First prize is $1 million, which Weber says she'll spend on her children's education and maybe a new used car and shoes. She's "too middle class to really go crazy." It is a little crazy to want potato chips to taste like bread, but since chips that taste like waffles is also a finalist, who's to say what's really crazy?

"The news of survival and new life came as the 72-hour deadline to change the operation from rescue to recovery approached..."

"... even as hundreds more people were feared still trapped amid the rubble."
Rescuers tunneling Friday into the rubble of the eight-story building that collapsed Wednesday discovered another 50 people trapped on what remained of its third floor.... Also Friday, two women who gave birth under the debris were rescued -- along with their infants....
Officials coordinating the operation have said the rescue efforts would end Saturday morning, when heavy equipment will be used to retrieve the remaining bodies and cart away the rubble.... The planned use of heavy equipment ignited protests from the people who crowded near the rescue site, many of them relatives who were showing pictures of the missing to whomever would pay attention and saying they did not believe 72 hours was long enough to wait.

Deported from Saudi Arabia for being "too handsome."

"Meet Omar Borkan Al Gala, the devilishly beautiful man who might just be one of the three deported from Saudi Arabia last week for the crime of being too gorgeous."
Religious police in the deeply conservative Muslim country reportedly stormed a stand manned by delegates from the United Arab Emirates at the Jenadrivah Heritage & Culture Festival. The three hotties were evicted from the festival, then deported to the UAE because they were so handsome that police “feared female visitors could fall for them,” the Arabic-language newspaper Elaph reported....

Borkan Al Gala isn’t doing much to stop the speculation. He continues to post glam beauty shots accompanied by swoon-inducing quotes: “The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides"...
The quote seems to mean that a woman is beautiful if, when she is looking at you, her eyes reveal that she thinks you are beautiful.

"The Federal Helium Program — leftover from the age of zeppelins..."

"... and an infamous symbol of Washington’s inability to cut what it no longer needs — will be terminated. Unless it isn’t."

"I think though, this is not a time to commit sociology, if I can use an expression."

You can.

Speaking of my stream of consciousness, blowjobs, and "the Golden Age of Male Rage"...

"Surprise! Psycho Mother of Boston Bombers Also on Terror Watch List. Kind of a blow to Nina Burleigh’s sophomoric pyschosexual theory, though. Burleigh, for those who have forgotten, is the reporter who said she’d be happy to give Bill Clinton a blowjob in thanks for his efforts to keep abortion legal. Form your own psychosexual theories if you wish...."

I'm reading Instapundit and thinking there's a lot of rich material for me, but guess where I get sidetracked?

1. Blow to Nina Burleigh... blowjob from Nina Burleigh... interesting double use of "blow," hmm, I wonder what the etymology of "blow" is and let's check out the OED, oh wait, didn't I do a language riff on "blowjob" before?... No. That's not it.

2. Psycho Mother revelation... I already called bullshit on this lady's theatrical posings and yammerings, where's that old link?... No. That's not it.

3. Blowjobs in thanks for abortion rights...  blowjobs are another way to avert pregnancy... if women were truly enthusiastic about blowjobs, we wouldn't need abortion rights... but Burleigh's apparently not enthusiastic about blowjobs, because she's offering one in payment to Bill Clinton for the favor that he's done in keeping abortion legal as opposed to seeing giving and getting a blowjob as an even exchange, complete in itself.... No. That's not it.

4. Instapundit misspelled "psychosexual" the first time he used it. Nah. I'm just noticing that now.

5. I clicked through to the "sophomoric" theory, referring to "the Golden Age of Male Rage," the 3rd paragraph of which begins: "Curiously, these guys belong to the gender with all the physical strength and most of the well-paying jobs in the world." Well-paying jobs? Isn't it good-paying jobs? I ask Meade: "Which is correct 'well-paying jobs' or 'good-paying jobs'?" He says "good-paying." Yes, that's what I think, but how do we know that? We spend 10 minutes trying to explain the reason, and I find this discussion at UsingEnglish.com, which doesn't resolve the question to my liking but includes some choice Obama-blaming:
... I recently saw an Obama ad in which he uses the phrase "good-paying jobs," as well as a WSJ article where the phrase was used. It seems that whenever Obama uses a phrase, or pronunciation (like divissive, rather than divisive), everyone thinks he's right and starts using it.
It's true: Obama says "good-paying." My instinct says that's right (and not because Obama's saying something makes it seem right), but I can't articulate exactly why. I know how to say why "well-paying jobs" is correct: paying is an adjective, well modifies paying, and you use an adverb to modify an adjective. But I think that's incorrect. You wouldn't say "That's a highly paying job," would you? You would, obviously, say: "I am well paid," not "I am good paid." But you'd say: "That's good pay," not "That's well pay." I think the answer I'm looking for has something to do with constructing "good-paying" out of "good pay." Maybe we should start the colloquialism "good-pay jobs" to get us out of this jam.

So there's your answer. That's where the mind of Althouse went with this material. Feel free to discuss Terror Mom and The Blowjobs.

6. Speaking of my stream of consciousness, blowjobs, and Burleigh's "the Golden Age of Male Rage," I've always loved George Carlin's response to his mother's threat that when his father gets home "he's gonna read you the riot act": "Tell him I already read it myself. And I didn't like it, either; I consider it wordy and poorly thought out. He wants to read me something, how about 'The Gentlemen's Guide to the Golden Age of Blowjobs'?"

7. If you think this post wordy and poorly thought out, reel out your psychosexual theories in the comments.

8. [ADDED] I've become convinced that both "good-paying" and "well-paying" are wrong. What is needed is not an adjective (good) or an adverb (well) but a noun as in "money-paying job." The reason "good-paying job" sounds better is, I think, because it's an elision of "good-money-paying job."

"Hank Williams may have set country music's mythology and Johnny Cash its attitude, but [George] Jones gave the genre its ultimate voice...."

