July 13, 2013


The trending hashtag.

Frankly, I think these are Twitter idiots who don't represent much of anything that real people are actually even thinking of trying to do. It's Saturday night, and the country is swamped with drunks. And a lot of the tweets with that hashtag are using it to say that it's stupid/evil.

Note: No one is rioting. I heard predictions that there would be riots, and I always thought these predictions were unseemly (if not actively racist). After the verdict was announced, CNN had a reporter in the crowd outside the courthouse, seemingly looking for angry black people to interview — and not finding any.

Verdict reached in the Zimmerman trial: Not guilty.

Watching now.

UPDATE: Not guilty.

ADDED: Earlier this evening, I went back over all of my posts on this case, because I wanted to check my work and see that I had been careful and consistent. Here's the first post. And I said a lot of what I wanted to say back on March 31, 2012, in this diavlog with Bob Wright — resisting the political exploitation and excessive emotion around the case:

"You vandal."


So reads the caption...


... under the fox painted on the pillar that holds up the highway...


... under which we passed as we biked the Capital City Trail today.

"If Zimmerman is convicted, there should not be inappropriate celebrations because a young man lost his life."

"If Zimmerman is not convicted, avoid violence because it only leads to more tragedies. Self-destruction is not the road to reconstruction."

Said Jesse Jackson, shedding some new light on the problem of exulting at a conviction. There's been much speculation — some of it stupid and ugly — about how Zimmerman's antagonists will react if he's acquitted. But think about how they'll react if he's found guilty. That could produce video that will be used to embarrass and attack those who pushed for the prosecution. It will be hard for people like Jackson to deal with the outcome they sought. I suspect that an acquittal will provide them with the better material for future political enterprises.

"3 Mammals That 'Choose' Their Babies’ Sex."

Yes, one of the 3 is the human being.

Interesting use of the word "choose." I assume that's intended to resonate with the right to choose, and the argument is something like: The vaal rhebok and the francois’ langur are doing it too, so we ought go all out with the sex-selection technology — abortions and all. Don't let the beasts get the jump on us!

We used to try to rise above the animals — they also "choose" infanticide and other murder — but that's been turned around. Now, we fuzzily yearn to emulate what we see in the natural world.

And by "see," I mean seeing what we want to see — typical human style. Any other animal indulging in our kind of see-what-you-want-to-see perceptions would have gone extinct long ago.

On the wings of giant ants, high above the 9th-floor rough-hewn floorboards, the first shall be last in order to be first again and other contra-Jesus notions.

"Rodriguez and the other bug mongers of San Juan offer their wares as 'pre-Hispanic' foods, a nod to the Aztecs, Mixtecs and other civilizations that flourished for millennia here on diets rich in grubs, grasshoppers and other edible invertebrates."
Insect-eating was long regarded with shame and disgust by elite Mexicans who viewed the practice as a vestige of rural backwardness. But bugs have crawled onto the menus of some of the country’s most celebrated eateries in recent years, as top chefs seek out esoteric regional ingredients for cuisine known as “alta mexicana” (high-end Mexican).

“These are foods that were eaten in pre-Hispanic times because there wasn’t meat, but now they’re seen as luxurious,” said Lesley Tellez, a food writer who leads tours of Mexico's markets and kitchens....
What is lowly will become lofty. What is lofty lowly. When the common people have beef and pork, the high-class people will pay $225 a pound for giant winged ants (chicatanas). When the masses of workers are sitting at desks, reading and writing, the literary writers will angst and relocate their elite enterprise onto the floor, back in that corner:

"Screw Your Standing Desk!"

Hey, that felt personal! Because I've been conspicuous with all the "Look at me at my standing desk."

So here's Ben Crair in The New Republic with his "sitter's manifesto." But he's not saying "screw your standing desk" to people like me who like our own standing desks. He's talking to the health engineers and government nannies who would take away other people's chairs and declare that henceforth all must work standing up. He says:

"We have become a world of squares."

David emails, answering my question "What has rectilinearity done to our minds?" (My question was based on an article about how modern life is beset by rectangles — buildings, rooms, tables, beds — unlike ancient human life which was full of circles.)

"Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining, and Other Affairs of Plain Living."

Subtitle of "The Foxfire Book," which was published in 1972, collecting the best of Foxfire magazine (which was famous enough to make me forever incapable of remembering the name of one of my internet browsers, Firefox).

I'm noticing the book this morning because it's one of the things that readers of this blog bought using my portal to Amazon (which is always at the top of the blog, in the banner).

"The market has this natural tendency to commoditize things. There’s no longer a face, a place, it’s just quinoa."

You have to understand why that's supposed to be a problem, and how people are scampering to fix it.
"We’re at this inflection point where we want people to know where their quinoa is coming from, and the consumer actually is willing to pay them a little more so they do put their kids through school."
"They" = Bolivian farmers, who after centuries of eating something that was just the only grain they could grow find the whole world clamoring for the stuff as if it's special.

There's a shortage now, but there's a glut coming, as farmers in other places — like Canada — start growing quinoa, using modern farming equipment. Will the Bolivan farmers update their farming methods? Or will their dealers succeed in convincing you that ancient Bolivian artisan-grown quinoa is worth twice as much?

"As protesters came to the Capitol building in Austin on Friday, bottles of urine and feces, and even tampons..."

"... were confiscated by state troopers as they tried to prevent anything from disrupting the debate."
Those attending the debate were searched, and any item that could potentially be thrown from the gallery, including tampons, were confiscated, according to the Washington Post.

A senator later stopped security officials confiscating tampons, calling the move 'bone headed.' However, Texas Department of Public Safety officers were reported to have found one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected of holding feces and three jars suspected to contain paint.
The photos — at the link — of the protests over abortion restrictions look like the old 2011 Wisconsin protests. There was even the chanting of "Shame! Shame! Shame!"

Note how the word "suspected" is slipped into the text further down. [ADDED: It's not in the quote in the post title.] Are we to wonder what was in those jars? 18 of them makes it sound like a coordinated plan. Were the jars opened and sniffed?

Something has an off smell.

July 12, 2013

Getting there.


"Really? Really?"

Could someone make a video clipping together every time Mark O'Mara said "Really? Really?" sarcastically during his 3 hours of closing argument in the Zimmerman case today? The first "really?" got a high pitch, and the second one got a low pitch. An awful lot of argument was made in the form of stating some contention of the prosecutor's and then saying "Really? Really?" in a style that I would associate with an annoying 20-year-old woman. I'm waiting for middle-aged lawyers to adopt creaky voice.

"A kind of madness is pushing us to the future, in a good way."

"This is a book of the future, now. I didn’t know that until it was done. People say that this new generation is so used to the Internet that their heads are already different. They can’t read a book from beginning to end. That is not a tragedy. The book changes form.... It is short enough that you don’t have to think about reading a whole page, because there is no whole page."

Said Yoko Ono, promoting her new book "Acorn," which is like "Grapefruit," a book I think is quite wonderful.

"They went on to endure a violent rainsquall, stinging nettles that wrapped around their legs, and an agonizing five-hour wait..."

