December 7, 2013



Hey, you!


"Peter Higgs, the British physicist who gave his name to the Higgs boson, believes no university would employ him in today's academic system..."

"... because he would not be considered 'productive' enough."
He doubts a similar breakthrough could be achieved in today's academic culture, because of the expectations on academics to collaborate and keep churning out papers. He said: "It's difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964."

"Wall Street Mothers, Stay-Home Fathers/As Husbands Do Domestic Duty, These Women Are Free to Achieve."

"Along the way, the couples have come to question just what is male behavior and female behavior, noting how quickly their preconceived notions dissolve once they depart from assigned roles."
The men echo generations of housewives, voicing concern over a loss of earning power and car pool-induced torpor but also pride in their nurturing roles. The women describe themselves as competitive, tough and proud of every dollar they bring in....

A few women said that they resented the fact that their husbands did not cook or clean up, but that they had trouble telling them so, for fear that they would sound as if they were treating them like employees.

Nice to see Governor Walker at the UW basketball game today.

Not that we were there. Meade took that shot from the TV. Walker's in blue not red, apparently in support of Marquette.

Madison's Snuggle House closes for good — because "the push back and harassment is not worth it, honestly."

"It has nothing to do with the services. It has to do with how much hate you want to tolerate. It’s not worth it. Not these days."

Ooh. Sounds like somebody needs a hug.

What happened? Too much regulation... or just not enough customers? I don't know. Who were the haters? The city or the citizens?

Anyway, goodbye to Snuggle House, we here at Alt House enjoyed talking about the concept. I went from assuming it was a hoax, to facilitating a conversation about what it would be, to more or less rooting for it

Knowing there was — at least once — a dream of people paying $60 an hour to be snuggled, maybe we can all feel a little more warmly rewarded by the snuggles we get at home.

At Blue's Café...

... nobody has the blues and we think it's nice if your eyes don't match.

What could be less sexy than "Sex as Exercise"?

Other than the horrid illustration accompanying the article "Sex as Exercise."

I loathe the present-day tendency to frame everything in terms of health. Sex is exercise. Food is medicine. Medicinal marijuana.

Surely we could use some analysis of whether our obsession with health is... unhealthy.

Uptalking is not just for females.

It's catching on amongst the males. 
"One possibility is that this is an extension of a pitch pattern that we actually find in most varieties of English which is used when you're making a statement but you're [also] asking indirectly for the interlocutor to confirm if they are with you," Prof Arvaniti said.
That theory entails the inference that males are increasingly feeling a need for assurance that there is agreement and acceptance.


Remember the Althouse Amazon Portal... if you've got some on-line shopping to do. And thanks to all who've been using the portal.

This is the post where I try to understand what Andrew Sullivan means by "Meep Meep Watch."

This Sullivan post is some kind of defense of Obama that deploys a Roadrunner analogy. I know Road Runner is the source of the "meep meep," as the illustration of Roadrunner makes clear, and adding "watch" is a way Sullivan has of indicating that he's collecting things in a category.

So I understand that he's on the alert for Road-Runner-like activity. My working theory is that he's saying that Obama is like Road Runner, which would mean that he's got an enemy trying to destroy him and he keeps escaping destruction — by speed and/or extreme good luck. The enemy's efforts always backfire, and Obama/Road Runner, escaping one more time, emits a cry of glee — meep meep.

Sullivan begins:
It’s worth recalling the glee with which many hacks determined that the Obama presidency was over before the second term had really kicked in, well, only a month ago. 
So the cry of glee comes from Obama's enemies — The Hacks. Is it also worth recalling the other hacks who — a month before that — gleefully announced that the GOP had committed suicide? Sullivan notes the various troubles Obama has encountered — which were not traps set by his American political rivals at all:, Syria, Iran, the economy. He continues:
But it’s worth digesting how all these alleged disasters have settled down. 
We seem to be inside a digestive tract. It seems we've managed not to vomit. Sullivan proceeds to say things are looking better. And he ends like this:
The GOP remains utterly devoid of any constructive alternative to Obamacare, whose winners have been far less vocal – so far – than the winners. 
Is that "winners... winners" some kind of humor that escapes me — like a bird outrunning a falling rock — or just a thudding mistake?
The president is on the offensive – on economic inequality and healthcare. 
On the offensive... so he's the Coyote?
It’s far too soon to project anything certain. But what we sure can say is that a huge amount is still to play for.
What I can sure say is I'm pretty sure Obama must be the Road Runner in this analogy but... why? A huge amount is still to play for.... suggests we're at a gambling table. Road Runner, the cartoon character, doesn't even realize he's got a relentless enemy trying to destroy him. He's oblivious and lucky. You can't picture Road Runner transferring his kind of luck to, say, poker, where one squarely faces the opponent and must make decisive moves based on a known set of rules.

Sullivan's analogies and metaphors are a crazy quilt of a mixed bag of bouillabaise.

Only now will I do a "meep meep" search on Sullivan. I tried tracing the hits back to the beginning and — having opened 20+ tabs — encountered a demand to subscribe to the website. I'll stick to the tabs I've got. From September 15th, there's "Meep Meep, Motherfuckers," which has a photo of Obama looking very smug, a quote about Syria from Obama, Sullivan's exclamation "Oh, snap!" and then:
It’s been awesome to watch today as all the jerking knees quieted a little...
Do jerking knees make a noise like cracking knuckles? Can we watch quiet the way we listen to the color of our dreams?
... and all the instant judgments of the past month ceded to a deeper acknowledgment (even among Republicans) of what had actually been substantively achieved: something that, if it pans out, might be truly called a breakthrough – not just in terms of Syria, but also in terms of a better international system, and in terms of Iran.
The post ends:
So it was another treat to hear the president say, in tones that are unmistakable:
“I welcome him being involved. I welcome him saying, ‘I will take responsibility for pushing my client, the Assad regime, to deal with these chemical weapons.’ ”
Meep meep.
A treat? Sullivan feels he received a treat in hearing Obama say something that he paraphrases as the Road Runner's cry of glee at escaping another Coyote trap. But what is Road-Runneresque about Obama welcoming Putin's involvement, as if Obama is inviting Putin into an elaborate game in which we can't tell who will ultimately get played?

Here's a "Meep Meep Watch" from September 2012:
Has Obama now done to the entire GOP what he did to the Clintons, McCain and Romney? Make them somehow self-destruct? Know hope – and I haven’t said that in a while.
This one gives some clarity to what Sullivan seems to think he's seeing: a magical ability to luck into the self-destruction of one's enemies. It's like Bill Clinton's "He's Luckier Than A Dog With Two Dicks."