Goodbye to George Jones.
With recordings that spanned 50 years, including Number One singles White Lightning, She Thinks I Still Care and He Stopped Loving Her Today, Jones influenced generations of country singers and was considered by many to be the greatest of them all.

Jones' life also included legendary battles with substance abuse, mostly alcohol, and four marriages, including one to fellow singer Tammy Wynette and another, his last and longest, to Nancy Sepulvado.
Despite all that abuse, the man lived to the age of 81.

"Brooklyn Law School to Permit Dismissal of Tenured Faculty for Lack of Collegiality or Poor Student Evaluations."

"I’m sure that there’s a Brooklyn-specific backstory to this, but it has to be read against the background of plummeting applications, especially to lower-tier-but-expensive schools like Brooklyn. Making it easier to get rid of faculty may be essential to their survival, enough so that they’re willing to take the inevitable hit in terms of recruiting."

Says Instapundit. What part of that hurts the Brooklynites the most? I'm guessing "lower-tier." Brooklyn comes in at #80 on the U.S. News ranking. I think people at that level would like you to consider them "second tier."

I suspect the new definition of "Adequate Cause" for termination of tenured faculty is a gesture of some kind, intended to show students that their opinion really matters but highly unlikely to lead anyone losing his job. Maybe it creates some pressure on faculty not to be toxic. I doubt it. The really toxic people tend to be delusional. Put some pressure on that person citing the "Adequate Cause" provision and watch what happens. Maybe you could do it well enough that the person will relocate or retire, but it might get bizarre. If toxicity is encapsulated, do you lance it?

(Note: I was a visiting professor at Brooklyn Law School in Fall 2007 and Spring 2008, but I have no idea whether this rule relates to any specific person who might be poisoning the experience there or whether it's a fairly empty gesture.)

"If Candice had been in the bottom, she would be gone and we would be on the way to a stretched out final."

"The fact that they are combining the votes says it all. I just hope that when they get their Angie/Amber final they choke on it."

If you understand what that refers to, you have my sympathy.

"Brown University student mistakenly linked by amateur sleuths on a social media site to the Boston bombings"... drowned.

Sunil Tripathi, 22.
On Monday, Reddit general manager Erik Martin apologized for the "dangerous speculation" that "spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties." In a blog post, he specifically apologized to the Tripathi family "for the pain they have had to endure."

"Hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell."

I like the way the disc looks so much like a CD.

April 25, 2013

At the Scilla Café...


... hope you're still here.

"I hope you're not making a movie," I say...

... in this little Meade-made thing I call "Walking with Abby."

"In 1958 the French Fourth Republic collapsed due to political instability and its failures in dealing with its colonies,..."

"... especially Indochina and Algeria. The founding of a Fifth Republic was supported by the French people, while France's colonies were given the choice between more autonomy in a new French Community and immediate independence. The other colonies chose the former but Guinea — under the leadership of Ahmed Sékou Touré whose Democratic Party of Guinea had won 56 of 60 seats in 1957 territorial elections — voted overwhelmingly for independence. The French withdrew quickly, and on October 2, 1958, Guinea proclaimed itself a sovereign and independent republic, with Sékou Touré as president."

And that was the beginning of the modern state called Guinea, today's "History of" country.

"What If We Never Run Out of Oil?"

"New technology and a little-known energy source suggest that fossil fuels may not be finite. This would be a miracle—and a nightmare."
In the 1970s, geologists discovered crystalline natural gas—methane hydrate, in the jargon—beneath the seafloor. Stored mostly in broad, shallow layers on continental margins, methane hydrate exists in immense quantities; by some estimates, it is twice as abundant as all other fossil fuels combined....

"I will always believe: Our nation's best days lie ahead" — the line that makes George Bush cry.

Closing his speech today at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Solidarity Singers seek recognition as "Longest continuously running singing political protest."

"If the category sounds a little weird... The Guinness website features such idiosyncratic categories as: Longest singing marathon (by an individual): 105 hours."

This is a singing group — documented on this blog a few times — that assembles, sings for a while, then goes home, and comes back again another time. That's nothing like one person singing for 105 hours. That's just a singing group that meets regularly. I'll bet there's a singing group somewhere that has met regularly for half a century. The SS only go back to the Wisconsin protests of 2011.

This group is hungry for publicity, seeking publicity for applying to Guinness with a ludicrous proposal of a new category consisting of the particular thing that they have done and plumping up the category name with a silly misuse of the word "continuously."

The (unlinkable) OED defines "continuous" to mean "Characterized by continuity; extending in space without interruption of substance; having no interstices or breaks; having its parts in immediate connection; connected, unbroken."

ADDED: Here's my video from March 14, 2011, showing the singers, with shots of the songbook and real-time critique by me.

As I said at the time, this was "edited to heighten the absurdity of appropriating the civil rights song 'We Shall Overcome' (about not being free) and that 'Stickin' to the Union' song (about facing union-busting violence). ... The protests have been on behalf of well-paid people with excellent jobs — better jobs than the average Wisconsinite's....  I know they have their complaints, but they are not even the bottom sector of the Wisconsin economy."

Highlights from the Bush interview: "I'll be dead... our afterlife... assiduously."

I'm watching John King's interview with George and Laura Bush (on the occasion of the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum).
GEORGE BUSH: History will ultimately judge the decisions that were made for Iraq. And I'm just not going to be around to see the final verdict.

KING: Not going to be around. That's an interesting way to put it. You...

GEORGE BUSH (laughing): In other words, I'll be dead....
I don't know why King acted puzzled over the phrase "I'm just not going to be around," but it was hilarious when Bush clarified the term. Lightheartedness at the idea of one's own death is disarming, and coming after King's strange confusion, it made us laugh. Perhaps King was hoping to draw Bush into some deeper contemplation of death. That didn't happen. We get a glimpse of Bush's social skill.