"... while John Franklin Riggs struggled against the tides and wicked currents in Tangier Sound to swim for help. There was also the sight of blue phosphorescent jellyfish, called sea combs, clinging to their hair and skin...."

"Frankly I had enjoyed the war."

Quote that ends "The best opening paragraph on Wikipedia."

"Vision is a form of cognition: the kinds of things we see shape the ways we think."

"That is why it is so hard to imagine the visual experience of our prehistoric ancestors, or, for that matter, the girls of nineteenth-century Malawi, who lived in a world without right angles. Inhabitants of, say, late Neolithic Orkney would only have seen a handful of perpendicular lines a day: tools, shaped stones, perhaps some simple geometric decoration on a pot. For the most part, their world was curved: circular buildings, round tombs, stone circles, rounded clay vessels."

What has rectilinearity done to our minds?

Escape from the Echinachea Café.



Today, out on the prairie in Governor Nelson State Park.

"Never... ever suggest they don't have to pay you."

"What they pay for, they'll value. What they get for free, they'll take for granted, and then demand as a right. Hold them up for all the market will bear."

"A crazy car-eating squirrel with an appetite for destruction has been terrorizing a south Florida family."

"The hungry critter — dubbed Munchy — has been biting fist-sized chunks of metal out of Nora Ziegler's SUV. It's already ripped two 6-inch panels out of her Toyota Sequoia and seems intent on eating more."

They've got 4 other cars that Munchy shuns, so I wouldn't say he's got an "appetite for destruction." He's got an appetite for Sequoia. He's a veritable connoisseur. The discerning Munchy. In fact, "Munchy" seems disrespectful. I'd call him Li'l Nibbles.

"Ball State already has a serious issue with creationism being taught as science by an astronomy professor, Hedin."

"Now they've hired another astronomy professor and creationist to teach science at their university, Gonzalez," says a Freedom From Religion Foundation lawyer.

Professor Gonzalez responds:
"As I communicated to members of the department during my interviews, I plan to continue my research on astrobiology and stellar astrophysics. I will not be discussing intelligent design (ID) in my classes (I didn't discuss ID at ISU either).... In my opinion, the controversy surrounding my hire is artificial -- largely generated by one activist blogger who is not an astronomer... Lastly, I need to reiterate that I was denied tenure at ISU not because of poor academics on my part, but for ideological and political reasons."
I'd say Gonzalez has the better side of this argument. Otherwise you'd be disqualifying even the most ordinary, mainstream religious believers from teaching science, creating fear of expressing the belief in God lest you become unemployable in your field.

(Notice that the FFR lawyer uses the term "creationism," and Gonzalez says "intelligent design.")

AND: Here's an old Slate article: "Creationism vs. Intelligent Design: Is there a difference?"

"Those H's and O's would love to get together and quench, making water, leaving the naked nitrogens to couple..."

"... making N2 which is essentially air. The chemical structure of ammonium nitrate is a depiction of air separating water. We never hear about spontaneous explosions of ammonium nitrate. Why is that?"

Answering that question and explaining why fertilizer bombs work ("because they do make air and water from ammonium nitrate").

"Big Sis: Bye."

Says Drudge, deploying an old nickname which he may never find reason to use again, as Janet Napolitano resigns her post as Secretary of Homeland Security to become president of the University of California system. Why do they want her out there for that?
[Napolitano is] an unusual choice that brings a national-level politician to a position usually held by an academic, the Times has learned. Her appointment also means the 10-campus system will be headed by a woman for the first time in its 145-year history.
It's not as though there aren't women among the academics, if the idea is Must. Have. Woman.

"O'Mara, who has no burden of proof says he will prove that his client is 100% innocent."

"Pretty risky tactic," says TalkLeft.

The closing argument is in progress right now, and even though George Zimmerman's lawyer said that, I can safely predict that when he gets to the end of his 3-hour lecture, he will assert that he has proved that his client is 100% innocent and yet your task as jurors is not to determine whether he's absolutely 100% innocent or even probably innocent or even probably guilty but only whether you have a reasonable doubt that he's guilty.

Surely, once you accept what the burden of proof is, the case becomes easy. I watched most of the prosecutor's closing argument yesterday, and he was acting like a defense lawyer punching holes in Zimmerman's version of the story. He created — in my mind — a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted in self-defense.

O'Mara can say: I've just obliterated any doubt Mr. de la Rionda might have created in your minds, and that would be enough for me to win now if I had the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There isn't even a reasonable doubt that my client acted in self-defense. And yet the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defense.

All the uproar about race is overwhelmed by the more mundane criminal process matter of burden of proof. I hope the general public understands that to acquit Zimmerman is not to say that Trayvon Martin is guilty — or even that he did anything wrong. It could be that each man misperceived the other and felt that his life was threatened. I understand the feeling that since Martin paid with his life for that mistake that Zimmerman should also pay, just to square it up. But that feeling can't rule the criminal process.

I hope the media help people to understand that and to calm the turmoil that this case has caused.

"Nice resumé, Mr. Hendrix..."

Found on the internet. Sorry, I don't know the cartoonist's name. It was presented the way I'm presenting it here. I can hardly complain, since I'm doing the same, but what else can I do? Found on the internet, like everything else that's merging and melting, flowing out and slithering wildly as they slip away across the internet....

It's that kind of experience.

I set out on a journey, looking for an image of a bad humanoid robot and I ran into that, from out there in the universe, dispensed by Google...

I continued my travels across the universe of the internet... and I never got there....

ADDED: An reader found another version of Hendrix image that identifies the cartoonist as Craig Swanson. There's a URL for his website, but it doesn't work.

Longing for a humanoid robot.

The NYT has this article titled "Modest Debut of Atlas May Foreshadow Age of 'Robo Sapiens.'" Key word: modest.
Although robotic planes already fill the air and self-driving cars are being tested on public roads, many specialists in robotics believe that the learning curve toward useful humanoid robots will be steep. Still, many see them fulfilling the needs of humans — and the dreams of science fiction lovers — sooner rather than later.

Walking on two legs, they have the potential to serve as department store guides, assist the elderly with daily tasks or carry out nuclear power plant rescue operations.
Mawkish sentimentality makes us want machines to look like people. Note the phrase "fulfilling the needs of humans." It hints of our emotional needs for love, friendship, and companionship in addition to all the difficult/dangerous/dull jobs we'd like robots to do for us.

The dreams of science fiction lovers... there's another phrase. Lovers. Dreams. And yet: science!

Oh, you sci-fi boys, you think you are about technology and manly dreams of complicated machinery. But you want love. Dreamy, creamy love.

The robot must be humanoid.

But you'll be aching for love a long time. The Pentagon's humanoid robot is modest.

"Meade will read this Comment to Ann and Ann Will Sigh. It Could Have Been Hers."

"One woman's refuse out the car window is another man's idea of making amends."

Okay... that's another approach to the end of comments, somehow creating another place where the same commenters can congregate and comment like they did back here in the old days when I had comments. Contrast that to Henry's approach — in the previous post.