ADDED: Let's look at the official rules that Chuck Jones had for Road Runner, as explained in "Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist."
1. The Road Runner cannot harm the coyote except by going "Beep-beep!" 
So, it's not "meep meep" at all, which just goes to show how wrong you can be.
2. No outside force can harm the coyote—only his own ineptitude or the failure of the Acme products.
3. The coyote can stop any time—if he were not a fanatic. (Repeat: "A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim."–George Santayana; this quote appears on a promotional poster featuring the duo; with the quote appearing in Burma Shave-style clips on signs amid the roadrunner's air wake)
4. There may be no dialogue ever, except "beep-beep!" The coyote may, however, speak to the audience through wooden signs that he holds up.
5. The Road Runner must stay on the road —otherwise, logically, he would not be called "Road Runner".
6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters—the southwest American desert.
7. All materials, tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.
8. Whenever possible, gravity should be made the coyote's greatest enemy.
9. The coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
There was also a tenth and more unofficial rule: The sympathy of the audience must lie with the coyote.
The sympathy of the audience must lie with the coyote!

"We Wrote a Heartbreaking and Terrifying Post about Viral Content without Lists or GIFs. Then You Clicked on It, and Magic Happened."

"Sure, you clicked on '8 Reasons Why This Puppy Will Make You Cry and Change Everything.' But what if you didn't cry, and nothing changed?"
Once you've clicked on a few posts that promised to make you cry or change your view of the world forever but didn't deliver, your default assumption will become that when you see something like that, it means somebody's trying to get you to be a part of something artificial.
Yeah, but you've kind of got to give the people who do that kind of virality-by-headline credit for being so terribly transparent. How is anyone even fooled? It's as if your 5-year-old child ran up to you squealing "Ooh, Daddy, look, this is really really cute!" I feel a little embarrassed for these people sometimes. They are adults who've decided to write like a bunch of little girls talking about their little ponies.

I'm pretty sure these headline writers assuage their shame by nurturing their belief that it's all somehow ironic and somehow even edgy and not completely smooshy.

How dumb do you need to be to believe the headline's promise that you'll go all gooey or experience a new charge of hope for humanity? Well, if you're a little slow, then as the above-linked piece predicts, you'll probably eventually learn that it's a come-on, just as you've abandoned any shred of hope that — as it says in the email — you really have won a million dollars and just as, years ago, you were able to remain motionless in your recliner when the late-night TV huckster yelled that you must act now.

I'm more worried that these heavy-handed urgings will dull our response to subtler manipulations. The truly dangerous propaganda isn't about a kitten being cute or a dog welcoming a war veteran. That's the candy of pop culture that might waste our time and do nothing to alleviate our shallowness. We may learn that candy is candy, but that's not much insight at all. Maybe the real trick of places like Buzzfeed and Upworthy is that they get you only so far, far enough to notice and resist/resent sharp pokes in the ribs and to become complacent about your jadedness. And that's what leaves you open and vulnerable to the less obvious propaganda that permeates everything else.

"Hamilton wrote in Federalist 12 that a tax on whiskey 'should tend to diminish the consumption of it'..."

"... and that 'such an effect would be equally favorable to the agriculture, to the economy, to the morals, and to the health of the society. There is, perhaps, nothing so much a subject of national extravagance as these spirits.'"

From Clay Risen's "How America Learned to Love Whiskey, Attempts to control the fermentation and sale of alcohol are older than the republic itself."

"Control" is harsh. Isn't the right word "nudge"?

December 6, 2013

"The Highs and Lows of The Sound of Music Live."

Including: "HIGH: The many, many instances of Rolfe's shorts."

Swan Lake.

Swans on Lake Mendota, late this afternoon. I only had my iPhone, and I don't know how to zoom.


"Sen. Ted Cruz's praise for Nelson Mandela met with criticism by supporters."

"The Texas senator posted a message on his Facebook page saying that Mandela would 'live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty,' but some of the comments posted called the former South African leader a 'terrorist, communist, scumbag and murderer.'"


ExBadger, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson receives a handmade-from-duct-tape wallet from a young girl who needs a heart transplant.

A sweet story.

"Challenged by Tea Party, Veteran Mississippi Senator Decides to Run for Seventh Term."

A NYT headline about Thad Cochran, a 76-year-old Republican who's been in the Senate since 1978.

Who's more senior than Cochran? Here's a list of the current Senators in order of seniority. Cochran is 4th on the list.

I'm not impressed by this kind of stature, this excessive holding on to one's position of power, even into old age. The headline hints that the Tea Party challenges are disrespectful or disruptive.

The article has a ludicrous correction: "An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly the age of Senator Thad Cochran, as well as the number of the term he is seeking. He will be 76 on Saturday; he is not 76." His birthday is tomorrow, and we're not supposed to say he's 76? He is not 76. Correction! Good lord. Did the demand for a correction come from his office? What a nice showing of inane vanity and out-of-touchness. Grow up. You're 76.
Mr. Cochran, who has raised less than $1 million for his re-election, had been thought to be leaning toward retirement. But Mississippi Republicans said they believed [a challenge from Chris McDaniel, 41, a state senator aligned with the Tea Party] and pleas from powerful figures across the state that Mr. Cochran seek another term prompted the senator to mount what will probably be his final campaign....
So maybe it's not Cochran after all but "powerful figures" who are pushing him, using him, but for what? Is this a way to weaken the Tea Party? 

Graphing the real value of the minimum wage.

The President and the media are trying to get us to talk about income equality. I know, it's an effort to distract us from the obvious problem of the Obamacare debacle (which itself is probably a distraction from other things we shouldn't/should be looking at). But I was motivated to Google "minimum wage over the years adjusted for inflation."

The first hit went to a site called Raise the Minimum Wage which gave me the kind of graph I wanted to see:

How dumb do you need to be not to look at this graph and suspect that 1968 was chosen as the starting point because it was an upward spike? Here's another graph:

As you go upon your way this morning, watch out for propaganda.

"There’s the kind of boneheaded explanation, which is that a lot of people with PhDs are stupid..."

"... and like many stupid people, they associate complexity with intelligence. And therefore they get brainwashed into making their stuff more complicated than it needs to be," said David Foster Wallace in an old interview.
I think the smarter thing to say is that in many tight, insular communities—where membership is partly based on intelligence, proficiency and being able to speak the language of the discipline—pieces of writing become as much or more about presenting one’s own qualifications for inclusion in the group than transmission of meaning. And that’s how in disciplines like academia—or, I’ve read some really good legal prose, but when it’s really, really horrible (IRS Code stuff)—I think that very often it stems from insecurity and that people feel that unless they can mimic the particular jargon and style of their peers, they won’t be taken seriously and their ideas won’t be taken seriously. It’s a guess.
More of that sort of thing in "Quack This Way: David Foster Wallace & Bryan A. Garner Talk Language and Writing," a newly published book.

Glenn links to my old "First Sleep/Second Sleep" musings...

... here... and immediately I find I'm fulfilling a plan I formed back in 2006:
I have been thinking that it's just terrible to go to bed as early as 9 only to wake up and see that it's midnight. I've thought that it's important to stay up late enough that you won't just be taking what turns out to be merely a nap, a sleep snack that spoils my appetite for a full meal of sleep. Now, I'm going to think, it's time for first sleep. On waking at midnight, instead of thinking, oh, no, there's no way I can start the day this early if I can't get back to sleep. I'm going to think it's a valuable opportunity, use the time, and feel confident about the arrival of the wholly natural and not at all weird second sleep.
Thanks, Glenn. For the links. The whammy links.