Having said so bluntly "I'll be dead," it was striking when Bush proceeded to refer to the post-presidency period as the "afterlife."

"Paul Kevin Curtis... freed after initially being accused of sending ricin-laced letters... has long been feuding with a fellow entertainer..."

"... who is now a focus of the inquiry."
The genesis of the feud between Curtis, 45, and Dutschke, 41, was unclear. Curtis told the Associated Press that they had worked together at Curtis' brother's insurance office years ago. Curtis said Dutschke told him he owned a newspaper and showed interest in publishing his book about what Curtis believes is an underground market to sell body parts....

"Williams-Sonoma Pulls Pressure Cookers Off Shelves 'Out of Respect.'"

This is like eschewing box-cutters after 9/11.

"Non-reading is not just the absence of reading. It is a genuine activity..."

"... one that consists of adopting a stance in relation to the immense tide of books that protects you from drowning. On that basis, it deserves to be defended and even taught."
If a book is less a book than it is the whole of the discussion about it, we must pay attention to that discussion in order to talk about the book without reading it. For it is not the book itself that is at stake, but what it has become within the critical space in which it intervenes and is continually transformed. It is this moving object, a supple fabric of relations between texts and beings, about which one must be in a position to formulate accurate statements at the right moment.
That's written by Pierre Bayard, who would like you to read his book, "How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read." But you don't have to read that, because you're reading about it here. I would like you to move in the supple fabric of the Althouse blog, where you can have all manner of relations between texts and beings, right here in the comments, and you're free to formulate accurate and inaccurate statements and the right and the wrong moments.

"But English people throw everything out their car window, and the roadsides are carpeted with rubbish.."

"... so that's what I do with my life now: I pick up rubbish on the side of the road. I do it on my bike. I do it on foot. The local council has given me an outfit and a grabber."

Says David Sedaris, who now lives in West Sussex, in a "Fresh Air" interview, promoting his new book "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls."

From the book:
When I mentioned the trash to the neighbors, they agreed that it was a disgrace. “It wasn’t like this thirty years ago,” said the woman in the house to the right of ours. She couldn’t tell me why things had changed. It was just part of a general decline. In that regard it was like graffiti, something that had inexorably spread until people lost the will to fight against it. Then, to make themselves feel less powerless, they decided it was art. I tried looking at the trash that way: Oh, how the light plays off that vodka bottle! Look at the bright blue candy wrapper, so vivid against the fallen brown leaves. It didn’t work, though.

Purchase of the day.

From the April 24, 2013 Amazon Associates Report:
The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011 [Kindle Edition]
Athol Kay (Author)
By using the Althouse portal, you can buy things you want, pay nothing extra, and make a contribution to this blog. We notice. We appreciate it. And only if we literally catch you in the act will we know it's you.

The Althouse Amazon portal: where tens and sometimes even hundreds of people daily paint themselves into but then right back out of tricky corners.

"Suzy [Favor Hamilton] had 'a very hard time turning 40.'"

"And for someone who used to draw all this attention,' and suddenly doesn’t get it as often, wouldn’t it be exciting, she says, to 'hear someone saying you are worth $600 per hour?'"

Elle Magazine quotes a friend of the disgraced Olympian in an overlong article summarized here.

($600 per hour sounded like a big compliment to SFH? Seems like the threshold for feeling like a compliment should have been more like $2,000.)

UPDATE: I've now read SFH's book, and I understand that the tips on top of the base rate did put it closer to $2,000. There were also expensive gifts and restaurant meals.

"Is the FBI focused enough on the real bad guys?"

WaPo asks.
[A]t the same time the FBI was concluding that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not a threat in 2011, it launched an elaborate sting operation in Boston against Rezwan Ferdaus, who eventually pleaded guilty to charges of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol with a remote-controlled model airplane loaded with grenades. In his case as well as others, it’s not clear that a sometimes far-fetched plot would have gone forward without the encouragement and help of FBI informants.

Gov. Patrick's administration won't release details about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's welfare benefits.

Reason given: privacy.

Rush Limbaugh, yesterday:
Tamerlan and his bride and their three-year-old daughter all have been on welfare as recently as last year.  Isn't that wonderful?  I was wondering where they got the money to buy all this stuff.  The whole family's on welfare.  So we have another great example of your tax dollars at work. Your tax dollars helped to pay for the explosives, as well as Tamerlan's at least two trips back to Dagestan, his late-model Mercedes, his $900 shoes... How could welfare pay that much money?  How can welfare pay for all this?  Okay, let's say welfare didn't pay for all of it.  If they're able to get this other stuff, what are they doing on welfare in the first place, is the question?

April 24, 2013

The $101,813 egg.

Partly fossilized, laid by an elephant bird, auctioned recently.

"Madagascar's giant, flightless elephant birds were once a common sight on the island, certainly up until the 17th century. It is generally believed that the elephant bird's extinction resulted from human activity, perhaps not surprising when one of their giant eggs would have fed an entire family."

"In Monte Alto near La Democracia, Escuintla, giant stone heads and potbellies (or barrigones) have been found..."

"... dating back to around 1800 BC. The stone heads have been ascribed to the Pre-Olmec Monte Alto Culture and some scholars suggest the Olmec Culture originated in the Monte Alto area. It has also been argued the only connection between the statues and the later Olmec heads is their size. The Monte Alto Culture may have been the first complex culture of Mesoamerica, and predecessor of all other cultures of the region. In Guatemala, there are some sites with unmistakable Olmec style, such as Chocolá in Suchitepéquez, La Corona, in Peten, and Tak'alik A´baj, in Retalhuleu, the last of which is the only ancient city in the Americas with Olmec and Mayan features."

In Guatemala, today's "History of" country.

If Gosnell is not convicted...

... it will help the pro-life movement.

People love themselves... and people love babies... and people love water...

Even the old lady becomes young.

"In a surprise move, the defense in the Kermit Gosnell murder trial has rested without calling a single witness."