ADDED: Meade comments at the first link, riffing on betamax who'd said: "Naked Bob Dylan Robot says: There is Eskimo Pain Deep in my Mid-Western Vowels, rumbles, gurgles: all the Pigeons Will Come to Me."
Vowels and bowels of angel hair
And Eskimo Pie hassles in the air
And pigeons pooping everywhere
I've looked at blogs that way

But now I'm simply paranoid
The spiders make me so annoyed
The many words I couldn't avoid
Blogs got in my way

I've looked at blogs from both sides now
From front and back, from kòu and tóu
It's blogs' intrusions I recall
I really don't like blogs at all

"The traveler never gets there."

Says Henry, commenting on last night's post about the traveler/tourist distinction.

Henry is a reader of this blog who has commented in the comments section here, back when my blog had comments, and who listened to what I said here:
I'm not going to endlessly discuss why I had to shut off comments on this blog. If anyone wants to argue with me...
Argue or otherwise talk to me...
... they can open up their own blog, write their comment there, link to me, and send me the link. I'll interact with them if they write well and say something interesting and not the same old thing that bogged down my comments section. That's essentially what Glenn [Reynolds] has done over the years — outsourcing the commenting. The would-be good commenters are to be bloggers themselves, and they need to show their stuff and be linkable, not hop on the high-readership platform that he's built up.
Or the semi-high-readership that I built up. It was, I said, time to run free of the semi-comfy home here at Althouse... time to travel... and never get there. I'm not there. I'm still traveling, and this next stretch of the road is narrow and rocky, and it's just me and Meade here in our little 2-seater. We can't drive a big busload over the terrain ahead.

As Henry said in his email to me, sharing that first link, above, it was perfectly easy to set up a Blogger blog. It might take one minute, and then you're off. Don't sit there in that old broken-down bus wondering when it will start up again. Climb out, stick out your thumb, and Google will whiz by presently and give you a ride.


It's a cool ride, and who knows where you'll go... and never get there.

July 11, 2013

"What do you think the difference is between a tourist and a traveler?"

"I think a tourist is usually someone who is on a time budget. A tourist is out to see sights, usually which have been enumerated for him in a guidebook. I think there’s a deeper degree of curiosity in a traveler."

So it's a continuum, and if you want to move to the extreme good side of that continuum, perhaps you ought never to leave your home town. The quote is from Philip Caputo, author of "The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, From Key West to the Arctic Ocean," and he's dialoguing with William Least Heat-Moon, author of "Blue Highways: A Journey into America."

Heat-Moon reframes the tourist/traveler distinction in terms of destinations: "let’s pick Arizona — those tourists are likely to head for the Grand Canyon, whereas a traveler in Arizona might light out for Willcox. Why somebody would want to visit Willcox, I don’t know, other than to see what’s there. Ask questions: Who was Willcox? What kind of place is it? A tidy little place, by the way."

You go to all that effort to drive way the hell out somewhere, and then you just check out some little towns? Why didn't you just go to all the little places within a close radius of your hometown? That's what doesn't make sense. Heat-Moon comes right out and admits he sees no sense in his own idea.

Here are these 2 big travel writers, and they trash the tourism and hew to the old cliché that one ought to be a traveler, not a tourist. But they can't really explain the worth of this travel that isn't tourism. Unspoken is the reality that for each of them, travel is their work, if they are travel writers. Those who get paid for a particular type of work may find it hard to explain the value of the activity to someone who isn't getting paid but must in fact pay.

They do recommend writing as a way to "deepen the travel" — but writing is a way to deepen whatever it is you do, wherever you are. How do you decide what it is you will do? Let's say you buy into the importance of depth. Is traveling around, going slowly, going to small places, journaling, really worthwhile? Most of our depth comes from the life we live at home, and if we were really observant we would never run out of things to perceive and contemplate at  home.

2 of my favorite quotes are on this topic. First, from my favorite movie "My Dinner with Andre":
I mean, you know, there was a time when you could have just, for instance, written, I don't know, Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen! 
Talk about close observation, sharp writing, and sticking within a short radius at home.
And I'm sure the people who read it had a pretty strong experience. I'm sure they did. I mean, all right, now you're saying that people today wouldn't get it, and maybe that's true, but, I mean, isn't there any kind of writing, or any kind of a play that--I mean: isn't it still legitimate for writers to try to portray reality so that people can see it? I mean, really! Tell me: why do we require a trip to Mount Everest in order to be able to perceive one moment of reality? I mean...I mean: is Mount Everest more "real" than New York? I mean, isn't New York "real"? I mean, you see, I think if you could become fully aware of what existed in the cigar store next door to this restaurant, I think it would just blow your brains out! I mean... I mean, isn't there just as much "reality" to be perceived in the cigar store as there is on Mount Everest? I mean, what do you think? You see, I think that not only is there nothing more real about Mount Everest, I think there's nothing that different, in a certain way. I mean, because reality is uniform, in a way. So that if you're--if your perceptions--I mean, if your own mechanism is operating correctly, it would become irrelevant to go to Mount Everest, and sort of absurd! Because, I mean, it's just--I mean, of course, on some level, I mean, obviously it's very different from a cigar store on Seventh Avenue, but I mean...
The other quote is from one of my favorite books, "Walden," by Henry David Thoreau: "I have travelled a good deal in Concord..." Concord! Not even Massachusetts. Concord. Of course, he didn't have a car.

But then again, he didn't have the internet.

Unspoken: Does Althouse ever leave Madison?

ADDED: A reader quotes my "Those who get paid for a particular type of work may find it hard to explain the value of the activity to someone who isn't getting paid but must in fact pay" and says that "made me think of this sublimely wonderful passage from Moby Dick":
Again, I always go to sea as a sailor, because they make a point of paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay passengers a single penny that I ever heard of. On the contrary, passengers themselves must pay. And there is all the difference in the world between paying and being paid. The act of paying is perhaps the most uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves entailed upon us. But being paid, -- what will compare with it? The urbane activity with which a man receives money is really marvellous, considering that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly ills, and that on no account can a monied man enter heaven. Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition!

"They don't have a candidate, but Democrats increasingly have a message for the 2014 gubernatorial race..."

"... Wisconsin is falling behind Minnesota, and it's Scott Walker's fault."
Just minutes after learning of better economic news in Minnesota than Wisconsin in 2012, progressives took to their keyboards and began blaming "extremist" policies enacted in our state in the last two years, in prose so purple it could have been on a Vikings football jersey.

There is one big problem with this argument: Wisconsin has been falling behind Minnesota for a long, long time....

Bobby Vee goes on stage with gets tribute from Bob Dylan in St. Paul.

"The young Dylan once played several concerts as part of Vee’s band in the Fargo, N.D., area well before both hit it big."
The 72-year-old [Bob Dylan] told the crowd he has gone on to share stages with everyone from Mick Jagger to Madonna, but he said Vee is one of the most powerful performers he has played with.

Dylan then asked for a round of applause for Vee, whom he said was in attendance, before covering Vee's “Suzie Baby.”
Vee is younger than Bob Dylan — he's 70 — but he has Alzheimer's disease. You can listen to Vee's old recording of "Suzie Baby" here. It has a bizarrely long, lush intro.

The TV show "Big Brother" surges in the ratings after publicity about racist comments.