"The most important photo of all White House photos."

"Michelle Obama: Realizing that this will look bad," the 2 Nonchalance Boys, the "BEST.DAY.OF.LIFE." Reporter Girl, and all the rest... including the tiny little girl that got killed by Obama's dog. Nah. She just got knocked down by the uncontrollable beast.

And you thought the government was an uncontrollable beast. No, the government is a happy, friendly, family dog. It wouldn't hurt anybody.

"The Ballad of"

A pretty cool song, played in 2 versions at "The Good Fight." At the very beginning, it's Leo Sidran, and there's a "cover" version at the end.

The rest of the show — "powered by" — is about "an uprising in the underbelly of our unsurpassedly unequal economy: the great fast food strike of 2013."

"Did you notice this entire article was a sponsored ad by Seiko watches? It was all leading to the end telltale sign."

SOJO asks, late into the comments on the previous thread. Of course, the answer is no. I would never have blogged it if I'd seen it the faint "sponsored" at the top — over there at Gawker, where I will be less likely to read and careful about linking to in the future. Fortunately, I linked with disfavor, disagreeing with the part I quoted.

Had I chosen to quote the 6th item on the 6-point list — the one that counts using your cell phone as your watch as a "Telltale Signs It's Time to Upgrade Your Style" — I'd surely have disagreed with that too. If you have a cell phone, you have a pocket watch. Why do you need a wristwatch? If you're so hot to encumber your wrist with unnecessary decoration, wear a bracelet.

And I don't mind saying — despite my annoyance at having linked to Gawker's sponsored article — that I'd appreciate your buying that bracelet through The Althouse Amazon Portal. Clearly, I'm not opposed to ads and monetizing blogs. I think that's good. But don't put up a phony article! I'd never do that. I put links on things I'm writing about anyway or openly invite you to shop at Amazon.

ADDED: If you must buy a watch, how about an Imaginary Industrial Watch Brought to Life?

December 5, 2013

"Cartoon characters wear the same clothes every day, because their animators are lazy."

"You are not a cartoon character."

From "6 Telltale Signs It's Time to Upgrade Your Style." [A "sponsored" article at Gawker.]

Does that mean Steve Jobs was lazy and needed to upgrade his style? And as long as we're doing lists, we might as well shift over to "18 Famous People Who Always Dress The Same": Jobs, Zuckerberg, Tom Wolfe, Michael Kors, Larry Page...

These people are so not lazy. They're style icons, projecting power. The same clothes every day projects industriousness, efficiency, and — if you pick the right stuff — style.

"It seems the woman who falsely claimed she received an anti-gay 'tip' from two patrons..."

"... never donated the money she received from supporters to help wounded vets like she promised."

Liars lie.

In other news, Bill Clinton doodled a penis.

"Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president..."

"... becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday. He was 95."
Mr. Mandela’s quest for freedom took him from the court of tribal royalty to the liberation underground to a prison rock quarry to the presidential suite of Africa’s richest country. And then, when his first term of office was up, unlike so many of the successful revolutionaries he regarded as kindred spirits, he declined a second term and cheerfully handed over power to an elected successor, the country still gnawed by crime, poverty, corruption and disease but a democracy, respected in the world and remarkably at peace.

"I believe, definitely, that the thieves did not know what they had... They will, without a doubt, die."

"They were interested in the crane, in the vehicle."

But they could not resist opening that box, which contained cobalt-60.

At the Backyard Hawk Café...

... you're never going to find that chipmunk on which you so recently chomped.

"A judge says an Army artillery officer linked by DNA to a string of sexual assaults on young girls..."

"... will be allowed to blame his twin brother at trial for attacks in two states."

Identical twin, of course.

From the 7-year-old girl's Christmas list: "A little thing that can turn into anything at anytime."

From "My Kid's Insane Christmas Wish List, Annotated." (Via Metafilter.)

Also on the list: and "A pet puppy. Border collie with a peacesign coller, and a leash" and "1,000 bucks."

The dad's annotations are not as enjoyable as they'd be if he'd resisted appealing to Deadspin readers by using the f-word repeatedly. Not that I don't use that word. Just that he's interacting with the innocent expression of his young daughter, and — even though she's not reading this (not yet, anyway) — it doesn't work to say things like "The fuck is this?" and "Great. Fucking great."

Too bad, because otherwise this is seems to be great material. And maybe I want to take a stronger position on appropriating the sweetness of children for cheap, adult yucks. I know that when I was a young girl, it hurt me to hear adults finding great amusement in what I only understood years later to be how adorable I had been long ago when the concept was quite unknown to me.

IN THE COMMENTS: MadisonMan said...
American Girl Dolls are the perfect Grandmother-to-Granddaughter gift, if you can afford it.

File this information away, Althouse, just in case :) Not sure if you can get them through the althouse portal.
Well, you sure can! Here's Saige, the American Girl Doll of 2013, and here's her border collie, Rembrandt, who comes with a leash. Don't know if it's a peace sign "coller." Seems to me that if the father did a little more poking around in Amazon, he'd have figured out that the child wasn't requesting a real border collie, just an accessory for the Saige doll she wants.

And thanks, again, to all who've been doing your shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

Imagine consistent outrage over the use of slavery as a metaphor (disaggregating it from any lust to get Sarah Palin).

"It’s deplorable for people to work wages, slave wages, in the 21st century evolutionary country." That's a quote highlighted in this local CBS report, which is currently highlighted at the top of Drudge with the simple teaser "Slave wages."

Now, we were just talking about all the trouble Martin Bashir encountered after he went super-dramatic about how despicable it was for Sarah Palin to have used slavery as a metaphor, and I said:
Bashir — if he was ever worth having his own show — should be able to say very clearly that he intended to express the depth of the horror of slavery and therefore why it should never be used as a metaphor. Now, of course, he'd be open to the criticism that he only chose to go where he did because his target was Sarah Palin, but he could confess to that, say that was wrong, and dedicate himself to permanent across-the-board opposition to slavery as a metaphor.
So... imagine going Bashir over the use of the term "slave wages." Remember, all Sarah Palin did was use slavery as a metaphor, and she was grilled by Jake Tapper on CNN — here's the transcript — in what to me looks like an effort to make her say something off (as if Tapper wanted to be the new Katie Couric, ruining Sarah Palin all over again).

"This is a case about the right to peacefully protest on a fully open public road, in a designated protest zone..."

Erwin Chemerinsky — the UC-Irvine law school dean — argued in the Supreme Court yesterday. His client, John D. Apel had been banned from protesting within Vandenberg Air Force Base (in an area set aside for protests) after convictions for vandalism and trespass.
But Justice Antonin Scalia said the question before the court did not involve the First Amendment.

“You can raise it,” he said, “but we don’t have to listen to it.”..
Later, Justice Kennedy said: "You have a First Amendment argument... I understand that. But let’s just concentrate on the property ownership.” And Scalia said: “You keep sliding into the First Amendment issue... We’re only interested in whether the statute applies."
The Court is reviewing a 9th Circuit opinion that said that the federal statute under which Apel was convicted didn't apply to the situation in which the feds had given some public access to the military base (which they'd done to give access for protests).