"The news comes on the heals of a clarification by Judge Jeffery P. Minehart about a mix-up in the dismissal of one of the murder charges yesterday."

It's all in the closing arguments. What would you argue if Gosnell were your client?

I want a shoplifter, just like the shoplifter...

... that married my old man.

ADDED: Just noticing I got the lyrics wrong. Based on Meade singing it in response to the linked story. I should have written: that married dear old dad. In case you don't get the allusion. (Skip ahead to 1:18 if you lack patience for this kind of old-timey nonsense.)

AND: If the girl that married dear old dad was Ozzie's Harriet, you'd sing it like this:

What are mystery clouds?

In the tradition of "What’s a crash blossom?," I present this clipping from the Christian Science Monitor's front page:

The photograph with ominous clouds directs the mind to see "clouds" as a noun, but the story has nothing at all to do with clouds.

"Man who died in blast lived in foil-wrapped home, filmed neighbors."

"... About 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Costa Mesa police were called to Harris’ home for a report of a man down. When they got there, Harris got up and went back inside. He told police he was fine, and he was wearing a hat that said in effect, 'I don’t need any help,' said Sgt. Jerry Hildeman."

To all those UW students who ran wild 2 years ago protesting Scott Walker.

"Gov. Scott Walker plans to ask the Legislature to freeze tuition in the University of Wisconsin System in light of reports of $650 million in reserves."

"Canada terror suspect does not recognize 'criminal code.'"

NY Post headline after Chiheb Esseghaier said: "My comment is the following because all of those conclusions were taken out based on criminal code and all of us know that this criminal code is not a holy book.... We cannot rely on the conclusions taken out from these judgments."

The headline makes Esseghaier sound confused or nutty and the words are garbled, but it's easy to perceive the age-old argument that the accused doesn't recognize the authority of the court because he answers to what is to him a higher authority. It's a great argument when facing an evil authority and a legal code that's insufficiently connected to morality.

"The executive editor of The New York Times was upset about the paper’s recent news coverage... it wasn’t 'buzzy' enough..."

Reports Politico, buzzily.
[The editor, Jill Abramson] placed blame on [Dean] Baquet, her managing editor. A debate ensued, which gave way to an argument. Minutes later, Baquet burst out of Abramson’s office, slammed his hand against a wall, and stormed out of the newsroom....

In recent months, Abramson has become a source of widespread frustration and anxiety within the Times newsroom. More than a dozen current and former members of the editorial staff, all of whom spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, described her as stubborn and condescending, saying they found her difficult to work with...

“Every editor has a story about how she’s blown up in a meeting,” one reporter said. “Jill can be impossible,” said another staffer....

“I think there’s a really easy caricature that some people have bought into, of the bitchy woman character and the guy who is sort of calmer,” [Dean Baquet] said. “That, I think, is a little bit of an unfair caricature.”
The anonymous and the named. Who are you going to believe?
If Abramson is disengaged, Baquet is just the opposite: He cares about newsroom morale and he cares about being liked, staffers say....

Increasingly, it is Baquet, not Abramson, to whom staffers turn when they’re seeking a litmus test of the Times’ future. Where Abramson’s approach has caused anxiety, Baquet’s ability to march forward has provided reassurance.
Hmm. Seems like a coup.

"[I]f Reddit is actually interested in using the power of its crowd to help the authorities, it needs to dramatically rethink its approach..."

"... because the process it used to try to find the bombers wasn’t actually tapping the wisdom of crowds at all—at least not as I would define that wisdom. For a crowd to be smart, the people in it need to be not only diverse in their perspectives but also, relatively speaking, independent of each other. In other words, you need people to be thinking for themselves, rather than following the lead of those around them.... The problem from Reddit’s perspective, of course, is that this method of sleuthing would be far less exciting for users, and would probably generate less traffic, than its current free-for-all approach."

The intersection of Comics Curmudgeon and Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

Comics Curmudgeon, April 23, 2013, reads "Beetle Bailey":

Haha, are you tired of dry, lifeless hamburgers, Sarge? Why not enjoy this burger? It’s made up of flesh that’s been shredded into innumerable tendrils by an enormous industrial meat grinder; yet somehow, impossibly, that flesh is still alive, still moving, those tendrils writhing and squirming. The abomination has no eyes, so it cannot see, yet somehow it still senses the presence of another living thing, and so it drags itself impossibly across the plate, leaving an oozing trail of blood behind. It moves ever so slowly, and Sarge is paralyzed in terror as it twitches towards him. It hungers, he knows; it hungers for revenge, and to feed. He feels the clammy touch as the leading edge of this pulsating meat-mass touches his hand. He wants to run, wants to scream. But he cannot.
NYT, April 23, 2013: "Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Is Cleared on Some Counts."
Dr. Gosnell’s lawyer, Jack J. McMahon... dismissed prosecutors’ arguments that an arm movement by one of the fetuses, known as Baby C, indicated that it was alive. He said that the movement was “one spasm” but that the fetus was not breathing....

But Edward Cameron, an assistant district attorney, said that Baby C responded and “pulled back” when touched by medical staff. “That’s voluntary movement, and that’s all the law requires,” Mr. Cameron said. “That baby was alive.”... Mr. Cameron also highlighted the case of Baby D, which he said was 10 to 15 inches long and had a head “as big as a pancake.” It was moving when it was delivered into a toilet, Mr. Cameron said.

"Mr. Joyce was not teaching early Egyptian perversions nor inventing new ones."

"Girls lean back everywhere, showing lace and silk stockings; wear low-cut sleeveless blouses, breathless bathing suits; men think thoughts and have emotions about these things everywhere — seldom as delicately and imaginatively as Mr. Bloom (in the 'Nausicaa' episode) — and no one is corrupted."

Funny the way literature was defended on the ground that it wasn't going to affect us. But that was a literary device, used to portray the social conservative as unsophisticated — cringing at phantoms.