So, apparently, that's one way to get popular on TV. The show's not racist, of course, just this one character who's saying things that you, of course, would never say, so you can feel okay listening to those things. But, why, really are you finding them so compelling? Because you can experience your passionate disapproval?

These are all questions that we mulled over in the 1970s when "All in the Family" hit the airwaves. Back then, you had to actually write a brilliant script and have wonderful actors play the parts. Today, you can just do a reality show. Put some mouthy racist in there.

Yeah, that's what we said back in the 90s when they threw Puck into "The Real World: San Francisco."

Here's some Archie Bunker for you, and half of my reason for putting this up is: Look at the shorts on Meathead:

Phallic symbol of the day.

Oh, come on now. And this is under a headline containing a double-entendre word: "Hedge Funds Are for Suckers."

Thanks to the reader who sent me that link, with the comment: "That graphic is pretty interesting. It’s a male world in finance I guess and can’t help but wonder what a female comparable graph might elicit in the way of comments."

ADDED: What would the female image even be? Quite aside from the challenge of making the person look like someone involved in hedge funds, you'd need a deliberately sexual presentation. But I think the reader — referring to what the comments would be — means to refer to the way various media pundits would be critical if they saw a female ludicrously sexualized as a way to say something about money. And I take this to be sounding the old "war on men" theme. Why can you make fun of men and not women?

"Martin was black and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic."

That's a telling way to put it, in a CBS/AP article about the judge's ruling that the jury can consider the lesser included charge of manslaughter. Reader "Jane" emails to say:
This must be in the AP stylebook somewhere, because that sentence, or some variation therof, is found in every single article about the case:  Martin "is" black but Zimmerman only "identifies" as Hispanic.  Can you recall any other situation in which AP has played with racial identification vs. race as a fact in the news story?
This is a great topic about which to maintain vigilance.

I'm going to put that alongside a related topic that I've been noticing of late: The Disappearing Hispanic. Remember that NYT article we were talking about the other day — "Zimmerman Case Has Race as a Backdrop, but You Won’t Hear It in Court"? I didn't bring this up at the time, but I noticed  The Disappearing Hispanic phenomenon in this sentence:

"Hey, you two... I'm looking to buy a Kindle version of the OED."

"I'm not sure which one to order. If you want to send me a portal link to a recommended version, I would both appreciate and use it."

A reader writes. There's no Kindle version, but if you buy the full-scale 20-volume print set, you get a CD ROM, which would give you the ability to do searches.

ADDED: Here's the CD-ROM version alone... and much cheaper. And there's this "upgrade" to it. (Thanks to the reader who pointed that out.)

AND: A reader writes: "And, the OED online people are very comfortable to deal with — I pay the thirty bucks a month for two or three months and then cancel because I need the money elsewhere and then start up again when I can afford to. Always a simple process, cancelling and then beginning again."

"I have a really bad feeling about the Zimmerman verdict."

Says Professor Jacobson:
Logically, it should be a slam dunk of “Not Guilty” on all charges, since the evidence clearly shows Zimmerman was acting in justifiable self-defense as he was being beaten by Trayvon Martin. Or at least there is a reasonable doubt as to self-defense, which the law requires result in a Not Guilty verdict.

I’ve said it before, this was a case which never should have been brought, and it wasn’t. Not until a carefully orchestrated professionally managed publicity campaign based on false racial accusations, resulting in a Special Prosecutor....
I don't have a bad feeling. And I don't feel drawn to this cynicism about jury trials. I think the case has been tried on the evidence — to a sequestered jury. The racial politics and folk sociology that have permeated the media were not part of the trial, and I expect the jury to handle the case properly.

I understand the point of commentary like Jacobson's and the people on the other side as well. They're laying the groundwork for the political use of the case after we see the verdict. All the hot air about the outrage that will meet an acquittal has stirred up a need to puff about the outrage that should accompany a conviction. But are we a nation of hotheads or do we believe that we have a rule of law? If we want the jury to look at the actual relevant evidence, why don't we wait and hear the closing arguments and see what the jury does? Why anticipate lawlessness?

UPDATE: From the CNN email: "Jurors in George Zimmerman murder trial can consider lesser charge of manslaughter, judge rules."

This could take the hot air out of everyone's balloon. A manslaughter conviction. Or will everyone be unhappy... but not all that unhappy? But that's the idea of a "compromise" verdict, and in a properly functioning system, the jurors are not supposed to compromise.

Violent crime in Milwaukee up 5% in the first half of 2013 — mostly because of robberies, which are up almost 20%.

But overall crime is down 8%, because of a decrease in property crimes.

This seems to mean the thieves of Milwaukee have decided it's easier to confront people on the street than to break into their homes, but why would such a sudden shift in preference occur? Writing that question, I pictured the classic robber pointing a gun at a guy in a your-money-or-your-life scenario, but, reading further, I see it's all about the smartphones. Folks on the street with their iPhones on display are conspicuous targets, and all the thief needs to do is grab it and run. The solution to this big spike in robberies is for the damned phones to be designed to be utterly unusable if stolen. Or unusual except for one thing: to lead the police to the thief.

But if property crimes are down, maybe the stealable iPhone problem isn't a problem at all. Maybe the good people of Milwaukee and elsewhere are better off having the thieves running around outside, snatching smartphones, instead of breaking into houses. But how long can that go on? At some point, no one will display a phone in public. You may think: Great! Another nonproblem. I'm sick of these idiots who walk around texting and fiddling with apps.

"Thai police say they have rescued about 90 famished cats that they believed had been headed to Vietnam."

"They declined to say what fate they had rescued the felines from, but cats are considered a delicacy in their intended destination...."

So — obviously — meat. But why famished, then? Perhaps cats are shipped emaciated, to save shipping expenses, then fattened at the destinations, at some sort of cat feedlot.

You know, some people with no intention of eating any cat meat at all run cat feedlots. Maybe you do. Here are 9 questions to ask yourself.

That story about Bin Laden wearing a cowboy hat needed a picture, "even if only an artist's rendering."

Said Freeman Hunt yesterday, causing me to invite artist's renderings, and then the artistic renderer of the idea that there should be an artistic rendering, emailed the very artist's rendering requested:


Freeman's subject line is "Osama Says Howdy," and she adds "Really more 'Hhoody.'" And I can trust Freeman not to trick me into putting up something... for example... racist. Or should I worry about that, in these last days of the Zimmerman trial... hhoody....

July 10, 2013

"House blocks enforcement of light bulb standards."


Prince says: "Don’t know what 2 say about Dunk-a-roos. They’re just good!"

"Sometimes you want a food that is comfortable and takes you back. For me, it’s those crazy little kangaroo crackers."

And as for the yak milk: "This stuff is TOO AMAZING. It clarifies your skin and your mind. It is given freely by the yak, so U can truly enjoy it. Great with Chex – Rice Chex, Wheat Chex, whatever!!!”

What's with Hillary's new hair?

The suggestion is: She's running for President.

Not that we didn't know that, but it is something new that she's trying to say that. With hair. Say it with hair.

My question is: Why would that be the choice of running-for-President hair?