ADDED: The wording of the first sentence of the linked report (at the NYT) made me think Apel was not actually on the base but only near it: "John D. Apel... was convicted of breaking federal law by entering an area set aside for protests near the main entrance to Vandenberg Air Force Base." Near the main entrance — you'll see if you keep reading — was on the grounds of the base, but it was "an area open to the public on the other side of a painted green line that separates the closed part of the base from the Pacific Coast Highway."

December 4, 2013

Finally some attention to my suggestion that Mitt Romney is the man to fix Obamacare.

I said it back in October.

Picked up today by Ben Domenech and Hot Air.

"Old Finnish People With Things on Their Heads."


Via Metafilter.

How many people thought of this idea for a tweet...

... but managed to resist the shameful impulse?

Bashir resigns.

He'd apologized, but "upon further reflection," he resigns from MSNBC.

ADDED: I think this is all such nonsense (including the ousting of Alec Baldwin). They can't trust people to understand explanations. Bashir — if he was ever worth having his own show — should be able to say very clearly that he intended to express the depth of the horror of slavery and therefore why it should never be used as a metaphor. Now, of course, he'd be open to the criticism that he only chose to go where he did because his target was Sarah Palin, but he could confess to that, say that was wrong, and dedicate himself to permanent across-the-board opposition to slavery as a metaphor.

Amazon shopping.

Thanks to all who are using The Althouse Portal to do your Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holiday and non-holiday shopping.

I see plenty of you are buying toys, which is nice, especially toys for the very young, so here's a special link for that.

"Walker died of the 'combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries'... Rodas died of "multiple traumatic injuries.'"

The coroner's report in the Paul Walker car crash. That slight difference in wording reveals a horrible difference in what each man experienced.

At Cloe's Café...

... it's puppy time.

(No, that's not our puppy, nor is she related to Zeus.)

"I understand the man who shot him is real upset, and I think he should be... He shot an innocent man."

"He should have stayed in the house like a normal person would."

Wandering 72-year-old man with Alzheimer’s gets shot to death. At the top of the NYT article the scene is described almost poetically:

#45 The Guy Who Finds Something Wrong With Every Other Person in the Restaurant.

My reaction to "The 44 Worst People in Every Restaurant."

Smarter people drink more.

Science (supposedly) says. At the link, summaries of studies that show the correlation.

Now, why is there a correlation? Let's brainstorm...

1. Drinking is a way to dial down your intelligence, thus adjusting yourself to the world as it is, built around the needs and interests of average people.

2. You'll still be able to get your tasks done. In fact, maybe you've been zipping through your work too quickly. If you were dumber, you couldn't afford to hamper yourself with drink.

3. Being smart, you find it easier to locate drinks. At some point, you'll be saying "Where's my drink?" like the next guy, but you'll have that extra margin of drink-locating capacity.

4. (An idea from the article.) "[T]he human brain has trouble dealing with situations that did not exist in the Pleistocene environment we evolved in... 'general intelligence evolved as a domain-specific psychological adaptation to solve evolutionarily novel problems.' Alcohol consumption is 'evolutionarily novel'—humans began cultivating and consuming alcohol only about 10,000 years ago," so smarter people are better at drinking.

Surely, there are more ideas here.

"Since 1965, women with children have logged increasingly more time watching television and driving..."

"... and increasingly less time playing with children, doing chores, and exercising, according to a new report published this week in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings."
In 1965, mothers of children aged 5 to 18 spent 14.2 more hours a week being physically active than being sedentary. In 2010, they spent 3.8 more hours a week being sedentary than they did on physical activity.
Interesting, but why did they put driving in the same category with watching TV? Because one sits to do it? Chauffeuring the kids around used to count as one of the child-rearing tasks. I suspect the reclassification has to do with the focus on the woman getting enough exercise. We're so much less concerned with what's good for children that helping them get to their various events and social occasions is equated with lolling about in a recliner.

"So yes, I’ll subsidize someone else’s prenatal coverage, in a more effective way than I’ve been doing by default under the current system..."

"... in which too many pregnant women show up in emergency rooms without having had such care, creating problems for themselves and their babies, and all sorts of costs for taxpayers. And I’ll remember to be relieved that my own access to health care is guaranteed. But they had better work out the problems with the A.C.A.; if they don’t, and it doesn’t fulfill its promise of insuring the uninsured, I’m really going to feel like a chump."

The last paragraph of "My Cancelled Policy, and My Values," by Margaret Talbot in The New Yorker, which I'm going to guess expresses just about exactly where liberal opinion is right now.

"Considering Which Head or Heads May Roll for a Troubled Website Rollout."

A NYT headline... head- or heads- line.

Is severed head covered in the Obamacare-conforming plans?

The article, by Michael D. Shear, begins:
For weeks, the president and his aides have said they are not interested in conducting a witch hunt in the middle of the effort to rescue the website.
But they've gotten interested. Apparently, a witch hunt is just the right distraction for the holiday season. But heads are rolling, so the image is a guillotine — a reign of terror. But feel free to picture hangings (witch execution, American-style) or burnings at the stake (if you want to go medieval).
The possible targets include Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary; Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services; Mike Hash, the head of the health and human services health reform office; Michelle Snyder, the chief operating officer at Medicaid and Medicare; Henry Chao, the chief digital architect for the website; Jeanne Lambrew, the head of health care policy inside the White House; David Simas, a key adviser involved in the rollout; and Todd Park, the president’s top adviser on technology issues.
Don't pick all women. That would look bad. Maybe Mike Hash and Todd Park, I'd say, just going on the optics of the names. You just need heads. Which heads would look best on a pike?

Ha ha ha. Remember George Bush's head on a pike? Those were the days! Oh, the distractions of yore! What would distract the folks today? Will Obama traipsing about the country for 3 weeks, right up until Christmas Eve eve, do the trick? Think of all the pretty, empathetic people that can be lined up behind him. Just like a choir of Christmas carolers... bringing good tidings of great joy. But heads must roll! It's execution time. More apt for the Easter season, but Christ, you know it ain’t easy/You know how hard it can be/The way things are going/They’re gonna crucify me.

No, no, no. Our modern Messiah must survive. The metaphorical executions must be directed somewhere lower down. I say Mike Hash and Todd Park and then throw in a lady too. Kathleen Sebelius. No, make it Marilyn Tavenner.

That's a nice array of heads. Enough of a purge to settle you down until the new year?

"Why did they start with abortion clinics? Because it begins with the letter 'A'?" asked Judge Richard Posner.

At the oral argument in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday.

The subject was Wisconsin's new law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have access to hospitals within 30 miles, which has been temporarily blocked by the lower court.
At times appearing exasperated, Posner repeatedly interrupted [Wisconsin assistant attorney general Daniel] Lennington, asking why lawmakers — if it's true they saw the law as primarily a public health measure and not an anti-abortion bill — focused on abortion clinics and not other outpatient clinics, such as those performing laparoscopic surgeries....
Lennington professed to have no idea why. One suspects that the reason is: Because it's only abortion that we disapprove of and therefore want to encumber. If that's the real answer, Lennington wouldn't want to say it, because it lays the groundwork for finding the law to be the kind of undue burden that violates privacy rights.
Posner also cited figures that just .3 percent of abortions have medical complications. Asked if there were records of women dying in Wisconsin after abortions, Lennington said he didn't know.

At that point, Posner said about the law, "It doesn't sound reasonable. It sounds irrational."
Lennington didn't even know if there were records?! If you actually want to get away with imposing these burdens, you ought to build a foundation for showing that there are strong medical reasons for the new requirement. But then it would be less obvious that the law expresses opposition to abortion. I'm going to presume that the legislature wanted to flaunt its opposition to abortion — for political reasons — and the law is more of a gesture than a genuine health provision that can and should be upheld.

Part of the plan, perhaps, is a tempting invitation to the judges to strike it down. Can a judge resist? If not, the social conservatives will bray about "activist judges," and they'll overplay their hand, in all likelihood, and we'll be back in the throes of the "war on women" just in time for the next presidential election, which, of course, will be won by Hillary Clinton, who — through judicial appointments and federal statutory law and health-care regulations — will save The Right To Choose.

December 3, 2013

"Apple has acquired a company with access to 'the hose'..."

"... the nickname for Twitter’s stream of 500 million tweets per day."

$200 million for Topsy, which I've got to assume is named after the character in "Uncle Tom's Cabin":
A ragamuffin young slave girl. When asked if she knows who made her, she professes ignorance of both God and a mother, saying "I s'pect I growed. Don't think nobody never made me."... The phrase "growed like Topsy" (later "grew like Topsy") passed into the English language, originally with the specific meaning of unplanned growth, later sometimes just meaning enormous growth.
Is it in poor taste to name a company after a slave girl?

Or do you think the company was named after Topsy the elephant, famous for dying of electrocution, captured on film by Thomas Edison in the year 1903?
Initially, Topsy was supposed to be hanged, but other ways were considered when the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals protested. Edison then suggested electrocution with alternating current, which had been used for the execution of humans since 1890.

Topsy was fed carrots laced with 460 grams of potassium cyanide before the deadly current from a 6,600-volt AC source was sent coursing through her body, partly as a demonstration of how "unsafe" his competitor's (George Westinghouse) alternating current design was.
Is it in poor taste to name a company after an electrocuted elephant?

The hose.

10 observations about the top 100 girls' and boys' names for babies born in 2013.

Link to the lists, here.

1. Super-short girls' names are popular: Mia (#5), Ava (#6), Lily (#7), Zoe (#8), Chloe (#10). Further down: Ella, Aria, Lila, Anna (but not the shorter Ann), Leah, Nora, Mila, Lucy, Maya, Ruby, Eva. 3-letter boys' names that make the list are: Eli (#28), Max (#31), Leo (#75), and Ian (#80).

2. Reagan is #69 for girls. A tribute to our former President?

3. Skyler is #99. "Breaking Bad" fans?? I'm not seeing Walt as a top 100 name. Or even Jesse. (Jesse's a great boys' name. What's happening?)

4. The top of the girls' list is clogged with the same popular names from the last few years: Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella. Move on, mommies and daddies.

5. Some of the weird names sound like new drugs. I'm looking at you, Adalyn (#32 for girls).

6. What's with Jackson being #1 for boys? Is that about Michael Jackson? Can't be Jesse Jackson, could it? Fans of the former President? The wonderful Supreme Court Justice? Someone in sports? I find the Wikipedia page on the name Jackson, and here's an English "football" player named Elphinstone Jackson (1868–1945). I dare you to name your baby Elphinstone.

7. The #11 boys' name is something I've never seen as a name: Caden. Further down, there's Camden (#82), which to me is more of a city in New Jersey. Why not name your son Jersey?  Or is that a girls' name?

8. Christian is now a more popular boys' name than Christopher.

9. Dylan is down at #30. Was it only a name used by Baby Boomers? Elvis is off the list, if it ever was on. Who are the rock stars that dazzled Generations X and Y? I'm not seeing Bruce, and who wants to name the kid after the suicide-committing Kurt Cobain?

10. Muhammad is all the way down at 70, snuggling up against Christopher (#71).

"The whole thing boils down to class warfare... People all over the world are wondering why they did that to 5Pointz. My answer is, why not?"

"Do we really think some landlord is going to give a damn about the culture of the working class? This was an art form invented by the children of the working class, not children with last names like Trump or Rockefeller."

"There are hardly any spots left in the city for graffiti writers... It’s going to mean that everybody’s going to be fighting for space. And you know what happens if they don’t have space to express themselves."

"We have here a judicial finding that this once-proud city cannot pay its debts."

"At the same time, it has an opportunity for a fresh start. I hope that everybody associated with the city will recognize that opportunity."

At the Dogs-in-a-Line Café...

Bandit and Hank

... please come to attention.

Phoebe, Hank, Bandit

Chuck Schumer says both left- and right-wing blogs are too vicious and negative but the difference is: Left-wing blogs "have less credibility and less clout."

Excerpts from his interview with TNR's Isaac Chotiner:
CS: [One] thing the Tea Party does is threaten their fellow Republicans. They actually threaten them. If you punched in—I used to do this—“Marco Rubio” when we were doing immigration reform, nine out of ten hard-right blogs were negative on him: attack after attack after attack....

[T]here are some on the far left who just have a visceral hatred of Wall Street. It’s counterproductive.

IC: ... Is this a problem for your party?

CS: You don’t want to go after them for the sake of going after them. The left-wing blogs want you to be completely and always anti–Wall Street. It’s not the right way to be.

IC: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case?

CS: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.
ADDED: Kos bites back:
Left-wing blogs had credibility when they were helping Schumer's DSCC win control of the Senate. Now that we're criticizing Wall Street? No credibility! And we're just like the Tea Party, having cost Democrats a half-dozen seats and the Senate majority in the last couple of years.

Oh, you mean we haven't pushed the Democratic Party outside of the national mainstream? Weird, then. On the other hand, it wasn't bloggers trying to save Sen. Scott Brown's hide in 2012, like good ol' Chuck:
There is a good little story. [Looks to aide] I can tell this. I went to Scott Brown and said, “If you give us the sixtieth vote for the Citizens United rollback, we won’t go after you.”
If it was up to Schumer, he would've traded an entire Senate seat for one meaningless cloture vote on a bill that would've died a quick death in the House. God knows his Wall Street benefactors would've been thrilled at that!

From my perspective, intra-party relations have never been better. It seems odd that Schumer is trying to start an internecine war at this very moment, particularly with a tough 2014 up ahead. And as the number three Democrat in the Senate, his words carry outsized weight. But it's clear that the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party is feeling the heat from its resurgent populist wing: the Warrens, Baldwins, Browns and Merkleys.

Republicans are locked in their own bloody civil war. Schumer (and his Third Way allies) may have just signaled that we may be in for some bloodshed of our own. In fact, he appears eager to lead Wall Street's counter attack.

Judge Alex Kozinski, dissenting in a decision that upheld the ban on political and commercial advertising on public TV and radio stations.

"... I would set public television and radio free to pursue its public mission to its full potential. We'd all be better off for it."

The 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit rejected arguments that were based on the First Amendment free speech guarantee.

Thanks for shopping on Amazon...

... through The Althouse Portal. I really appreciate the costless contributions readers are making to this blog (as I approach the 10-year mark — still without one missed day). Looking over recent purchases people have made, I infer that Legos are especially popular Christmas and Hanukkah gifts. So let me provide a link for Lego gifts.

"Monkey Jesus priest hit with sex and fraud charges."

A sidebar teaser for the news from Spain that "The priest of a small Spanish village which rose to international fame after a local woman in 2012 'restored' a fresco of Jesus Christ has been arrested for alleged sexual abuse and the embezzlement of €210,000 ($285,000)."

Is there a connection between these charges and the "Ecce Homo" restoration that amused the world back in 2012? The priest's lawyer says absolutely not, but the restoration brought tourists to the little town of of Borja, and you have to pay €1 ($1.30) to get into the church. That makes a tempting pot of money.

Oh, noooooo!

A little old lady mucks up a portrait of Jesus and life was never the same in the little Spanish town of Borja.

It needs to be a movie, don't you think?

"And by late morning, when the number of people on [] was roughly 35,000 — or 15,000 fewer than administration officials had said it could handle..."

"... some consumers encountered a 'queue,' a new feature intended for times when the site was too crowded. The feature limits the number of people on the site and notifies others by e-mail when it’s a better time to log in."

Does that mean the goal of handling 50,000 people at a time has not been reached or are we going to be told that getting treated to the new "queue" feature is one way people are getting handled? (It depends on what the meaning of "handled" is.)

Also at the link — which goes to The Washington Post — is the news that for those who have actually enrolled, there are errors in one third of the records.
The mistakes include failure to notify insurers about new customers, duplicate enrollments or cancellation notices for the same person, incorrect information about family members, and mistakes involving federal subsidies. ...

Figuring out how to clean up the backlog of errors and prevent similar ones in the future is emerging as the new imperative if the federal insurance exchange is to work as intended. 
But keep coming in, people. We need you in. If two thirds of you get through the process without your file getting screwed up, well, don't you realize that means the vast majority of people are doing quite well? An election with 66.6% of the vote would be a landslide. And:
Some of the errors in the past forms were generated by the way people were using the system, another senior official on the project said, such as clicking twice on the confirmation button or moving backward and forward on the site.
Yes, you idiots. It's your fault! User error. You double-clicked, grandma, you computer doofus!
The errors, if not corrected, mean that tens of thousands of consumers are at risk of not having coverage when the insurance goes into effect Jan. 1, because the health plans they picked do not yet have accurate information needed to send them a bill...

Of the various errors generated by the online system, a top priority for insurers is to correct what are called “orphan reports,” in which a new customer is inexplicably excluded from reports sent to each health plan early every evening listing their new enrollees from that day.
So, there are a lot of people — who don't yet know who they are — who are eventually going to be quite upset. They did what they were told to do. The machine told them they'd done it. But they had not done it. I guess everyone who thinks he's signed up needs to worry that he's one of the "orphans." Should you get upset now or wait until you discover you're one of the unlucky ones? There should be another website selling insurance against the risk of being one of those whose insurance turns out not to be insurance.

Perhaps the goal is to drive everyone nuts about insurance, so that no one wants to hear the word "insurance" again. A collective cry goes up: "Health care should just be free!" I think the main reason that doesn't happen is that too many people believe they have access to health care services that are significantly better than what would be available for everyone if the link between care and paying for it were broken and the government — over there somewhere — paid all the bills.

Yes, everyone deserves basic access to medical treatments, but I deserve more, my family deserves better. Isn't that what you think?

December 2, 2013

"Bad Eating Habits Start in the Womb."

According to the NYT.

I'm choosing to post this now because I believe in the value of the unborn comments within you readers.

Professor Nutt has a new drug, to get you drunk without drinking.

"Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London and former drugs advisor to the U.K. government, said the drug would be consumed as a cocktail drink and targets neurotransmitters in the brain to mimic the pleasurable effects of drunkenness...."
"I’ve done the prototype experiments myself many years ago, where I’ve been inebriated and then it’s been reversed by the antagonist [i.e., antidote]," Nutt told the BBC. “That’s what really gave us the idea. There’s no question that you can produce a whole range of effects like alcohol by manipulating the brain.... I think this would be a serious revolution in health ... just like the e-cigarette is going to revolutionize the smoking of tobacco... I find it weird that we haven't been speaking about this before, as it's such a target for health improvement."
Nutt is seeking funding, but I don't think he'll get it. For one thing, wouldn't the government need to approve this drug and wouldn't it say no? Another thing is, drinking has a whole culture to it, which gives it a social and political acceptability that you'd never get for a new drug that gets you high. Drugs aren't supposed to get you high. That might be an acceptable side effect, but it can't be the end itself. You need some tradition behind your recreational drugs. That's why eventually they'll allow us to use marijuana and not just for the medicinal use. A tradition has developed around it over the years.

Signs of Ezra Klein's lack of real-world work experience.

Writing about the Obamacare website, he says: "More than 400 of the 600 fixes on the administration's 'punchcard' of repairs have been made."

A punch card...

... is not the same thing as a punch list.

"Is there any evidence that more old people will make special contributions now lacking with an average life expectancy close to 80?"

"And exactly what are the potential social benefits?," writes Daniel Callahan in a NYT op-ed. He's 83 and consumed perhaps more than his proper share of health care resources when he had a 7-hour heart operation to save his life a few years ago.
I have often been struck, at funerals of the elderly, of the common phrase that while the deceased will be missed, he or she led a “full life.” Adding years to a life doesn’t necessarily make it any fuller.

We may properly hope that scientific advances help ensure, with ever greater reliability, that young people manage to become old people. We are not, however, obliged to help the old become indefinitely older. Indeed, our duty may be just the reverse: to let death have its day.
But no, no, no, there are no death panels. Just nudging, withholding, moralizing, disparaging.

What is the social benefit of these old people?

It used to be considered immoral to ask that question.

ADDED: Here's a NYT op-ed from August 2012 also stressing 80 years as the appropriate life-span:
I provided four possible answers [to the question how long would you like to live?]: 80 years, currently the average life span in the West; 120 years, close to the maximum anyone has lived; 150 years, which would require a biotech breakthrough; and forever, which rejects the idea that life span has to have any limit at all....

The results: some 60 percent opted for a life span of 80 years....
This one ends with a quote from Albert Einstein: "As he lay dying of an abdominal aortic aneurysm in 1955, he refused surgery, saying: 'It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.'"

Lefty cartoonist Ted Rall criticized at Daily Kos for drawing Barack Obama in a racist way.

He cries out against what he calls "censorship" even as he links to the supposedly offensive drawings as they are still displayed at Daily Kos. Clue to Rall: criticism ≠ censorship.

The funniest part of this is that the problem is that he made Obama look apelike, but that's just his drawing style:

"Did you forget your glove?"


"I finded it!"


"Nooo! I was gonna find it!!!"

Bella Beagle

Amazon delivery by unmanned octocopter.

This drone thing is nutty, isn't it?

Reminds me of this passage from Bill Bryson's great memoir "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid":
Every week brought exciting news of things becoming better, swifter, more convenient. Nothing was too preposterous to try. MAIL IS DELIVERED BY GUIDED MISSILE The Des Moines Register reported with a clear touch of excitement and pride on the morning of June 8, 1959, after the U.S. Postal Service launched a Regulus I rocket carrying three thousand first-class letters from a submarine in the Atlantic Ocean onto an airbase in Mayport, Florida, one hundred miles away. Soon, the article assured us, rockets loaded with mail would be streaking across the nation’s skies. Special delivery letters, one supposed, would be thudding nosecone-first into our backyards practically hourly.

“I believe we will see missile mail developed to a significant degree,” promised Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield at the happy celebrations that followed. In fact nothing more was ever heard of missile mail. Perhaps it occurred to someone that incoming rockets might have an unfortunate tendency to miss their targets and crash through the roofs of factories or hospitals, or that they might blow up in flight, or take out passing aircraft, or that every launch would cost tens of thousands of dollars to deliver a payload worth a maximum of $120 at prevailing postal rates.

The fact was that rocket mail was not for one moment a realistic proposition, and that every penny of the million or so dollars spent on the experiment was wasted. No matter. The important thing was knowing that we could send mail by rocket if we wanted to. This was an age for dreaming, after all.
By the way, isn't it strange that, describing something that's supposed to be exciting and beneficial, a key word is "unmanned"?

"But as I look ahead and think about what may still be relevant in fashion years from now, I think back to eras in style that were defined by freedom."

"I am so happy I was young in the ‘70s and participated in the women’s movement and all it meant. My generation behaved as if it had invented freedom. That was a moment in time, between the discovery of the pill and the arrival of AIDS, when sex was carefree and fun. For design inspiration then, we looked 40 years back, to the 1930s. We loved its furniture and architecture, all minimalist, and the light style of the clothing."

Writes Diane von Furstenberg.

ADDED: Her penultimate paragraph is "Who saw this coming? An icon of the ‘70s: Andy Warhol," which was especially funny to me because as I was reading, I was planning to search for "Diane von Furstenberg" in my copy of "The Andy Warhol Diaries." She's all over the place in there. Sample:

"I don't even know what 'Cyber Monday' is."

I say, aimlessly deleting about 100 emails that piled up overnight. "Is it the day when you're supposed to shop on line, like Black Friday, but for on-line shopping?" It's such a dumb and boring concept to me that I have to say that out loud in order to remember that I know what Cyber Monday is. Seems to me we're constantly shopping on line, especially when real-world shops are closed, like late at night, early in the morning, and on Sundays. So why Monday? Are we assuming people need to get to some work computer to use Amazon or whatever?

It seems perfectly silly to me, except to the extent that I'd like to remind you — if you like this blog — to do your on-line shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal (which lets you channel a contribution to this blog without paying any extra for your items). (That link is always up there in the blog banner, and the gesture of appreciation for this blog is definitely noticed.)

IN THE COMMENTS: Kevin said:
Cyber Monday was about using work computers with high speed internet to shop. The idea was you did physical shopping over the weekend, including just noting what you wanted to buy online, and then on Monday you bought it. The concept really doesn't mean anything anymore since dialup went the way of the dodo. Now it's just another excuse for a sale.
So Cyber Monday Christmas-wraps 2 moral failings: 1. Not devoting all your work hours to doing the work you're paid to do, and 2. Treating brick-and-mortar stores as mere showrooms for products you're going to buy elsewhere.

"We want to be paid," said a health insurance executive. "If we want to pay claims, we need to get paid."

The NYT says he was "speaking frankly on the condition of anonymity." The article is about fears that the website is seriously defective at the stage at which money gets conveyed to the health insurance companies — where, apparently, the executives are unwilling to express themselves openly.

"For Women, a New Look Down Under."

Having just completed a blog post about an article written by an Australian woman, I clicked on that title thinking it's one of those blog-has-a-theme-today days. But "down under" does not refer to a place on the globe. It refers to a place on the anatomy. And the "new look" is flocculent.
Even young porn stars are “bringing the ’80s back,” says Nina Hartley, a doyenne of the scene. Stoya, one of the highest-profile porn actresses of the moment, has also posed for the fashion photographer Steven Klein with grown-out pelvis and armpits. “I’ve had all sorts of pubic hair,” she says. “I’ve been completely bald, I’ve had my entire natural bush grown out, and I usually have an arrangement somewhere in between.”... [T]here’s something refreshingly retro, delightfully expressive and confidently grown-up in getting back to nature. And Courbet’s “L’Origine du Monde”? It now resides at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, where — judging by the sale of postcards — it is one of the most popular paintings of all.
The article — in the NYT — does not provide a link to the Courbet painting, perhaps because it's not fit to print "NSFW" in front of links. So let me point you toward this high-class piece of artwork: here.  The title means — I know it's obvious — "The Origin of the World."

"This is where the obesity-as-disease concept leads us – to a situation in which people demand that medicine shoulder the responsibility."

Karen Hitchcock, an Australian doctor who works in a bariatric surgery clinic, writes about the medicalization of the obesity problem.
I ask a young 200-kilo [440-pound] patient what he snacks on. “Nothing,” he says. I look him in the eye. Nothing? He nods. I ask him about his chronic skin infections, his diabetes. He tears up: “I eat hot chips and fried dim sims and drink three bottles of Coke every afternoon. The truth is I’m addicted to eating. I’m addicted.” He punches his thigh.

"I will vote against because I think that the referendum is not a festival of democracy, but a festival of oppression against a minority..."

... said one Croation who voted "no" on the question "Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?" But 65% of Croatians voted yes on the referendum.
The referendum was called by conservative group In the Name of the Family after Croatia's centre-left government drafted a law to let gay couples register as "life partners".

The Catholic church's leaders have urged their followers to vote "yes" in the referendum. Nearly 90% of Croatians are Roman Catholics....

Croatia's liberal president Ivo Josipovic said he would vote against amending the constitution.

"We don't need this kind of a referendum," Josipovic said. "Defining marriage between a man and a woman doesn't belong to the constitution. A nation is judged by its attitude toward minorities."

December 1, 2013

"In newsrooms there is little patience for the use of a difficult word where a simpler one will do."

"'Good prose is like a windowpane,' wrote George Orwell in his famous essay 'Why I Write,' a rule that would seem to counsel against ever stopping a reader with an unfamiliar word. It’s good advice for beginners, but serious readers are also lovers of language. I find that the occasional obscure word, used correctly, spices prose."

From an essay in The Atlantic by Mark Bowden, titled "In Praise of Fancy Words: The pleasures of reading with a dictionary by one's side."

I usually read on a computer or iPad screen, so the dictionary is built in, but in simpler times, I liked the exercise of getting up and walking over to the dictionary stand to look up any unfamiliar word. I keep a picture of my grandfather on the wall just above that dictionary:

Howard Beatty

He was a newspaper editor, and in his spare time, he enjoyed reading a dictionary.

And here's the full text of Orwell's "Why I Write."

"In order to boast how far the federal site has come, HHS laid out how bad it used to be."

Wise-cracks The Atlantic's headline writer as Garance Franke-Ruta displays charts from the HHS report.

Think Progress sees fit to disparage the statement: "Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism."

Can you see why this is worth scoffing at, other than that it's a tweet from the Republican National Committee?

First, you have to be enough of a douchebag to act like you don't see that "ending racism" is a process and that a person might have a role in that process even though that role didn't go so far as to entirely complete the process.

And then you have to think, here on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, that it's worth exploiting Rosa Parks for one more opportunity to bray at Republicans. Over nothing!

Utterly pathetic. Show some respect. (Hey, remember "civility"?)

At Abby's Café...

... we're at your service.

(Photo by Abby's owner.)

"Scent designer Sissel Tolaas and photographer Nick Knight teamed up to explore a fragrance that charts the emotional landscape of violence."

"Collecting sweat samples at cage fighting matches and analyzing the chemicals by means of gas chromatography, Tolaas and Knight evoke a provocative portrayal of aggressive dominance and sexual behavior, captured in the throes of violent action itself."

A product/art project, commented on by Anne-Marie Slaughter:
I did not want to open it. It appears that I shy away from violence even as a smell: sweat, body odor, the dankness and rankness of gyms and locker rooms, the certainty that it will make me wrinkle my nose like a packed summer subway or a urine-soaked stairwell. The thought of a smell wrung from the sweat-soaked t-shirts of cage fighters creates a ripple of distaste and even fear at the imminent prospect of inhaling, a sensory reaction before the sense in question is even engaged.
She shies away from violence, this lady named Slaughter. Yet she promotes a twee art project that taps the allure of violence.

Isn't "taps" so the right word there?

Shopping at Amazon.

If you're shopping, please use The Althouse Portal.

It's a gesture of appreciation for this blog that costs you nothing (beyond the regular price of whatever your order). Thanks to all who've done this already in this season of good cheer.

Putting the "gum" in "argument."

If you want to write things in gum, go here.

Signed, Your Friend,

Things to do with an abandoned shack in the middle of the desert.


"Inside the West Wing, where junior researchers monitor Twitter and other social media, officials knew the political controversy had moved beyond the broken website."

"Now it was about a broken promise. But for Mr. Obama, the mounting criticism was more than political. It felt personal."

From somewhere deep within the NYT front-page article "Inside the Race to Rescue a Health Care Site, and Obama," by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael D. Shear. Even further down, this tickled me:

"Sure, let’s have the whole 'is now a good time to go to law school?' debate again."

Teases David Lat linking to "To Apply or Not to Apply? That’s a Tough Question" in the WSJ Law Blog. Lat's implication that the very article he's linking to is not worth reading is, I think, apt.

Lat follows on with "Especially if you’re a minority, since white people are losing interest in law school," linking to The Am Law Daily's "'White Flight' Hits Nation's Law Schools," which I'd noticed yesterday and decided not to blog. Are white people losing interest in law school? There are some numbers and charts at the link, but plenty of white people still go to law school. My hypothesis would be that it's not "lack of interest" or "flight" but individuals with imperfect information assessing the risks and potential benefits.
Using the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings—not because they measure prestige precisely but because they are widely known—it's clear that the bulk of the 6,528-person decline in white 1Ls occurred at lower-ranked schools.
So it seems that there's more of a tendency among white applicants to decide that in a soft job market, it's not worth getting a degree from a less prestigious school. Why should there be a racial difference in sensitivity about risk, awareness of prestige, and belief in the strength of the connection between your personal fate and the name of your school?

"The legal and public relations battle over the investigation connected to the recall campaigns of Gov. Scott Walker and others..."

"... could turn on free-speech issues and the makeup of the state Supreme Court," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Fully analyzing the legal arguments in the challenge to the John Doe is impossible because it remains under seal....

James Bopp Jr., an Indiana attorney with a national reputation for representing conservative political clients, has declined to say whether he is involved in this John Doe case, but in an interview with the Journal Sentinel blasted the process and prosecutors in the investigation....

"You're chilling one side of an election that results in an advantage for Democrats," Bopp said.

Bopp also contended that Wisconsin statutes don't spell out clearly what would constitute illegal coordination. "What we have here is a vague law," he said.


... makeup. More here. And here.

ALSO: Cubism, done in makeup form. And Lucian Freud style.

"Is it ever OK to borrow from other cultures?"

"The biggest issue with cultural appropriation is that it belittles the origin culture, in a way that trivializes an entire way of life, turning it into an accessory. If you are a sensitive and respectful individual, the only time it is OK, is with permission or authorization by the origin culture."

From a set a questions and answers about "cultural appropriation," provided on the occasion of Katy Perry's TV-awards-show performance cartoonishly mixing elements of Japanese and Chinese culture.

So — assuming those involved are sensitive and respectful individuals — who must get permission/authorization from what origin culture when the trope is Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot or Samurai Cowboy?

Consider the possibility that the "origin culture" is the United States.  Because the name of the culture is pop.

Another part of United States culture is free speech, and no, rest of the world, you don't have to ask our permission or authorization — and you don't even have to be a sensitive and respectful individual — to appropriate our culture, the culture called pop.

SNL: J-Pop American Funtime Now! from Antoine G on Vimeo.

"Wyoming is an oligarchy. If we were not a part of the United States..."

"... Wyoming would not last five minutes as an independent political entity. One can only marvel at the power of an artificially created matrix that is completely divorced from reality."

From a letter to the editor — citing, among other things, the Citizens United case — published in the Casper-Star Tribune.

Are you one of those people who think it's so obvious: Brak = Žena + Muškarac?

"We want to show clearly that the majority of people in Croatia is convinced that marriage is only a union between a man and a woman... And that all the rights pertaining to marriage can only be part of a union between a woman and a man," said Zelja Markic, head of the citizens' group "In the Name of the Family."
The conservative bloc said it's a matter of having "a Croatia in which same-sex couples cannot adopt children," Markic said in an interview with the Catholic paper "Glas Koncila." This would go against Croatian culture, identity and values, she said....

The Breakfast carrot.


Subtle "aw" moment at 0:30.

"Saturday Sundae: big day for owners of squirrel outfits in Scunthorpe..."

"There was a run on squirrel outfits, unlikely as that may sound, in Scunthorpe...."

Keeping up with the Scunthorpe squirrel story, previously noted here

"Typically it’s best to leave wildlife alone....


What do you do with the newborn squirrel you find in your bag of mulch?