"Much of my life has been spent in the effort to live by more coherent ideas. I even know which ones."

A line from Saul Bellow's "Herzog," quoted by Joshua Rothman in a New Yorker article titled "The Impossible Decision," about deciding whether to go to grad school.

"The real issue we have with admitting that college is not a path to the work world is then we have to ask ourselves why we send our kids to high school."

"There is plenty of data to show that teens are able to manage their lives without the constraints of school."
The book Escaping the Endless Adolescence is chock full of data, and a recent article by my favorite journalist, Jennifer Senior, shows that high school is not just unnecessary, but actually damaging to teens who need much more freedom to grow than high school affords.

Speaking of "plush."

The word "plush" came up — searching for "lush" — in the last post, and if you're here in Wisconsin, you instinctively ask: Whatever happened to Tony Plush?

Answer: He's in Japan, playing for the Yokohama BayStars.
[Nyjer] Morgan’s reputation precedes him. The 32-year-old has a fun-loving personality and it shows. He celebrates successful plays with zeal and his alter-ego “Tony Plush,” is usually only a nice catch or big hit away from making his presence felt.
Here's a mention of Morgan in the context of the recent incident in which Carlos Quentin charged Zack Greinke and broke his collarbone:
What's especially interesting is how Greinke does not want to come clean about what he said to antagonize Carlos Quentin immediately after the beaning.
"I'm just not going to get involved in that conversation at all. I know you guys have to do your jobs and get information, but I just don't think it's right to bring everything through," Greinke said. "I made a mistake one time talking about Carpenter, but I felt bad about that afterwards. It's just not anyone else's business."
Ignoring the fact that Greinke claims to know that it's somebody's job to get him to speak and later claims it to be nobody's business, he does mention the Chris Carpenter incident....

Amazingly, Zack Greinke came to Nyjer Morgan's defense in this case.
"I don't know," Greinke said. "They think [Chris Carpenter's] presence, his attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude. But ... and then he yells at people. He just stares people down and stuff. And most pitchers just don't do that.

"And I never touched a living body cold as the Rube there in Philly... I decided to lop him off if it meant a smother party."

"(This is a rural English custom designed to eliminate aged and bedfast dependents. A family so afflicted throws a 'smother party' where the guests pile mattresses on the old liability, climb up on top of the mattresses and lush themselves out.) The Rube is a drag on the industry and should be 'led out' into the skid rows of the world. (This is an African practice. Official known as the 'Leader Out' has the function of taking old characters out into the jungle and leaving them there.)"

Something William S. Burroughs wrote in "Naked Lunch," which I was reading this morning in my iPhone after running across this in today's NYT:
In 1965, Mr. de Grazia went to Boston to appeal a court ban of William S. Burroughs’s sexually explicit novel “The Naked Lunch.” He summoned literary lions like Norman Mailer and Allen Ginsberg to testify about the book’s artistic worth and won his argument, that genius should never be curbed because of differences over taste or morality.

The book, published in 1959, was the last work of fiction to be censored by the Postal Service, the Customs Service and state governments.
Edward de Grazia — who also fought in the Supreme Court for our right to read Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" and to see "I Am Curious (Yellow)" — has died at the age of 86.

Here's his book: "Girls Lean Back Everywhere: The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius."

"I want to know what anybody wants to know. You see these two schmucky looking guys in baseball caps and one's just outta high school..."

"...and a kind of a not-so-great college student. One kid is 26 and is a boxer, and people know them. You want to form a picture. You want to understand. This is not a question — I was getting hammered on Twitter by some right-wing groups that somehow I was sympathetic with them.  This is ridiculous.  I wasn't sympathetic with people who do something so horrendous and cruel and kill people and had plans for more.  But there's the human impulse to want to try to understand the — maybe something that's impossible to understand."

Said the New Yorker's David Remnick to PBS's Charlie Rose, in audio played by Rush Limbaugh, who proceeded to do the very thing Remnick sought sympathy for: hammer him from the right:
You know what's rooted in this wanting to understand?  'Cause, frankly, I don't care why people commit crimes.  I frankly am not interested.  They're perverts, they're psychopaths, they're sociopaths, I don't care why they did it.  I want 'em punished.  But these guys want to find out because in their minds there must be some justification for it.  There's gotta be some reason they did it that makes sense.  And then they make the move into what is it about us that they hate?  Or what is it about America that they hate that would justify this?  And we do seminars, "Why do they hate us?"  Seminars, trying to examine why sociopaths, psychopaths hate us.  Or, in this case, a couple of radicalized Muslims. 

The theatrical mother of the Boston bombers.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva performs for the press.
"[FBI agents] came and asked him, what are you doing, what are you up to?" she recalled. "They said Tamerlan was an influential lad, he had the personality of a leader and they asked me, 'Don't you have any thoughts that he could organise some kind of group of a terrorist persuasion?'"

"They said they'd seen what kind of videos he'd been looking at. And they told me that they keep young leaders among Muslims under control so there aren't any bombings, so that they don't fall under someone's influence."

"It is really, really a hard thing to hear. And being a mother, what I can say is that I am really sure, I am, like, 100 percent sure, that this is a set-up."

Are you, like, 100 percent sure of anything?

April 23, 2013

Boxing to blame for Boston bombing?

The battered brain of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

"Mr. Mower tracked their sex life in a notebook he kept in his nightstand."

"He drew a chart and filled in different-shaped dots to represent various scenarios: He initiated sex but was declined. They planned on sex but didn't follow through. They actually had sex. Mr. Mower says he was rebuffed 95% of the time; his wife says his memory is highly subjective. He became grumpy, gained weight and stopped wanting to come home at night. 'For me to feel good about myself, I needed her to have sex with me,' he says. 'Otherwise I thought she didn't love me.'"

From a WSJ article titled "How Often Should Married Couples Have Sex?/When He Says 'More' And She Says No," linked by Instapundit with the line: "It’s the whole maintenance sex discussion again. As usual, the MSM is just catching up with InstaPundit."