Want to do it like a Mycobacterium smegmatis?

It's not sex. It's "conjugal transfer," which "produces just as much genetic diversity as sexual reproduction."

"How can you have a right to something that would require another human being to do something with his/her body, when the other human being has a right over his/her body?"

I asked in yesterday's post about about "The developing status of sexual surrogates for the disabled, as part of a right to health and well-being." Reader MDT (who can email me if she wants her full name on the front page) writes:
But this is a problem with all "positive rights." If you have a right to shelter, then someone else has a duty to supply you with shelter. If you have a right to food, then someone else has a duty to grow it and supply it to you. If you have a right to health care, then someone has a duty to treat you. Contrast with the rights in (say) the Bill of Rights, which are almost entirely concerned with what the government can't do to you. (The Sixth and Seventh Amendments, dealing as they do with jury trials, do involve compelling other people to act in order to secure the right.)

If there is, in crude terms, a "right to get off," I don't see how it could rationally be confined to the disabled.

"This article should not have been published without a picture, even if only an artist's rendering."

"There's only one thing that anyone who clicks that headline wants to see."

Emails Freeman Hunt, referring to guess what headline?

"The Zimmerman trial says a lot about race in America — just not what the mainstream media want the story to be."

"Look at the residents of this 'gated community' who lived just in that one spot.  It is more diverse than a Democrat photo-op.  This neighborhood had young and old, Asians and blacks and whites and Hispanics all living next to each other in peace, but needing a gates and a neighborhood watch to protect themselves from outsiders."

A Reader — initials S.C. — emails.

"A federal judge on Wednesday found that Apple violated antitrust law in helping raise the retail price of e-books..."

"... saying the company 'played a central role in facilitating and executing' a conspiracy with five big publishers."
Apple’s lawyers noted at the trial that the publishers had long complained that Amazon.com’s uniform pricing of $9.99 for new e-book titles was too low.... But the Justice Department said Apple’s deal with the publishers left Amazon with no choice but to raise prices....

"Okay, then, I've given Glenn some material to get."

"We'll see how that goes."

Said I, 3 days ago, responding to Instapundit's long post in which he said, "Ann is a thoughtful and open-minded and smart woman, but at some level I feel like she doesn’t really get it." I've heard nothing back, not that Glenn needs to spend his time interacting with me, but by writing a long post in which he accused me of being a not-getting-it — albeit "smart" — woman, he created the impression of an invitation to a back-and-forth. Now, I'm left to interpret silence. I could say: I guess he doesn't get it. But I suspect — as my linked post insinuates repeatedly — that he knows I'm right, and he doesn't want to have to say it.

Confronted by silence over there, I'll link to Roy Edroso:
One of the things I've noticed about the famously libertarian Ole Perfesser Glenn Reynolds is that, while he claims to be pro-choice, he seems annoyed that anyone would defend abortion rights and delighted whenever someone tries to restrict them. Among recent examples...

July 9, 2013

"Police say there's evidence Canada train was tampered with."

And here's the highest-rated comment at the link:
Not to go off on some "conspiracy "deal but, Speaking as an experienced[heavy duty] mechanic, this cant happen, the "maxi-brakes" don't need air to stay on, they need air to release,,something does not compute with this,.Even if the engine was still running?, these type of brakes cant!! "self release", someone has to push the "maxi button" to make them come off,...and crude is not,in general, "explosive" per se,.. unless there are lots of fumes present[unlikely in a fully loaded car],..methinks there is more to this than meets the eye and I for one, am glad that this is being investigated etc,..Condolences to those who have experienced losses,.. we! are thinking of you all,..I know, it is not much, but it is good in the whole,,
Here's my post from yesterday observing the motivation for sabotage.

"Terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him," says the 21-year-old woman, hiring a hitman.

"I didn't have to worry about the judgment of my family. I didn't have to worry about breaking his heart... It's going to break my heart when it happens, but it's something that I've been thinking about for a while."

That's all on video which you can see at the link. She amazingly smiling and sweet, as she arranges to pay $50,000 out of her husband's $400,000 life insurance to the "hitman" who, it turns out, is a cop.

Some writer over at The Atlantic intrudes on my "Gatsby project" territory.

You remember the old Gatsby project, where I'd isolate one sentence from "The Great Gatsby" and deal with it as complete in itself — a narrative arc, a container of meaning enough, a jumping off point for wild ideation. Some of us got so wrapped up in it that we find it hard to leave a room without yelling "Ewing!"

So here comes The Atlantic isolating a "Great Gatsby" paragraph and proclaiming it "The Most Dazzling Paragraph of The Great Gatsby" — on the authority of a writer named Susan Choi. One sentence isn't sufficient. She has to go with a whole paragraph. And it's not enough just to look deeply at that one thing. There has to be a proclamation that it is the best of all the paragraphs, and that just makes me want to open my hulking cabinets full of Gatsby sentences and begin throwing them, one by one, before you — sentences of little pig sausages and hot whips of panic and warm human magic, until a tray of cocktails floats at us through the twilight, and suddenly, the eyes of the editors at The Atlantic leak isolated and unpunctual tears.

"The developing status of sexual surrogates for the disabled, as part of a right to health and well-being: So wrong?"

"Surrogacy involves paying a professional who engages in intimate contact (broadly defined, though certainly not always intercourse) with a patient."
In March, the French National Ethics Committee decided that sexual surrogacy was an "unethical use of the human body for commercial purposes."Anne-Marie Dickelé of the National Ethics Committee justified it to Rousselle: "The sexuality of the disabled cannot be considered a right."

But some French people like Laetitia Rebord, who is confined to a wheelchair due to spinal muscular atrophy, are campaigning passionately against the committee's decision. She's 31, a virgin, and wants to have sex -- "In her sexual fantasies, she is a fit and impetuous blonde who dominates her male partners." As she told Rousselle, "Eventually, one has to address the issue and understand why we are demanding this. I can't move. I can't masturbate."...

As the world increasingly sees health care to be a human right -- Kathleen Sebelius and Barack Obama understand health care to be "not some earned privilege, it is a right'' -- it might seem a leap to not only fail to address sexuality in caring for people with conditions like Rousselle's, but to go the additional step of precluding them from procuring it for themselves. Holland, Switzerland, Denmark, and Germany agree.
How can you have a right to something that would require another human being to do something with his/her body, when the other human being has a right over his/her body? I suppose you could frame it as a right against criminalizing the activities of sex service providers who restrict their business to the disabled. This reminds me of medical marijuana as a leading edge in the movement to legalize marijuana. It seems like a steppingstone to the legalization of prostitution for anyone who wants to buy it, because who will count as disabled enough for the authorization to buy what is criminalized for everyone else?

"Of all the stretches of executive power Americans have seen in the past few years, the president's unilateral suspension of statutes may have the most disturbing long-term effects."

"As the Supreme Court said long ago (Kendall v. United States, 1838), allowing the president to refuse to enforce statutes passed by Congress 'would be clothing the president with a power to control the legislation of congress, and paralyze the administration of justice.'"

"President Obama gave a speech Monday instructing Americans not to be so 'cynical' about government."

I had to do a double take at the date. Yeah, Monday. Yesterday. Didn't he already do that malaise cynicism routine already? (Answer: Yes, in May.)

But here we go again.
President Obama.... then explained that the major problem with government is that it does not run as efficiently as "one of the most inclusive and most successful campaigns in American history." His own....
If that's supposed to make us feel less cynical, it's not working on me. A campaign is about trouncing the other side. The metaphor is military. (The original meaning of the word refers to an open field, and then the idea is of the army operating out in the field.)

And speaking of metaphor...
"What matters in the end is completion. Performance. Results...." Mr. Obama continued. 
Conquer that territory.

You're making me cynical. You're making me laugh. But you're making me cynical.


Actually, the original image of a military "campaign" wasn't really about conquering these fields. The (unlinkable) OED says:
The name arose in the earlier conditions of warfare, according to which an army remained in quarters (in towns, garrisons, fortresses, or camps) during the winter, and on the approach of summer issued forth into the open country (nella campagna, dans la campagne) or ‘took the field,' until the close of the season again suspended active operations. Hence the name properly signifying the ‘being in the field,’ was also applied, now to the season or time during which the army kept the field, and now to the series of operations performed during this time. In the changed conditions of modern warfare, the season of the year is of much less importance, and a campaign has now no direct reference to time or season, but to an expedition or continuous series of operations bearing upon a distinct object, the accomplishment or abandonment of which marks its end, whether in the course of a week or two, or after one or more years.
And in the changed conditions of modern political campaigns, there's no longer a particular season. It never ends. But Obama wants a campaign model for the government that must be done after the election campaign is over. It's confusing. It's often been said that Obama wants an endless political campaign. But Obama speaks of completion. So there is the idea of an end. What matters in the end is completion. It will end, but it will end when the goals are accomplished.

"Do I seem like a 'social con'?"

"I guess I've got my own distinct mix. I'd say I respect the genuine traditionalists, that I don't seek a traditionalist life for myself, and I tend to scoff at the fence-straddlers.... Be something! Stand for something! Think! That's my message."

That's something I wrote years ago — in May 2005. I'm noticing it this morning because I see in my Site Meter pages that someone found it from the word search "wedding gift for couple who have been living together." The old post begin "Am I the only one who thinks a big wedding is inappropriate for two people who have been living together?" And it got a tremendous amount of pushback from people who — I think — didn't want to hear that they couldn't have a big wedding if they wanted it. I was not myself planning to get married — though I did, 4 years later, get married in the smallest possible wedding — but I thought a wedding shouldn't be all about the bride, but about the feelings and perceptions of the guests. My critics didn't have much of an argument beyond I want, so they resorted to: You social con!

"People who live together and then want a big traditional wedding are very conspicuous fence straddlers," I said back then, and it caught my eye this morning because I just got into that big discussion about the consequences of fornication in which I was accused of speaking "kind of social-connishly."

Quite aside from whether it should work as an argument to call someone a social con, I want to talk about this other thing that gets mistaken for social connishness.

The reporter was sent in to extract the usual how does it feel to be 100 years old interview.

The nice, little old lady has her own idea of how to do an interview, which is to include the word "dick" in every answer.

When the family members try to prompt her — "You're blessed by God" — she adheres to her plan — "I'm blessed by dick."

July 8, 2013

Federal judge stays enforcement of the Wisconsin abortion law.

"After a hastily called hearing, a federal judge Monday put a 10-day freeze on a new state law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges."
"There will almost certainly be irreparable harm to those women who will be foreclosed from having an abortion in the next week either because of the undue burden of travel or the late stage of pregnancy, as well as facing increasing health risks caused by delay," the judge wrote. "Since the state has failed to date to demonstrate any benefit to maternal health of imposing this restriction, there is no meaningful counterweight recognized by the United States Supreme Court to justify the act's immediate enforcement."

"Bin Laden was in the habit of wearing a cowboy hat in his Abbottabad compound because he thought it would shield him from U.S. drones."

What exactly was the thinking there?

“Spitzer, you cheated on your wife!”

“You betrayed your constituents. You abandoned your wife. You betrayed everybody!”

“This is about power. You just want power, man. If you want public service go volunteer somewhere!”

“Did you leave your black socks on?”

“This is what I look forward to — dealing with the public,” said Spitzer. “This is New York. You know when we go to a ballpark we heckle the pitcher who throws one bad pitch. We have a little bit of the heckler in each one of us. At a certain point it passes the line of decorum, but this is New York. This is politics. I’m game for it. I have skin as thick as a rhinoceros.”

A rhinoceros in black socks?

When are the comments coming back?



"In Egypt, governments come and go. The only thing certain is that American taxpayers will continue to be stuck with the $1.5 billion bill."

"In Egypt, democratic authoritarianism is replaced with military junta. American neocons say send them more of your money."

Said Rand Paul.

"I have come to the conclusion that unlike humans, most animals will not breed if they don’t like each other."

Said Theodore Reed, the keeper of the pandas at the National Zoo in Washington from 1958 to 1983 (who died at age 90 last week).

Althouse Street.

Althouse Street

A Google Street view screen grab, mailed to me by a reader. It's in Woodmere, New York.

Why do you have sex at the time of day when you have sex?

16% say: "Already in bed."

That made me laugh out loud. Already in bed! Why bother? If convenience is your thing, it's even easier to just go to sleep. Or are we talking about the morning version of already in bed?

(Via Instapundit.)

The Zimmerman trial needs to be more about race! Quick, call the sociologist!

The NYT frontpages this execrable article by Lizette Alvarez, titled "Zimmerman Case Has Race as a Backdrop, but You Won’t Hear It in Court." She begins with the assumption that the case is supposed to be about race. After all, that's the way it looked in the press when it was first reported.
But in the courtroom where George Zimmerman is on trial for second-degree murder, race lingers awkwardly on the sidelines, scarcely mentioned but impossible to ignore.
What does that look like — race lingering awkwardly and impossible to ignore?

It's a trial! There are rules of evidence, and there's the whole concept of criminal justice, which involves an accusation, based on specific law, about a specific incident and exactly what this particular defendant did.

It's not about larger narratives and how this might fit into a template that we think explains some larger social scheme. To suggest that it should and that something's wrong with the trial if it does not is to get it exactly backwards.

"Hey you guys... On the comments ban.... I don't blame you."

"I stopped commenting here much because there didn't seem to be a point to it," emails Sonicfrog.
Where there used to be actual discussions, now you only got yelling matches where exchanging ideas was not the purpose; it was simply a contest to see who could be the most nasty and argumentative. The comments section devolved into a contest to see who could be the most bitchy, basically.

I'm not an advocate of making the "no comments" rule permanent, though not having to police the comments section would certainly free you guys up for other more enjoyable things.  Maybe go 3 or 4 months with no comments, then turn them back on selectively and see if you get a fresh start with civility, or you end up with the same old rabble....  Would be an interesting experiment.

Meanwhile, now that Ann is not going to have to spend so much time sifting through the comments....  Maybe now she can again collaborate with the Electric Six and make another music video!!!!! 