I say: It's fine to recommend having sex just because your partner wants it, but I'm afraid there are some really unappealing sex-wanting partners out there. Remember this one was ready to out himself in the Wall Street Journal — keeping a graph in the nightstand, going into passive-aggressive mode. Hello? She's not attracted to you! And your solution is to become more and more unattractive? (Pic at link: Beard without a mustache?!)

In the story, the man reads a book called "The Passionate Marriage," decides he needs to "let myself feel what I really felt," and gives her the book to read. She says, we're told, that "reading a book about sex made her feel sexy." Well, at least the book made her feel sexy.

By the way, he's a blogger. Connect the dots. Why is he telling this grisly story and posing for bare-lipped photos in the WSJ? I presume it's a book project.

"Ricin Suspect Released from Jail: Was He Framed?"

"Two sources had earlier confirmed to Fox News that the FBI was looking into the possibility that he might have been framed as part of a grudge against him from someone in his neighborhood. A detention hearing for Paul Kevin Curtis that was scheduled for Tuesday has also been postponed."

ADDED: Let's look back to reports after the arrest, which came when people were very keyed up about murderers/terrorists on the loose after the Boston bombing:
If guilty, Curtis didn't cover his tracks very well. The arrest was based on information gathered "very early on," an official tells The New York Times. Presumably that information includes Curtis' use of his actual initials, KC, in the letter.

In fact, Curtis left enough breadcrumbs that a conservative website, Lady Liberty 1885, apparently fingered Curtis hours before the FBI announced his arrest, just through internet sleuthing. Curtis' Facebook posts include both the sign-off used in the ricin letters to Wicker and Obama — "This is KC and I approve this message" — and, according to Lady Liberty, the same quote: "To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance."
In retrospect, these clues work as evidence of framing. Take someone's Facebook catchphrases and put them in the letter....

"French lawmakers have legalized same-sex marriage after months of bruising debate and street protests that brought hundreds of thousands to Paris."

"Tuesday’s 331-225 vote came in the Socialist majority National Assembly...."

Purchase of the day.

From the April 22, 2013 Amazon Associates Report:
Tsunami Ultra-strong Aluminum Pliers 7.5"
By using the Althouse portal, you can buy things you want, pay nothing extra, and make a contribution to this blog. We notice. We appreciate it. And only if you shout it from a mountaintop will we know it's you.

The Althouse Amazon portal: titanium coated, spring loaded, and always ergonomically correct.

Joining the news team, as inauspiciously as possible.

"As if things couldn't get worse for A.J. 'Fuckin' Shit' Clemente, it seemed as if he prefaced his profanity with the usage of 'gay" in an exasperated, derogatory tone."

Nate Silver discerns that Democrats won't be able to take advantage of the gun-control vote in the 2014 elections.

Lots of analysis. Bottom line:
[P]olls showing 90 percent support for background checks will tend to overstate how well the Democrats’ position might play out before the electorate in practice, though public opinion was on their side on this vote.

Moreover, few of the Republican senators who are up for re-election in 2014 are vulnerable for any reason.... In fact, the safety of the Senate Republicans may have enabled them to vote against the amendment, at least in part, for a tactical reason: to protect their colleagues in the House. This is not to suggest that Republicans are likely to lose the House — but there are 17 House Republicans in districts carried by President Obama last year. By preventing the background-check bill from securing the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate, the Republicans may have prevented their House counterparts from having to take a tough vote....

At the Trout Lily Café...


... there's a new golden tinge to the brown-gray forest floor.

In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson invented his own sleeping bag.

"A sort of long roll or sausage, green waterproof-cart cloth without and blue sheep's fur within."

From an illustrated collection of snippets about famous writers and the walks they took.

"Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Finance Committee, will retire from the Senate after 36 years..."

"... becoming the sixth Senate Democrat to leave the chamber in the 2014 elections, according to Democratic officials close to the senator."
[T]he Democrats will now be defending open seats in Iowa, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota and West Virginia.
Seeing the news this morning, I felt I already knew that. I had to look up what I'd written a few days ago about Baucus (when he called the implementation of Obama care "a huge train wreck coming down").  That referred to an article that had this paragraph:
A six-term veteran, Baucus expects a tough re-election in 2014. He’s still trying to recover from approval ratings that nosedived amid displeasure with the health care law in his home state.
So do the Democrats risk losing the Senate?
During the last midterm elections in 2010, the GOP picked up a net six senate seats. 

The Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case is now the only undecided case argued in October.

SCOTUSblog tells us, after live-blogging the announcement of Moncrieffe v. Holder this morning. Moncrieffe, a case about the meaning of "aggravated felony" under the immigration law, was written by Justice Sotomayor, and that makes it extremely likely that Justice Kennedy is writing the hotly anticipated Fisher case:
[T]he Court tries very hard to distribute the authorship of majority opinions evenly not just over the course of the Term, but also within a sitting (the two-week periods from October through April when the Court hears oral argument). So going into today, Justices Kennedy and Sotomayor were the only Justices without majority opinions in October.... Now he's the only one without an October opinion, which leads to the assumption that he is writing Fisher
Does this help predict the outcome of the case? Here's my effort, from last October, to read Justice Kennedy at the oral argument. Remember, Texas has a very odd kind of affirmative action, adding an individualized approach, with race as a plus factor, after a facially neutral program that admits the top 10% of students from every Texas high school. At oral argument, Kennedy focused on the detail that the additional race-based selection was done to bring in more privileged black and Hispanic students, because the 10% program tended to admit underprivileged blacks and Hispanics (which reinforced a stereotype about black and Hispanic people). I said at the time (referring to the Court's most recent affirmative action case, Grutter):

"Is It Time for Off-the-Shelf Birth-Control Pills?"

A NYT "news analysis" written by its environment and health reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal plays off the news that "a federal judge recently ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the morning-after pill available to women of all ages without a prescription." We're told that was "a political embarrassment for the Obama administration."

Was it a political embarrassment? I thought it was exactly what is helpful to the Obama administration. Instead of being responsible for cheapening contraception and perhaps risking women's health in the process, Obama et al. can say the judge made it happen. It's great political cover.

The NYT on CNN: "The Pressure to Be the TV News Leader Tarnishes a Big Brand."

An article by David Carr focuses on CNN's incorrect report last Wednesday that there had been an arrest in the Boston bombing. Carr is sympathetic:
The incrementalism and vamping required to fill the hours — “Again, as we have been saying, Anderson ... ” — makes everyone desperate to say anything vaguely new.

Throughout the week, I saw anchors and reporters staring at their phones, hoping a new nugget might arrive to give them something to say.... And the live environment means that at a certain point, the bosses have to quit shouting into the ear piece, trusting their staff and crossing their fingers.
Oddly — but not surprisingly — the article ends with Obama. I say "not surprisingly" because all roads lead to Obama. Everything is about Obama. But I say "oddly," because the story is about CNN, journalism, and the Boston bombing. There should not be a sense that these themes are resolved by looking to what Obama thinks or what it means for Obama.

April 22, 2013

"I Am Only Going Into Another Room..."

#101, on a list of 101 ways tombstones say "died." (Via Metafilter.)

Goodbye to Richie Havens.

The wonderful singer and guitarist — the first act at Woodstock — was 72.

I saw him in concert not long after that, on November 1, 1969 in Ann Arbor, opening for Laura Nyro. Quite beautiful, those 2, each performing the theater of getting enraptured and carried away by the music.

At the Sandhill Café...


... wade in.

Purchase of the day.

From the April 21, 2013 Amazon Associates Report:
Ambient Weather WS-1171 Wireless Advanced Weather Station with Temperature, Dew Point, Barometer and Humidity
By using the Althouse portal, you can buy things you want, pay nothing extra, and make a contribution to this blog. We notice. We appreciate it. And only if you spell it out in Morse code will we know it's you.

The Althouse Amazon portal: because even MadisonMan sometimes needs a weather radio to know which way the wind blows. Especially when he must have to stand naked.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "will not be treated as an enemy combatant."

"We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney moments ago.

It should be noted that those who've been saying Tsarnaev should be treated as an enemy combatant were not saying that he should be given a military trial, since current statutory law doesn't permit that.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham... was suggesting that the administration label him an "enemy combatant" for purposes of intelligence gathering. Graham conceded it's not yet clear whether he could qualify as one -- to do so, the government would need to prove he was linked to Al Qaeda or an Al Qaeda-linked group.
The real question is how to extract information, and I'm not seeing that Carney has addressed that. Talk of the "civilian system of justice" here is a distraction.

"We wanted to give people a sense of not only where to put their sexual organs, but where to put their arms and legs."

"If you have never seen a movie, never read a book, how are you supposed to know what you do?... It's a very useful book for people who were raised religious and have never received any form of sexuality education..."
Instead there is a sealed envelope on the back flap, with a warning to readers that it contains sexual diagrams. If you don't want to look at them, you can rip off the envelope and throw it away....

There are three diagrams of basic sexual positions.... The sketches are simple: outlined figures with no faces.

Rand Paul demands that the immigration debate focus on terrorism.

"I believe that any real comprehensive immigration reform must implement strong national security protections. The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don't use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.... [N]ational security protections must be rolled into comprehensive immigration reform to make sure the federal government does everything it can to prevent immigrants with malicious intent from using our immigration system to gain entry into the United States in order to commit future acts of terror."

"Julien Fédon, a mixed race owner of the Belvedere estate in the St. John Parish, launched a rebellion against British rule on the night of 2nd March 1795..."

"... with coordinated attacks on the towns of Grenville, La Baye and Gouyave. Fédon was clearly influenced by the ideas emerging from the French Revolution..."
... especially the Convention's abolition of slavery in 1794: he stated that he intended to make Grenada a "Black Republic just like Haiti." Fédon and his troops controlled all of Grenada except the parish of St George's, the seat of government, between March 1795 and June 1796. During those insurgent months 14,000 of Grenada's 28,000 slaves joined the revolutionary forces in order to write their own emancipation and transform themselves into "citizens"; some 7,000 of these self-liberated slaves would perish in the name of freedom. Fédon's forces were defeated by the British in late 1796, but Fédon himself was never caught and his fate is unknown.
Grenada is the next "History of" country, as we resume our alphabetical progression the the "History of" Wikipedia pages for the 206 countries of the world.

IN THE COMMENTS: bagoh20 said: "Is that outfit ever appropriate in Grenada near the equator?" And Anniella said: "That's an amazing painting, but there's a very good reason he's so bundled up," linking here.
In 1819, Charles Willson Peale headed down to Washington to paint portraits of President James Monroe, Henry Clay, and other dignitaries for exhibition in the famed Peale museum located in Independence Hall. But there was another sitter the painter wanted to snare on his trip.

"I heard of a Negro who is living in Georgetown said to be 140 years of age," Peale wrote in his diary. "He is comfortable in his Situation having Bank stock and lives in his own house."

The man was Yarrow Mamout, a free African, a Muslim who indeed held bank stock, purchased with great effort to secure a comfortable old age - after a life of abduction and bondage...
So... it's not Julien Fédon. I had my doubts, and I won't take advantage of the lame excuse — though I thought of it when I decided to use that picture — that I never actually say that's Julien Fédon. I'm glad to hear of Yarrow Mamout and I love the painting.
"Yarrow owns a house & lotts and is known by most of the Inhabitants of Georgetown & particularly by the Boys who are often teazing him which he takes in good humour," Peale confided in his diary. "The acquaintance of him often banter him about eating Bacon and drinking Whiskey - but Yarrow says it is no good to eat Hog - & drink whiskey is very bad."

"Dressed in a leopard print hijab she darted into the white shingle house to collect some belongings and her pet cat..."

I see you've got your brand-new leopard skin print hijab....

It's Katherine Russell, the widow Tamerlan Tsarnaev.  "She was just this All-American girl who was brainwashed by her super-religious husband. Nobody understands what happened to her." She was the daughter of a Rhode Island doctor and nurse. She "dreamed of going to college and joining the Peace Corps."

Brainwashed. Are you buying that or do you think that Peace Corps aspirationalists are just the kind of American kids who feel drawn to the idea of becoming the other?

I tend to think people are responsible for their own choices.

They said "they were the Boston Marathon bombers and would not kill him because he wasn't American."

Says the driver of the hijacked SUV.

The clear inference is that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were motivated by a specific hatred of Americans... in case you'd been led to think that the Chechen dispute is with Russia.

"Coach is a good proxy for mid-to-upper-income and so-called aspirational spenders world-wide."

"Coach is 'a style that conveys a sense of treating oneself,' said Paul Swinand, retail analyst at Morningstar Inc. MORN -0.49% 'There are a lot of people that find it very compelling.'"

The link goes to a WSJ article that requires a subscription. I can give you a link that will work in case you want to do some aspirational spending. Or maybe you'd just like to talk about the concept of aspirational spending.

Is aspirational spending something we should be happy to see — a signifier of optimism — or something we should decry? Here's an article from 2010 declaring the "aspirational consumer" dead:
"Aspirational marketing is a technique in which the goal is to sell items to people who can’t afford it." Ouch.

"Marketers have long known that we have an aspirational society, and they've gone heavily after those consumers," observed Claire Ratushny, a brand-positioning consultant based in Eastford, Conn.

"Now, 'aspirational’ is a dirty word."
Should we buy a slightly expensive handbag as a way to say it's 2013 and we're feeling fine? The audacity of hope, baby! "Hope" is the thing with feathers... and handbags.

Do aspirationalistas leave the tag on?

"It was kind of hard to hear somebody say, 'Don't wash that wound. You might wash evidence away.'"

"Barrett cleaned shrapnel and nails from the wounds of some victims, side by side with law enforcement investigators who wanted to examine wounds for blast patterns. The investigator's request took him aback at first. 'I wasn't stopping to think, "What could be in this wound that could give him a lead?"'"

"Elimination communication" — babies without diapers — "is finding an audience in the hipper precincts of New York City."

"Ms. Shapiro, who is a doula, a birth and child-rearing coach, says it is practically now a job qualification to at least be able to offer diaper-free training as an option to clients. Caribou Baby, an 'eco-friendly maternity, baby and lifestyle store' on the border of artsy Greenpoint and Williamsburg, has been drawing capacity crowds to its diaper-free 'Meetups,' where parents exchange tips like how to get a baby to urinate on the street between parked cars."

It's Earth Day, baby. Catch up with the hipsters! Get cracking! Or do you not even know what a doula is? Well? Do you or don't you? Do you doo doo with a doula?

If you had to choose a dimension within which to aspire toward hipness, would you choose poop? Perhaps there's something especially hip about expressing lofty aspirations in the lowliest medium.

So that's why Hollywood has been subjecting us to such horrible trash!

They thought the Chinese would love it!
Hollywood’s global business strategy, which counts on huge ticket sales in China for high-budget fantasies in 3-D and large-screen Imax formats, is coming unhinged....

[E]xecutives and China watchers... suspect... a rapid evolution in the tastes of Chinese audiences, which are quickly turning away from the spectacles American companies have assumed they crave.

“I know what they don’t seem to want,” said Rob Cain, who runs Chinafilmbiz.com and is a consultant to producers and others doing business in China. “They don’t want the same old thing, over and over again, the action blockbusters with lots of explosions.”
These Hollywood bastards shortchanged Americans and catered to a foreign audience that they looked down on as unsophisticated. And now the scheme has gone kablooey, like a predictable plot twist in movie aimed at dummies.

Two big thumbs up for poetic justice!

Earth Day, redux.




"Robert Earl Holding... and his wife were known to bus tables at their ski resorts..."

Robert Earl Holding... "who died Friday at age 86, parlayed a struggling motel into an empire of ski resorts and hotels, oil refining and retailing, and real-estate holdings in Montana and Wyoming that placed him among the top landowners in the U.S. He was No. 139 on the Forbes list of U.S. billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion."
Raised in Salt Lake City, Mr. Holding was the son of an apartment maintenance man. His family lost their savings in the stock-market crash of 1929 and Mr. Holding remained reluctant to take on debt, even as his business empire blossomed....

Mr. Holding got his start managing Little America, a 60-room motel and gas station on Interstate 80 in Green River, Wyo., in the early 1950s. He converted the business into a heavily advertised truck stop. Targeting the developing interstate highway system, he opened more Little Americas in Arizona and Salt Lake City....

Earth Day.

The Google doodle is charming.

What are you doing for Earth Day?

Me, I'm waking up pre-dawn, making a cup of coffee, and watching the sun rise through the larger window that is my picture window which is partly blocked by the smaller window that is my computer screen, and I'm blogging about the happenstance that what the window to the larger world displays is a story about an oak tree as the window to my smaller world looks out onto an oak tree.


Our oak tree, which I hope will stay upright for many more years, is very old, but nowhere nearly as old as the oldest oak in Wales, which got blown down last Wednesday night:
The oldest oak in Wales – and probably one of the oldest oak trees in northern Europe – has grown in the Ceiriog Valley near Chirk, north Wales, since 802 and measured 12.9m in girth. Legend states that the Welsh prince Owain Gwynedd rallied his army under the tree in 1157, before defeating the English King Henry ll at the nearby battle of Crogen, and that the tree was spared when Henry had his men cut down the Ceiriog woods in 1165.