Take care:

PS. I'm really glad they never connected Chris to that severed hand a few years ago! He really got away with one there!!!  :-)

"Why Catastrophic Airline Crashes Have Become More Survivable."

"Over the many decades of commercial air travel, the airlines have learned more and more about why airplanes crash and how passengers survive."
Airplane manufacturers, for instance, are building passenger seats much stronger — they're able to withstand 16 Gs of force. So they don't rip off the floor and go flying through the cabin, injuring passengers, as they did years ago....

"A lot of effort was put into slowing down the spread of fire after a crash landing, making the materials in the interior of the cabin more fire resistant and also changing the materials such that they wouldn't emit very highly toxic fumes," [says Hans Weber, president of TECOP International].
People are doing a great job too:
After Flight 214 broke apart, flight attendants were able to quickly deploy the inflatable slides and get everyone off the plane before the fire erupted.
Credit to the flight attendants and to the passengers getting up and out of there. You'd never know, watching the crowds shuffling about in the airport and drinking and drowsing on board that ordinary people can move in such an efficient and coordinated manner.

Imminent death — as the old saying goes — concentrates the mind wonderfully.

Ah! What we could do if we faced a sudden stark threat, as our ancestors did in evolutionary times! We inherited the capacities they needed then, but we've got so little use for them these days. We go to action movies and ride roller coasters or paraglide to activate the antiquated bodily systems. It's not that we're nostalgic for danger, but built into our depths, there's a need for something that we — in no conscious sense — desire.

Still, if the moment comes, no matter how drunk or obese or debilitated you might be, you will get up out of that seat and — exactly when it's your turn, following the orders of the very flight attendant you may have complained to over nothing 10 minutes ago — plunge down that slide.

5 men, trapped in a tree for 5 days, by 4 tigers.


Previously discussed here.

"If Secretary Clinton runs, she’ll be the nominee — the first female nominee of either party."

"That breaks through the ‘old’ tagline that the Republican geniuses are cooking up because, if handled correctly, women of all ages will absolutely be inspired by that. I don’t recommend that be the totality of her message or platform, but there’s no way to hide that fact and it certainly shouldn’t be discounted."

So says Stephanie Cutter, the political consultant and former Obama adviser.

In the past, it's been said — notably by Rush Limbaugh — that Hillary as a female candidate will have special problems looking old. Cutter is flipping that around: Being female is such a positive factor that it will overshadow the oldness. She might even be suggesting that oldness is less problematic for a woman, because there are so many women out there who will be inspired to see an old woman out there still fighting, still in the game.

Why did that train explode in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec?

It's a mystery, but consider this clue:
The train was carrying crude from the region that has spearheaded the revival in the use of oil trains in North America: North Dakota's Bakken shale.... Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has enabled North Dakota to quickly become the No. 2 oil producer in the United States, but the state has few pipelines to carry its new product to market.... So the oil industry has turned to rail to move crude to refineries on the East, West and Gulf coasts. The train that derailed at Lac-Mégantic was bound for a refinery in New Brunswick, east of Quebec....

An important factor keeping the cost of train transport down for oil producers has been the practice of sending the crude in trains made entirely of tanker cars of oil, like the train that crashed in Lac-Mégantic. Shipping in these "unit trains," long lines of black tankers that look like a moving above-ground pipeline, is cheaper than the traditional "manifest train" that is a mix of boxcars, flatbeds, grain hoppers, and coal cars (an operator needs a "manifest," or list, to keep track of what's aboard.)  New onloading and offloading stations are being built especially for all-oil trains.

If it was sabotage, what interests did the saboteurs have in mind? They could have been opponents of fracking, but they could have been proponents of pipelines — radical environmentalists or radical opponents of environmentalism.

The comments vacation.

We've closed the door to comments... for a while at least, but there is still a backdoor, manned by Meade.

Will the comments section ever reopen, or is this a permanent vacation? I expect to reopen, well refreshed, and with some new ideas about how to make the ongoing experience rewarding for commenters of good faith.

ADDED: A reader emails:
Just a note from the peanut gallery that's been around since at least the Bush/Kerry election and a non participant in the comments section (I think I've commented 3 times in the history of the blog.)

I preferred the no comment policy.

"After more than 40 years as the Bridge to Nowhere, it is brilliant news that this infamous landmark has finally been completed..."

"... and will serve as a vital link in Glasgow's network of walking and cycling routes."

And yet, as a metaphor, it is no longer useful.

Prisoners on cellphones blab incriminating statements — even though they know they're being monitored and recorded.

"It’s a bizarre thing.... Most of the time, they’re using code words they don’t think the listener will understand.... But when you listen long enough, you get to know their patterns and understand the code.”
Quotes from the indictment show gang members using slang like “skat” and “toy” on the phone in a bid to hide the fact they’re talking about guns.
How long did they have to listen to figure that out? On the other hand, if that's so stupid, why haven't the authorities crushed these gangs by now?

"A group of Tibetan monks will spend a week, beginning Sunday, creating an elaborate piece of artwork near Spring Green out of tiny grains of colored sand."

"At the end of the week, the artwork, called a mandala, will be ritualistically destroyed and tossed into the Wisconsin River, symbolizing the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life."
The work-in-progress can be viewed daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a special ceremony on Sunday around 9 a.m. to begin the work, and another around 9 a.m. on July 21. ("The monks kind of operate on their own time," said Juliana Broek, who is helping to organize the event.) At 2 p.m. July 21, the mandala will be dismantled and taken to the Wisconsin River.
What are you working on now that is like that mandala?

July 7, 2013

At the No Café Café...


... I'm sorry I can't invite you in to talk about whatever you want. Enjoy your evening.

"Hmm, should I listen to the old man's advice?"

"Or should I listen to 20-something douchebag hipsters who majored in film? I'm going with the old man."

"Why Zimmerman’s Motion for Acquittal Should Have Been Granted..."

Andrew Branca explains in detail.

Less detailed is this ABC News piece that is linked in the prime spot at Drudge: "Analysis: George Zimmerman Probably Won't Be Convicted of Murder or Manslaughter -- Here's Why."

"Over 20 years ago, a landscaper in eastern Germany discovered a formation of trees in a forest in the shape of a swastika."

"Since then, a number of other forest swastikas have been found in Germany and beyond, but the mystery of their origins persist...."

"Ousted bus union officials allegedly tried to pad anti-Scott Walker hours."

"The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 — which represents bus drivers in Milwaukee County and elsewhere — is the subject of a sweeping investigation by the parent union and the U.S. Department of Labor."
The ATU would reimburse the local for 100% of the costs for Milwaukee-area staffers to work on the campaign to try to remove Walker last year. The Republican governor defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, in the June 2012 recall contest.

It is being alleged that top officials with the local labor group then jacked up the number of hours reported to the union's international headquarters in Washington, D.C....

If true, that would mean high-ranking officials with the Milwaukee-based public employee union tried to profit off a recall election that was launched in response to Walker's efforts to curb the power of public employee unions.
So... this is a completely intra-union problem. 

There's still a way to comment!

I've had to turn off normal comments, because there was some terrible abuse. But we love our old good commenters, and Meade would love you to email comments to him. Click here to email Meade and he will put up the good comments in any given comments thread.

Be clear that you mean to try to post a comment and specify the thread. Meade will apply the old "good faith" standard, under which we reject comment by those who we think have the ulterior motive of destroying the conversation and driving people away from this forum (that is, the people who forced us turn off the comments).

Teresa Heinz Kerry is said to be "in critical but stable condition in a hospital in Nantucket" — over what, we don't know.

This will suppress what had been rampant criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry for vacationing in billionaire style while Egypt underwent a military coup.

Remember when the previous Secretary of State — Hillary Clinton — faced pressure over the Benghazi attacks and we heard about hospital visits over head-hitting and blood clots?

Patterns. What do they mean? Who can say? And isn't it mean to even wonder?

"I had the comments on for a while about a year ago..."

"... and I turned them off because I found myself doing so much writing over on the comments pages and because a few people were being abusive. I wanted to concentrate my writing on the front page," I wrote on April 8, 2005.
These days, I spend a lot of time reading and responding to email, which is really a displaced comments page and an even less "front page" kind of writing for me. I'm impressed by Judge Posner's very pro-comment attitude. So in honor of Judge Posner, I'm turning my comments back on.

5 men trapped in a tree by Sumatran tigers — and it might take days to find the tree in the jungle.

"The group was attacked on Thursday after they accidentally killed a tiger cub. One man died while the others managed to flee up some branches. The survivors alerted nearby villagers using mobile phones."
Villagers had tried to rescue the men on Thursday but retreated when they saw at least four large Sumatran tigers circling around the base of the tree....

The six men, all from Simpang Kiri village in Aceh Tamiang district, had ventured into the national park in search of rare incense wood.

"People keep entering the jungle to look for the wood because it's very expensive," the police chief said. "But that's the risk: there are many tigers and elephants in Gunung Leuser jungle."
Wikipedia says: "The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is a rare tiger subspecies that inhabits the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It was classified as critically endangered by IUCN in 2008 as the population was estimated at 441 to 679 individuals...The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving member of the Sunda Islands group of tigers that included the now extinct Bali tiger and Javan tiger."

What is the "rare incense wood"? The article doesn't say, but I suspect it's agarwood, about which Wikipedia says: "agarwood, also known as oud, oodh or agar, is a dark resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees... when they become infected with a type of mould. Prior to infection, the heartwood is relatively light and pale coloured; however, as the infection progresses, the tree produces a dark aromatic resin in response to the attack, which results in a very dense, dark, resin embedded heartwood...."

UPDATE: Rescued after 5 days in the tree.

I had to shut off access to the comments today, so here's a poll.

The Althouse blog with the comments off is...
pollcode.com free polls 

"Hot & Steamy Buns."


"You are seeing people ask themselves: Do I have an affair, get a divorce or get a downtown apartment?"

Says the real estate broker, claiming that moving downtown in NYC is "a very sexy thing to do, especially for those people living a sedate Park Avenue lifestyle."

"Morsi was a terrible president, their economy is in terrible shape thanks to their policies but the fact is the United States should not be supporting this coup."

Said John McCain, making what he deemed "a tough call."

"The fact is, not all performance pieces end in comedy," said the artist/gardener Henry Docter.

"The flowers have been uprooted, but the memory of the gift remains in our brain, and that’s something that no bureaucrat . . . can ever take away."

The "gift" purchased publicity, and would have required the city to spend money to keep the plants watered.

"It never occurred to me that Metro would think it was more efficient to rip out the plants than to let someone water them."

Well, why didn't it occur to him? And if he really believed it was such a gift, why didn't he request permission? I think we should infer that he knew he'd be refused.
Docter, 52, has engaged in stealth gardening in public places for more than three decades. He describes his work as performance art.
I loathe volunteer artwork on public property. Compare Christo, who makes seeking the approval of the authorities part of the art.

Ever get a gift you wouldn't have accepted if asked, then put up with a lot of work and expense taking care of it?

(And please, let's not talk about sperm again.)

ALSO: If one artist is permitted to appropriate public space to install his art project, and you keep it because people say they like it, how do you exclude the next artist, who wants to express a viewpoint that people don't like so much? You need neutral rules about expression in a public forum. You can't just approve the pretty things like flowers. And were the holes where the flowers were planted part of the design of the wall? That design choice is ruined, and the citizens who favored the empty holes are less likely to effuse about their austere preferences. So if you don't block the stealth flower-planter now, you're going to end up with junky flowers stuck into every open spot, until the eye has no rest from saccharine floral infill.

Who will the Democrats run against Scott Walker in 2014 for Wisconsin Governor?

This is funny, from Downstate Democrat at Daily Kos:
Wisconsin Democrats appear to be set to run Mary Burke, a former executive of Trek Bicycles....

Despite the fact that Wisconsin Republicans are already trying to paint Burke as an "out-of-touch Madison activist", in reality, she's the Democratic Party's version of Mitt Romney....
I think the interest in Burke is that she has her own money. Walker has lots of money raised during the recall, and so that makes Democrats seem hopeless. They couldn't wait for the next election, had to do the recall, and now they are practically giving up on the next election. 

"I do see the problem that if the sex drive is easily satisfied outside of marriage..."

"... it becomes difficult for any given woman to ask for much in a marriage, but I don't see this as a reason to lower her standards." That's the last sentence to my previous post. Maybe you disagree with me. The Fairness-to-Men Doctrine requires me to give rebuttal time to Jon Lovitz:

Instapundit says that what he thinks about what he calls my "advice" is "immaterial" but that it's "probably pretty good advice"...

... on what he calls "a prudential level."

So — for all that softening — there's still one strong word: "advice." I stand accused of giving "advice," but I don't see that I gave advice in that statement of mine that he quotes at the link. He introduced my quote with the opinion that I'm speaking "kind of social-connishly." "Kind of" is more softening — but the reader is told to see me as giving socially conservative advice.

Now, I don't think I'm giving any advice other than to say: You are free, you need to think about how you use your freedom, and don't just think about your own perspective as you make arguments that law and society ought to be arranged to facilitate your choices. I'd say I'm being quite libertarian. And as for social connishness, I support abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and — it's right there in my quote — I'm not out to punish those who decline to channel their sexuality into committed relationships with child-rearing. I'm just defending legal and political decisions that center on protecting the interests of children rather than the ability of males to avoid the consequences of procreation, consequences that occur even though the male power over reproduction ends — because he controls only his body and not the woman's — at an earlier point in time than the woman's. This leaves some men aggrieved that a woman didn't abort a baby he didn't want, and I'm just not too sympathetic about this male plight. So maybe I am giving "advice" in the form of saying: Don't expect sympathy.

But Glenn must think I'm advising everyone to form stable, committed, child-rearing couples, because he goes on to say, that my advice is "of course, advice one dare not give to women in today’s society without facing a huge backlash." Of course? Dare not? Oh, come on. How daring do you need to be to tell women they'll be better off in stable relationships? I'll say it now, and I think this advice is given all the time. Huge backlash? I take it he's referring to the "war on women" politics that permeated the 2012 elections, because he goes on to say: