April 12, 2014

A tweet I noticed.

"The ordeal lasted 40 minutes, during which time he said he felt 'hot, suffocating and nervous'..."

"... under a suit of bees equaling about 28 beehives worth of insects."

Meet the new attention deficit disorder: sluggish cognitive tempo.

The symptoms are "lethargy, daydreaming and slow mental processing," and the experts think they see it in maybe 2 million children.

It better not be that this is crystalizing into a disorder because they've got a drug for these symptoms. I swear I wrote that before I read this:
Experts pushing for more research into sluggish cognitive tempo say it is gaining momentum toward recognition as a legitimate disorder — and, as such, a candidate for pharmacological treatment. Some of the condition’s researchers have helped Eli Lilly investigate how its flagship A.D.H.D. drug might treat it.

I love the way the question whether science can prove the existence/nonexistence of God...

... always turns into the question whether Einstein believed in God.

It's easier to ask what scientists think than to do science, and it's especially convenient when everyone converges on one scientist. Similarly, it's easier to consult one religious authority than to pursue your own religious inquiry. Easier... and maybe better.

It's easier to look to the authority, but is it better?
pollcode.com free polls 

Obama hugs Sebelius.

But check out the look on his face.

Lips... flowers...

Absurd clothes... so lovable.

Android is for poor people.

Which is why designers don't design for them.

Via Metafilter.

Justice Stevens gets big traffic at WaPo with the specious theme of "fixing" the Constitution by adding a few words here and there.

The retired Justice has a new book called "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution," and the WaPo op-ed is titled "Justice Stevens: The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment." The op-ed went up yesterday and there are already nearly 3,000 comments. It's also #1 in "The Post Most" list in WaPo's sidebar. ("Most" what? Most clicked on? Most emailed? Most favored by whoever made the list?)

I'm only skimming the op-ed and reading the table of contents in the book, but how can this be any more than a literary device restating the Justice's old dissenting opinions as text to be inserted in the clauses of the Constitution that the majority interpreted in a manner he thinks is wrong? It's much too hard to amend the Constitution for any of this to be practical, and I doubt that Justice Stevens has any general serious enthusiasm for "fixing" the Constitution this way. If he gets to "fix" the Second Amendment — his text would cancel the individual right to bear arms — he's invigorating the movement to "fix" the Fourteenth Amendment by making the unborn into "persons." There's no end to this "fixing."

I remember listening to the agonizing of some of my colleagues over the Federal Marriage Amendment. My response was always: "That's not going to happen." Obviously not. Remember the old Flag Desecration Amendment? Didn't happen. If ever these things get anywhere near being taken seriously, our traditional, deep-rooted respect for the original document stirs to life.

Here's one iteration of that respect:

Dog selfies.

Like selfies with humans, but with more licking.

The notion that understanding the rule can save you from breaking it.

Language Log embarrasses The Wall Street Journal (European edition) by pointing at this headline which has 2 bad spelling errors:
"Prosector to Oscar Pistorius: 'You're Version's a Lie'"! 
(By the way, I think Language Log has a punctuation mistake there.)

Now, I think "Prosector" for "Prosecutor" is actually the worse mistake, because it got me thinking about what it would mean to be in favor of (i.e., pro) "sector." I thought of words like "bisect" and "dissect," which are based on a root that means to cut, and that sent me spinning into a contemplation of Pistorius's birth defect (fibular hemimelia) and the double amputation performed by the surgeons who could be said to be pro-sector.

But Language Log thinks the worse mistake is "You're" for "Your," even though that mistake — along with "it's" for "its" — is just about the most common typo there is. Language Log makes an amazing assertion:

Missing limbs of the morning.

There are many things I see that seem almost bloggable, that I decide to pass up for one reason or another. And then there are things upon which I've recently passed, that become bloggable because the next thing I see resonates with that otherwise unbloggable thing. Here's something I passed on:

Here's the next thing I saw:

#1 is a statue with one leg broken off, purportedly by a museum-visitor who climbed onto its lap to take a selfie. Looking at the original...

... I said, aloud, in the privacy of my home: "The statue was asking for it." I liked my wisecrack, but also saw how I could be attacked for making humor in the general vicinity of rape.

It's not squarely a rape joke, because: 1. Climbing onto an inviting knee is not sexual intercourse, 2. It's a statue, and 3. Most politically correctly: The joke isn't mocking victims but those who blame victims.

That twinge of fear that I could be criticized for saying something wrong was the first small count against blogging, but I would have blogged it. What made it unbloggable was: 1. The broken statue is only a reproduction of the truly valuable ancient original (called the "Barberini Faun" or "Drunken Satyr"), and 2. The news story comes from a few weeks ago. I moved on.

Then I saw #2, which is a painting by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the old, now deceased, Dr. Death, who was the unpleasant face of physician-assisted suicide for many years. The painting is called "Paralysis," so it appears to depict the subjective experience of being paralyzed on one side of the body — as subjectively perceived by a doctor-artist who favors accepting the preference for death by those who are forming that preference within their subjective experience of physical impairment.

And thus within the subjective experience of blogging, for me, the Drunken Satyr stirred to life.

April 11, 2014

"That’s how I found myself Biblically nude in a kind of spiritual locker room, a shower space in a converted brownstone, waiting on a man with a razor...."

"When the mohel arrived, he looked, I’m sorry to say, like Danny Devito in curls. We stood in silence. I opened my towel. Hello, groin. He opened a shaving bag with glinting instruments. Hello, knife. My mohel produced a pen-sized lance, which he wielded ever so gently, like Lady Grantham with a paring knife. He sliced, sliced, squeezed, dripped, and was done. The whole transaction was over in seconds, long before I could scream, or faint, or decide if I liked it."

From "My Adult Circumcision/How I made the cut for my new religion."

Another entry in Meade's Pull-Up Challenge

So you may remember, Meade laid down a challenge: "We have a chinning bar here in Madison. Any man or woman (over 40) who wants to challenge me to a pull-up competition, just email me."

That Strong Old Guy emailed: "Well Hombre, I’m coming to Madison. I don’t know how I missed this one originally, but I was challenged yesterday when your one and only posted your pull up challenge. I turn 60 next Tuesday. Should be fair enough:)"

So we met him on his birthday, and here's the video I shot, which Meade edited (and the 2 of us are heard in the background):

The challenge is still on... even if it's doubtful anyone can out-pull-up That Strong Old Guy.

You won't believe the tameness of the joke behind the TPM headline "Here's George W. Bush Telling A Very Dirty Joke At A Civil Rights Summit."

My post title is intended as a deliberately parody of headlines (like the one I'm quoting) that shamelessly beg for traffic, so let me help you resist clicking on this link by revealing Bush's joke.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Library, Bush said: "Former presidents compare their libraries the way other men may compare their, well..." Pause for effect. Crowd laughs.

Does the word "very" mean nothing anymore? Even "dirty" without the "very" seems like a dumb exaggeration. Just call it off color... and insist that one must never indulge in any off-color humor anywhere in the region of civil rights. Not even to gently rib LBJ. LBJ!
Johnson was a sexual beast, and also fond of (literally) waving his dick around.... As for waving around his cock (a little extension of him that he had affectionately nicknamed "Jumbo"), he was said to piss in public whenever he felt like it, and if anyone dared confront him, he would whip his dick around and challenge the poor sap with, "Have you seen anything bigger than this?"

"It’s almost like a drug song or a mental attitude song, or a wishful thinking song. But you don’t really know for sure."

"You can’t pin it down because he don’t come out and say. One of the wonderful things about Bob Dylan music is everybody can draw their own conclusions about what he’s talking about."

Says Charlie Daniels about "Mr. Tambourine Man," one of 10 Bob Dylan songs covered on his band's new album "Off The Grid-Doin' It Dylan."

One of my readers sent me that recording (via Amazon gift). Thanks! Meade and I are enjoying it.

2 days after James O'Keefe posts a video, Mike Ellis drops out of his reelection race.

"I don't fit in anymore.... There isn't room for independent thinking and compromise...There's no room on the street anymore for people to walk down the middle of the road,"
says the Wisconsin state senate president, who's served in the legislature for more than 4 decades.
He made the decision to get out of the race Wednesday night, after the recording was released...

"My wife doesn't deserve this," he said. "Nobody's wife deserves this. I grew up like Tommy Thompson in the '80s and '90s," he said, referring to his political ascent with the longtime Republican governor. "Our entire political makeup does not recognize that approach to politics. We didn't grow up in it."...

O'Keefe has declined to say why he focused on Ellis, who is little known outside Wisconsin. Observers have seen the recordings as an attempt to push Ellis out of the race.
Here's yesterday's discussion of the O'Keefe video. I asked: "Why did the conservative video-activist James O'Keefe go after Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis (a Republican)?"

"Honestly, I don’t think anybody I know romanticized it as much as they liked it. It’s got good qualities."

It = heroin, described by Robert Aaron, the musician accused of selling drugs to Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor who died of a drug overdose. Aaron, we're told, paused before proceeding to tout heroin:
"A lot of times you have a deadline and you have to work for 24 hours. This lets you do it with no pain, no tiredness.... If I have to write a book, get me high — I’ll have the book written in two weeks. You’re lucid. And emotions don’t affect you as much — your anger — it bottles up your feelings. It makes you more rational, or you think you are, anyway. You sleep wonderfully. I’m a lifelong insomniac. Everything has its good points and bad points. The bad point is the dependence."

Federal judge rules in favor of the John Doe targets who went on the offensive in federal court.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Here's the opinion (PDF). The defendants made various abstention and immunity arguments, most notably contending that the federal court shouldn't interfere with an ongoing state proceeding. But the U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa said that at the investigatory stage, there's no state judicial proceeding that can be deferred to under the Younger abstention doctrine:

The new dog is winning.

Meet Jetta:

"I am ecstatic over that kind of mockery."

Says Ezra Klein.
If media professionals look at this and think, That’s ridiculous, I already know all of this, that’s wonderful for us. It’s great on two levels. One is that if we are not aiming beneath our colleagues’ knowledge level, we’re making a huge mistake. We’re leaving tons of readers behind. 
Absurdly uninformed people need stuff to read too. There's traffic there.
Two: The more folks in the media feel like it’s beneath them to answers questions like, “What is marijuana?” or “What is Ukraine?” the more we don’t have to compete with them.
Can I get something to click on that would answer my question: How is that 2 levels?

ADDED: "A whole new lifestyle... Levels... It's all in my head.... It's a simple job. Why, you don't think I can?... Well, I got the tools. I got the pillows. All I need is the lumber...."

"How does Comedy Central replace Colbert?"

"It could easily draw from its considerable in-house bench... Amy Schumer... Daniel Tosh...."
What’s not clear is whether Comedy Central will want to stick with the fake-news format Colbert borrowed from Stewart, or aim for something else. Doing something experimental would be consistent with its DNA as an alternative comedy channel....
"The Colbert Show" isn't just fake news. It's a liberal acting the role of a foolish right-winger. Colbert did it extremely well, but it was questionable how long he could keep doing the same thing, so why would they bring in somebody else — a year from now — to continue it. They could refresh it, perhaps, by having a female liberal play the foolish right-winger role. And then there's the bold (obvious) idea of getting a conservative comedian to play a foolish left-winger, but somehow that seems impossible.

"Did he love chicken? We don't know. Nobody knows."

He = General Tso.

When Joy Behar says to Chris Christie: "Let me put it to you this way, in a way that you’d appreciate: You’re toast."

In video and as quoted in Ryan Lizza's New Yorker article about Christie. The article doesn't have the continuation of the quote: "Not that I care. I don't give a shit. I mean, I don't care how pissed off you are with these jokes, Governor, because, first of all, you can do the worst you want on me. I'm taking mass transit home."

Whatever you think of Behar — who cares? she's not running for President — watch Christie, who can't sit through some dumb jokes but gets up and gets in her space.

Leee Black Childers — yes, Leee with 3 e's — told Andy Warhol that he wanted to be a photographer.

And Andy said:
"Say you’re a photographer, and you’re a photographer,’... And he pointed across the Factory to Candy Darling, who was one of the great drag queens, and he said: ‘Look at her. She says she’s a woman. She is.’ So from that moment on, I was a photographer.”"
The link goes to a NYT obituary, which has a great slideshow, including of 1970s-era Warhol, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, and Iggy Pop.
[W]hen Lee was 6 or 7 he insisted on writing his first name with three E’s, which caused a frustrated teacher to call his mother to school. His mother defended the spelling, and from then on he was known as Leee....

Mr. Childers attended Kentucky Southern College, a Baptist school near Louisville. In 1967, he recalled in an interview, he read a story in Life magazine about Leary and LSD.

“I thought, ‘That seems fun,’ ” he said. “So I just got in a car and drove to San Francisco for the Summer of Love.”
Do you remember that issue of Life magazine?

Thanks for the warning Life Magazine, but young people could read The exploding threat... turmoil in a capsule... and think "That seems like fun." A few months later we got this one, the "exploding threat" having exploded into art:

April 10, 2014

Action dogs.

Photos by Meade.

Kathleen Sebelius resigns as HSS Secretary; Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be nominated.

"The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, persuade a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall."

Burwell is the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Does she have what it takes to give Democrats the boost they need in the elections? She's "a Harvard- and Oxford-educated West Virginia native with a background in economic policy" who's supposed to "bring an intense focus and management acumen to the department."

Stephen Colbert will replace Letterman.

"Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career. I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave's lead. I'm thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth."

What do you think of Colbert replacing Letterman?
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"State legislators cannot withhold the names and email addresses of constituents who contact them..."

"... the Wisconsin Court of Appeals decided Wednesday."
Currently, some public officials, including [Gov. Scott] Walker, leave names on correspondence requested under the open-records law while others have blacked them out. Dreps said the ruling creates a “bright-line rule” for all officials to follow.

Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, called the ruling “a win for transparency in government and the taxpayers of Wisconsin.”...

“I think people don’t realize how far-reaching this is,” [Sen. Jon] Erpenbach said...

"The factoid that women earn only 77 cents of every dollar earned by men is the focal point of a feminist cargo cult."

Writes Rich Lowry, letting us see the anguish caused by the relentless sticking power of that number 77. So irksome! So unforgettable!
The statistic, and the political use to which it is put, deserve each other; they are equally shoddy, shameless and disreputable....

Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute note that men are twice as likely to work more than 40 hours per week as women....

Feminists are mistaking a byproduct of the laudable desire of mothers to spend time with their kids for a depredation of The Man.
Are they "mistaking" — or in thrall to a "cargo cult" — or are they utterly savvy and laughing at the anguish of Lowry, et al.? The factoid works politically, and there's some kind of problem involving women and work that a lot of people care about. Lowry would sweep aside that problem by calling it the laudable desire of mothers to spend time with their kids. That's not particularly accurate and subtle, and I'm not surprised that his political opponents continue, gleefully, to antagonize him and his ilk with that 77¢ business.

ADDED: I appreciate the more accurate and subtle approach taken by Megan McArdle in "Government Can't Fix Real Gender Pay Gap." Excerpt:
The part of pay disparity driven by sexism is so small that it will be very difficult to detect in any given case, or even in aggregate. The sexism that drives it probably mostly operates below the conscious level, in men and women who know that they don’t like hard-charging, opinionated women, but don’t recognize that this is partly because they’re women.

The part of pay disparity that is driven by differential ability to work long hours is easy to detect, but what do we do? Mandate that everyone be paid a flat rate by the hour? Put everyone in the country on something like the government’s GS system? Cap working hours? To state the meaningful solutions is to reject them....
See? She appreciates the nature of the real problem and doesn't slough it off as mere "laudable desire" to spend time with children (which sounds — infuriatingly — as though he thinks women are just doing what they like and deserve to make less money).

Why did the conservative video-activist James O'Keefe go after Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis (a Republican)?

Here's the Project Veritas video that went up yesterday:

Here's The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's report:
In an interview Wednesday, O'Keefe declined to say why his group has focused on Ellis, saying it has called out politicians from around the country for their hypocrisy....

Some conservatives have called for a primary challenge to Ellis, who has been at odds with other Republican leaders on issues such as expanding voucher schools....

The unedited video shows Ellis responding favorably to remarks critical of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The individual secretly recording the interview for Project Veritas accuses Walker of focusing all of his efforts on a possible presidential bid.

"Amen," Ellis responded, later applauding comments about Walker not caring about Wisconsin. Ellis added, "I think Walker's working for Walker."
Ellis has been a Wisconsin state senator since 1982, he's up for reelection this November, and there is a challenger from the Democratic Party. 

UPDATE: One day later, Mike Ellis drops out.

It's springtime: Inhale!


Are college students hungry?

WaPo presents "food insecurity" as a current problem on campus.
When students try to save by living off campus and eschewing the meal plan, they often find that budgeting for food can be difficult....

“A lot of people tend to think that when you go to college you’re on the meal plan or the university is taking care of you, but for millions of students attending college, that is not the case . . . and with groceries rising and D.C. being a particularly expensive city, you’ll see that magnified,” [said Alex Ashbrook, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions]....

Counting hungry students is hard because the issue is often shrouded in shame. On a Facebook page called GMU Confessions, an 18-year-old student with three part-time jobs confided anonymously last month that “I send my parents 50 dollars every month just so that they can manage to buy groceries, I have a 5 meal per week plan and I’m like REALLY REALLY hungry all the time.”

The student said she was considering suicide...
Suicide! If you can go on line to threaten suicide on Facebook, you can Google something like "how to eat as cheaply as possible" and generate lots of ideas about how to get plenty of nutritious calories for very little money.

I don't want to be callous about anyone who is actually hungry, but what is WaPo up to with this article? It's a jumble of concerns presented as one problem with a highly emotive label: hunger.  Let's think more clearly about the separate components of the problem WaPo wraps into one: Students are trying to save money by not buying campus meal plans. Food stamps and other feeding programs are not sufficiently accessible to students. Students are burdened with a many expenses. Student life is stressful. It's difficult for a young person to manage a household for the first time. Etc.

Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jonathan Chait — occupants of "a similar niche of thoughtful progressive journalism" — are having an intra-niche spat about race.

I've been avoiding getting up to speed on this, because Chait's article is really long, and it has to do with something Paul Ryan said a while back, which occupants of that "thoughtful progressive" niche purveyed as racist and which I did not blog. I noticed Joan Walsh at Salon opining on the Chait-Coates spat, but it was obvious that she was talking to readers who'd been hanging out in the niche, being thoughtfully progressive and progressively thoughtful together, and that made it short but inscrutable to a non-nicher.

But now here's Clare Sestanovicha, at The Atlantic, with "Black Culture and Progressivism/What started as a discussion of Paul Ryan's comments by has [sic] turned into a revealing debate on the nature of liberal politics in the United States." It might be readable, assuming you're looking for an entry point. Excerpt:

11 Senate Democrats push Obama to approve the Keystone pipeline.

"Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Warner of Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska, who all face tight races this November, signed the letter..."
The party’s quest to keep control of the Senate could hinge on the races of these five Democrats, who have previously expressed support for the project. Many of them come from fossil-fuel rich states....

Facing mounting pressure from his environmental base, Mr. Obama said last summer he would only approve the Canada-U.S. pipeline if it didn’t “significantly exacerbate” global warming.

April 9, 2014

Dog drama.

Photo by Meade, taken today. Also:

"This Japanese toilet should make Americans very worried."

"I suspect that the real reason we don't adopt Japanese toilets is the very fact that people are so eager to give reasons not to."

"Part of what I’m interested in interrogating is this kind of collective shame that we feel about sentimentality..."

"... and I think sometimes that shame manifests as accusation—accusing a film or a piece of art of manipulating our emotions. And sometimes it can show up as self-recrimination," says Leslie Jamison, author of "The Empathy Exams."
Things we describe as “guilty pleasure” reads [are] things that bring us to these cheap flowings of sentiment that aren’t really “earned” or aren’t rigorous in some way.

Repurposing disease as art: Photographing dermatographia.

So you have skin that swells up when even lightly scratched, so that it's possible to make a drawing on yourself, a drawing made of welts. Interesting medium... and I'm sorry you have an ailment... but draw something interesting.

"Maybe there’s a difference between a blowjob and a slice of pie — one that is occluded..."

"... when all types of service work are collapsed into one, a difference that today’s young left feminists don’t want to think about."

A sentence from Katha Pollitt's "Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work to Be the New Normal?" that has it all. Blowjobs, pie, the word "occluded," an absurdly unnecessary and timidly stated observation that 2 things may — may! — be different, and daring lefty-on-lefty/feminist-on-feminist/old-on-young action.

"He had a terrible go at me, snarling, 'What’s wrong with you? If you can’t get it right then you’re out.'"

"I just got up from my stool and said, 'That’s it, I quit.' It was the biggest mistake of my life."

50 years ago today.

John Kerry's "poof speech."

Don't worry, Kerry lovers. He'll survive. He didn't use a homophobic slur. He said "Poof, that was sort of the moment. We find ourselves where we are."

He was talking about the Israeli/Palestinian difficulties, and the "poof" moment was "Israel’s announcement of 700 new housing units for Jewish settlement in an area of Jerusalem across the 1967 lines, in territory the Palestinians claim for a future state." In Israel, that's being called Kerry's "poof speech."

This does seem to open up the Israelis to a charge that they are using homophobic slur against Kerry.

"Brandeis University withdraws planned honorary degree for Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali."

Fox News reports.
More than 85 of about 350 faculty members at Brandeis signed a letter asking for Ali to be removed from the list of honorary degree recipients. And an online petition created Monday by students at the school of 5,800 had gathered thousands of signatures from inside and outside the university as of Tuesday afternoon.

"You take good care of Barry now... Make sure he doesn’t get lost again."

"It’s a common expression here... Usually, it means the person hasn’t seen you in a while. ‘You’ve been lost,’ they’ll say. Or ‘Don’t get lost.’ Sometimes it has a more serious meaning. Let’s say a son or husband moves to the city, or to the West, like our Uncle Omar, in Boston. They promise to return after completing school. They say they’ll send for the family once they get settled. At first they write once a week. Then it’s just once a month. Then they stop writing completely. No one sees them again. They’ve been lost, you see. Even if people know where they are."

So said Aunt Zeituni, quoted in Barack "Barry" Obama's "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance."

Zeituni Onyango died yesterday at the age of 61.

"How Many Of These Lesbian-Themed Films Have You Seen?"

There are 42. Have you been systematically avoiding these?

I've seen 5 myself, including "The Hours," which I loathed. I loved "Bound" and "Heavenly Creatures," and "Mullholland Drive" was interesting. The other one I saw was "Personal Best," which must have been on TV in the 80s.

The checklist — which is at Buzzfeed — is missing the 1983 John Sayles movie "Lianna." ("A happily married woman comes to realize herself of being a repressed lesbian after she has an affair with a female college professor, and then tries to come to terms with her newfound lifestyle.") That was a big deal, breakthrough movie in its time, which was a time when I nearly always stepped up to the task of consuming the movies that were supposed to be important.

And back in the 80s, we understood that John Sayles was important. "Brother From Another Planet"? "Return of the Secaucus 7"?! I feel that you will not get these references in our fractured, alienation-deprived culture.

NYT columnist Frank Bruni, 49, is teaching a college class and the students don't get his allusions.

They didn't know the Jane Fonda movies "They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?" and "Barbarella." They hadn't heard of Vanessa Redgrave or Greta Garbo.

Or at least they looked like they didn't. Should we trust Bruni's interpretation of the blank expression on their face? Did it mean "I don't know what you are referring to?" or "Boring!"

The school is Princeton, Bruni reveals in paragraph 4, which means, of course, the students aren't dumb. They're just fractured, lacking shared experience, which Bruno concedes might be good:
No single, potentially alienating cultural dogma holds sway. 
Oh? Young people may not know the grand old actresses that swan about forever in the mind of Frank Bruni....

... but I think the young people are actually quite aware of the sway of a single, potentially alienating cultural dogma.

Cue inevitable discussion of Brendan Eich and Bill Maher's talk of the "Gay Mafia."

"Imagine a photographer, who instead of being a conservative Christian, is a whole-earth hippie type."

"He tries to run his business consistent with his moral views. Among those views is his belief that circumcision is a violation of a child’s human rights. He has Jewish clients, but when one of them asked him to photograph his son’s brit milah (circumcision) ceremony, the photographer declined, stating that he won’t photograph circumcision celebrations...."

"And while these super-costumey retro styles look fun when you’re in your 20s and 30s, by the time you hit your 50s..."

"... you’re going to start looking a bit like an aging Ricky Ricardo... We’re all for developing and sticking to a personal style, but you’ve simply got to make sure it evolves with you as you get older. If he’s still dressing like this when he hits 60 he’s going to go from looking silly to looking pathetic."

"Do you see what I have to go through every time we have one of these goddamned conferences?!" said Justice Scalia...

... to Andrew Napolitano, one time at a dinner, where Sandra Day O'Connor was also present. Justice Scalia was saying something and — as Napolitano tells it, "Justice O'Connor said something about how his general point didn't apply to the specific area of maritime law. He turned to her and said, 'Let me finish!'" And then Scalia whispered the snark in the post title.

I'm sure that anecdote provokes — in some circles — the countersnark: If he doesn't like it, he ought to retire. And, in fact, the linked article describes a recent Brooklyn Law School appearance at which a student asked:
"There have been many calls for Justice Ginsburg to retire... Would you take some of the pressure off her and retire instead?"
We're told there was "a roar of laughter." Scalia said: "Sure, I'll retire. As soon as there's a decently conservative President in office to appoint my successor." I'm just kidding. He said: "I said I would take questions—I didn't say I would answer them."

Which is almost as cheeky as the time Chief Justice Rehnquist, asked if he'd retire, said: "That's for me to know and you to find out."

"No pre-'Oklahoma!' musical has had a more enduring stage life..."

"... proof that American theatergoers like nothing better than to be told what greedy bastards they are."

"We'll never get to hear how the band might have developed; the analogy would be if John Lennon had died not in 1980 but in 1965."

Wrote my son John, yesterday, April 8th:
Nirvana released only three proper studio albums. In an interview near the end of his life, Cobain was critical of the band's soft/loud formula and talked about wanting to branch out stylistically. He was disappointed that the band up to that point had emphasized the heavy side of that formula instead of a poppier, Beatley side.... They should have done so much more. But they changed the direction of rock music in the few years they were around. I realize that other bands have a better claim to inventing grunge. Nirvana was to grunge rock as the Beatles were to '60s rock, or as Mozart was to the Classical style, or as Bach was to Baroque. They didn't invent their style. They perfected it. Cobain was the first to admit that he mostly ripped off a lot of other bands to make Nirvana's music. I'm so glad he did.
I appreciated that John was commemorating the date we learned that Kurt Cobain had killed himself, his body having lain dead, undiscovered, for 3 days. As I wrote over there, the date we heard the news matters deeply:
To me, it's the effect on people like you that is so significant. For the music that you and other young people loved to have suddenly taken on the meaning of the rejection of life -- that was terrible thing (in addition to the loss that you describe, to know that you would never hear more, never have the experience of hearing what would have evolved from what you already had made part of your mind and your life through love and attention).
John was 13 at this point, and he recounts hearing the news that day on MTV, in a report that used the phrase "a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head." He turned to me for an explanation, and I said "That means he killed himself."

April 8, 2014

At the Dog Tongue Café...

... you might do better without your tongue sticking out.

What should Scott Walker — if he's a presidential candidate — say when they ask him whether a President needs to have a college degree?

1. Express his understanding of the importance of education and of the good reasons why some young people interrupt their education to engage in other pursuits that are also important, such as business opportunities, family responsibilities, military service...

2. Explain the work he has done, as Governor of Wisconsin, in supporting the University of Wisconsin's FlexOption, which facilitates the completion of a degree by those who have interrupted their education.

3. Describe a hypothetical excellent presidential candidate who does not have a college degree, the sort of person that we would need to be embarrassingly snobbish to reject.

4. Suddenly, but modestly, reveal that he has in fact earned that college degree.

I know the most recent news report on the subject has a Walker spokesperson saying that the UW FlexOption doesn't have the right program for Walker and making it sound as though he's done nothing toward completing the degree. But I have this idea that he could be working toward the degree in some other way. If he's going to run for President, he's going to need to bone up on a lot of presidential topics — notably history and foreign affairs. I like to think of him having worked out a way to be earning college credits, and to be able to announce — to the consternation of those who are planning their didn't-even-finish-college attacks — that he has his degree.

We've lost the "context" of the "most famous libel" of television: "a vast wasteland."

Writes Emily Nussbaum in a New Yorker article titled "The Great Divide: Norman Lear, Archie Bunker, and the rise of the bad fan." She explains the context:
That description comes from the first official speech given by Newton Minow, shortly after President Kennedy appointed him chairman of the F.C.C., in 1961. Minow wasn’t arguing that what aired on television was bad; he was arguing that it was amoral. He quoted, with approval, the words of the industry’s own Television Code and urged the networks to live up to them: "Program materials should enlarge the horizons of the viewer, provide him with wholesome entertainment, afford helpful stimulation, and remind him of the responsibilities which the citizen has toward his society."

From a modern perspective, the passage feels prissy and laughable, the residue of an era when television was considered a public utility: it was in everyone’s best interest to keep it pure, and then add fluoride...

"House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sided on Monday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over Breitbart News..."

"... requesting that his column be pulled from the news outlet's new California website."
Democrats called the website, which featured sexually suggestive images of Pelosi, "foul, offensive and disrespectful to all women." They urged Republican leaders to condemn the site. McCarthy seems to have obliged.

“We didn’t condone them,” Matt Sparks, a McCarthy spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times, about the images. “We thought it was the right thing to do to ask for the column to be removed.”
Good call by McCarthy. As I said last night: "It's bad branding, and GOP mainstreamers have to get distance from it."

Why did the UConn Huskies win the NCAA tournament? Was it the logo?

I acknowledge last night's victory, and I want to draw attention to something that changed just about exactly one year earlier.

I blogged it here, on April 26, 2013: "UConn's new husky dog logo — insensitive to campus violence against women?"
"In an open letter to UC President Susan Herbst, self-described feminist student Carolyn Luby wrote that the redesigned team logo will intimidate women and empower rape culture."
UConn basketball coach Geno Auriemma said the logo “is looking right through you and saying, ‘Do not mess with me.’ This is a streamlined, fighting dog, and I cannot wait for it to be on our uniforms and court.”

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

The terrifying Huskies looked straight through their opponents and made them feel powerless...

Rebecca Kleefisch (Wisconsin's Republican lieutenant governor) gets an article in The Weekly Standard.

"Scott Walker's Successor?" Excerpt:
Kleefisch is easily likened to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Fox News featured Kleefisch on a program about “Mama Grizzlies”—a phrase coined by Palin herself to describe GOP women who see their political roles as fighting for the future of their “cubs,” part of what Palin has called a “mom awakening.” The Wisconsin State Journal called Kleefisch “our Mama Grizzly.”

Like Palin, Kleefisch is polished and attractive, with the poise of a broadcast journalist. Both women have been calledBarbies.” As lieutenant governor, her domain is limited to job growth, so she doesn’t talk much about social issues. But, like Palin, she occasionally gets in trouble for making incendiary remarks, like the time she compared gay marriage to marrying a dog. If Kleefisch wants to make it to the governor's mansion one day, she'll need to put comments like that behind her.

Still waiting for those affirmative action lawsuits:

The Daily Cardinal reports:
The University of Wisconsin-Madison could face legal action against its 'holistic' admissions policy from Project on Fair Representation, the Virginia-based legal group behind the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case, Fisher vs. University of Texas-Austin.

POFR announced Monday it is seeking applicants that believe they were rejected admission to UW-Madison because of their race to join potential legal action against the university. The group started similar campaigns to UWnotfair.org at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Harvard University....

POFR Director Edward Blum said the group targets universities with admissions policies that classify applicants based on race and then treat people differently based on race.
But read Adam Liptak's NYT article about Blum, "Unofficial Enforcer of Ruling on Race in College Admissions." Liptak observes that when the Fisher case came out last year, Blum seemed to threaten litigation (by saying "Those universities that continue using race-based affirmative action will likely find themselves embroiled in costly and polarizing litigation"). But we still haven't see these lawsuits. Why? Blum revealed to Liptak that "it is hard to find plaintiffs willing to call attention to having been rejected by a prestigious institution, to blame that rejection on race discrimination and to persevere through years of litigation."
“It’s understandable that most teenagers will want to avoid this scrutiny,” Mr. Blum said, “especially if their character and motives may be besmirched by others.”

But Mr. Blum does not give up easily. He has started a series of websites seeking plaintiffs.

“Were you denied admission to the University of North Carolina?” one asks. “It may be because you’re the wrong race.”

The site features a picture of a student who appears to be Asian-American. There is a form to fill out and a bit of hand holding. Mr. Blum’s group, the Project on Fair Representation, “covers all expenses,” the site says. “In every similar case during the last 12 years or so, no individual was required to appear or testify in any court or talk to the media.”
There's also one of these sites referring to the University of Wisconsin—Madison, which seems kind of dumb — unless the sites are just for show — because POFR is looking for applicants who were denied admission. The students who are here got in. I think they should search for prospective plaintiffs at branches of the university that Wisconsin in-staters attend when they don't get into Madison — University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. But I suspect that finding a plaintiff is not the real purpose of these websites, which have obviously already worked to get publicity for the organization and presumably needs to raise money.

And I suspect that students who don't get into the school they wanted look at their own self-interest and begin their education somewhere else, which seems to make a lot more sense than lending your name to an affirmative action lawsuit... unless fighting affirmative action is your mission in life.

CORRECTION: I've rewritten the second-to-the-last paragraph, which previously made it seem as though POFR's website was somehow located in Madison and not visible elsewhere, which obviously isn't how websites work.

"Does an Image of Pelosi Twerking Help the Right in Any Way?"

Asks NRO's Jim Geraghty, conceding that he is "a stodgy old-school traditionalist who doesn’t understand how to fight the Left with its own tools and expose their hypocrisy and double standards, and I’m a dry, boring inside-the-Beltway insider…"

I made the same point last night (and got the predictable "they did it first" pushback from righty commenters). I'm not a stodgy old-school traditionalist or an inside-the-Beltway insider. I like edgy, arty humor and imagery, and the main political thing I do here on this blog is call lefties on their hypocrisy and double standards. And I find the use of sexual humiliation against Nancy Pelosi disgusting. I don't want to be anywhere near people who amuse themselves and make their political points that way.

My sources say no to Ezra Klein's Vox.

Columbia Journalism Review has this:
It looks like a core editorial mission of Vox.com is going to be delivering those “really good, really clear, really comprehensive online summaries” of issues in the news. And its core innovation, at least for now, is “card stacks”—essentially, standing explainers that break a topic down question by question, chunk by chunk. In an oddly analog analogy, they’re modeled after the index cards you might have used to organize your school notes—click on a yellow-shaded phrase in a card, or in a main story, and it’ll take you right to the corresponding card.
What's odd about the "analog analogy"? It's a computer convention, going back to the desktops and trashcans of the 80s. Macintosh came out on January 24, 1984, the winter before Ezra Klein was born. Index cards and highlighters are doubly dorky, both because the real-life tools are associated with college nerds of a distant era and because of the old computer cliché of making things on screen seem like something in the real world.

Why fiddle with Vox's card stacks when there's Wikipedia? It's easier than Googling for background and clicking on the Wikipedia article (which is what nearly always comes up first), but you have to want to stay intra-Vox, and how good are those cards?

Seth Mandel at Commentary tested out the card on Ukraine:

April 7, 2014

Here, HBO is letting you watch the whole first episode of Mike Judge's new series "Silicon Valley."

Via Metafilter, which says:
The AV club calls it "incisive satire" (while comparing it [favorably] to Entourage). Some people in the real Silicon Valley are not happy about it.

"The people at Breitbart appear to have gone insane."

Tweets Ana Marie Cox, and I've got to agree.

See for yourself: here.

"What we’ve witnessed in recent years is the popularization of street marches without a plan for what happens next..."

"... and how to keep protesters engaged and integrated in the political process. It’s just the latest manifestation of the dangerous illusion that it is possible to have democracy without political parties—and that street protests based more on social media than sustained political organizing is the way to change society."

Writes Moisés Naím in an Atlantic article titled "Why Street Protests Don't Work/How can so many demonstrations accomplish so little?

"Rand Paul Says Dick Cheney Pushed for the Iraq War So Halliburton Would Profit."

"As the ex-veep blasts Paul for being an isolationist, old video shows the Kentucky senator charging that Cheney used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq and benefit his former company."

AND: Back in February, I said it's crucial for Rand Paul to make us feel that he's not abnormal or weird:
I like Rand Paul. He's got youthful vigor and a libertarian spirit. He can speak, and by speak, I mean he doesn't merely stay on message with excellent talking points. He seems to be speaking from a real and lively mind. He needs to convince us that it's a normal, nonweird mind.
He's losing ground today.

Ezra Klein explains it all, on his newly launched website that means to make "the 'vegetables' of news more appetizing."

The snarky New York Magazine asks: "How many topics can I better understand right now?" Answer:
Not many. So far your options are student debt, GM's recall scandal, Obamacare, congressional dysfunction, immigration reform, global warming, federal taxes, Bitcoin, and health-care spending.
Speaking of eating what some liberal politico thinks is good for you, I was amused by: "'I'll never forgive Michelle Obama for this school lunch': Students sick of smaller, healthier portions take to social media to rail against First Lady's pet project."

Funny that Ezra deployed the eat-your-vegetables metaphor. So tedious! Why would we look to his operation for genuine nourishment?

CORRECTION: I'd misread the Q&A as an interview with Ezra (and portrayed a response as "dismal"), but the New York Magazine writer is doing both the Q and the A, albeit with some quotes from the Vox website, which is responsible for deploying the "vegetables" metaphor. I don't know if Ezra personally deployed it, but here's a Vox FAQ quote with the metaphor:
Vegetables can be cooked poorly. But they can also be roasted to perfection with a drizzle of olive oil and hint of sea salt. It’s our job to experiment with all kinds of preparations....
That's already so dull that I don't trust them to do the drizzling and hinting. (And why specify sea salt and not inform us whether the olive oil in your metaphor is extra virgin? Because "extra virgin" might bother the sensitive reader or because salt that isn't sea salt might seem unhealthful?)

"I worry that the superficial way we read during the day is affecting us when we have to read with more in-depth processing."

Said Maryanne Wolf, author of "Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain."
Humans... seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia....
Haven't we always had to shift between different styles of paying attention? Imagine us in evolutionary times, before the printed word, when we were out and about looking for food, trying to survive. The ancestors who contributed to our brain structure had to skim and scan and then lock onto details. Isn't this agility functional?

But Wolf bemoans students' inability to read "Middlemarch" and William James and Henry James: "The students no longer will or are perhaps incapable of dealing with the convoluted syntax and construction of George Eliot and Henry James."

Maybe they are rejecting this kind of writing for good reason. Their elders impose this reading on them, but the key question is whether they can shift to accurate and closely detailed reading when they've found something they think is worth their attention.

The Crack Emcee is on the radio...

... right now. Listen here. [UPDATE: The live broadcast is over now. But you can stream or download it here.]

NOTE: He's there to talk. There's also music that's not his. Don't let me confuse you into mistaking Elvis for Crack.

AT 10:20 CT: The music part is over and Crack is talking now.

AT 10:43: They are going through some kind of countdown of greatest recordings of all time (from the "psychedelic soul" view point), and I like that the Little Richard song is "Rip It Up." That's my favorite Little Richard song. AND: Trying to retrospectively add a Little Richard tag to this blog, I discover a hidden reference to Little Richard in the dialogue from the Beatles' movie "Hard Day's Night": "Have you no natural resources of your own?... You could learn more by gettin' out there and living!"/"Out where?"/"Any old where! But not our little Richard. Oh, no. When you're not thumpin' them pagan skins you're tormenting your eyes with that rubbish."

AT 10:50: Crack gives a shout-out to "Meade and Ann."

AND: Actually the countdown is of Uncle Ray’s Top 100 Albums. You can see the whole list here. Little Richard's "Little Richard, “Here’s Little Richard," is #78, and I don't know the criteria for picking the track from the album.

11:10: After Uncle Ray says he loves on-line trolls, Crack disagrees and says: "It can get very dark." And the next subject is Nirvana, because Nirvana's "Unplugged" is next on the list (at #74). Crack expresses great appreciation for Kurt Cobain, "including the way he took himself out. He was very definitive about that." The album cut playing is "All Apologies."

11:25: Discussion of the n-word. (NSFW on the music that follows.)

11:42: After Ray played Meatloaf (which I had to turn way down), Crack said: "Meatloaf is the perfect example of why The Ramones were so necessary."

11:45: Crack finds more misogyny in Led Zeppelin than in rap.

11:55: Ray says Crack will be back next week "unless you get a job," and Crack says: "You're as bad as people on line."

"The Supreme Court refused on Monday to be drawn into the spreading controversy over the right of business firms to refuse to serve gay and lesbian customers..."

"... turning aside the appeal of a New Mexico photography studio and its owners. The Court made no comment as it denied review of Elane Photography v. Willock, involving a refusal to photograph a lesbian couple’s wedding-style ceremony."

We talked about the Elane Photography case here last Thursday in a post titled "Linda Greenhouse concedes that there is 'an instinctive appeal' to the 'notion' that 'photography is an expressive medium.'"

Am I sorry the Court didn't snap up that case? The photographer lost out to the nondiscrimination principle. Perhaps this is an issue that needs more percolation in the lower courts or that the Court needs to put off until after its (inevitable) decision declaring a constitutional right to marry a person of one's own sex.

ADDED: WaPo's David Savage declares the cert. denial "a victory for gay rights."
The appeal argued that a state anti-bias law, when applied broadly, would “require individuals who create expression for a living -- like marketers, advertisers, publicists and website designers -- to speak in conflict with their consciences.”
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh and the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro had filed a separate brief urging the court to hear the case. They said the 1st Amendment should protect writers, singers, actors or artists whose work involves expression. But they said this protection was limited in scope and should not extend to “denials of service by caterers, hotels, limousine service operators and the like.”
AND: Volokh and Shapiro's brief [PDF] stresses the right to refuse to speak (including the right to refuse to take a photograph). Excerpt:
Democracy and liberty rely on citizens’ ability to preserve their integrity as speakers, thinkers, and creators—their sense that their expression, and the expression that they “foster” and for which they act as “courier[s],” is consistent with what they actually believe. 

This is why, in the dark days of Soviet repression, Alexander Solzhenitsyn admonished his fellow Russians to “live not by lies”: to refuse to endorse speech that they believe to be false. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “Live Not by Lies”, Wash. Post, Feb. 18, 1974, at A26. Each person, he argued, must resolve to never “write, sign or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth,” to never “take into hand nor raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept,” to never “depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can see is false or a distortion of the truth, whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science or music.”

"I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved."

Oscar Pistorius takes the witness stand and weeps for the woman he killed and for himself. He told of his own suffering in life, as a child born with defective legs and as the sometime victim of crime. And:
"When I met Reeva, I think it was just a blessing. I've always wanted to have a partner that was a Christian. She was a very strong Christian."

He then became emotional again as he said "my God's a God of refuge" and his counsel, Barry Roux, asked for an adjournment.

"So good night unto you all..."

Good night to Mickey Rooney, who has died at the age of 93.

With this ring...

(Photo by Meade, yesterday in the dog park.)

"The act of reviewing—or even just having critical thoughts about—juvenilia produced by someone who cannot defend herself seems both loathsome and pointless."

Writes Alice Gregory, confronted with "The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories," by Marina Keegan, who died in a car crash at the age of 22.

You can read the title essay on-line here: "The Opposite of Loneliness." Excerpt:
Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.
The Alice Gregory quote selected for the post title creates an inference that she loves the book, since the review exists. You'd have to be an out-and-proud churl to write a negative review and Gregory is flaunting her sensitivity. She tells us how she left the book sitting on her "kitchen table for days, beside the salt cellar, a candle, and a bowl of tangerines."

This kitchen-table still life is annoying me. It's so milk-and-toast-and-honey-and-a-bowl-of-oranges-too. The review pours out like butterscotch and sticks to all your senses.

April 6, 2014

"It’s pretty hard to say, 'Oh, another Bush' when you’ve got another Clinton."

Why 2016 is Jeb's year.

"During the Cold War, the CIA loved literature — novels, short stories, poems. Joyce, Hemingway, Eliot. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Nabokov."

"Books were weapons, and if a work of literature was unavailable or banned in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe, it could be used as propaganda to challenge the Soviet version of reality. Over the course of the Cold War, as many as 10 million copies of books and magazines were secretly distributed by the agency behind the Iron Curtain as part of a political warfare campaign."

From a WaPo article titled "During Cold War, CIA used ‘Doctor Zhivago’ as a tool to undermine Soviet Union."

The long and the short view on early spring in Wisconsin.

"With Marxism-Leninism a dead faith, Putin is saying the new ideological struggle is between a debauched West led by the United States..."

"... and a traditionalist world Russia would be proud to lead.... In the new war of beliefs, Putin is saying, it is Russia that is on God’s side. The West is Gomorrah."

"What does it suggest that a man who endured the crack epidemic, the administration of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and at least a dozen arrests..."

"... can no longer stand what the city has become?"

"It is a mistaken idea, which men generally entertain, that nature has made women especially prone to throw their whole being into what is technically called love."

"We have, to say the least, no more necessity for it than yourselves; only we have nothing else to do with our hearts. When women have other objects in life, they are not apt to fall in love. I can think of many women distinguished in art, literature, and science — and multitudes whose hearts and minds find good employment in less ostentatious ways — who lead high, lonely lives, and are conscious of no sacrifice so far as your sex is concerned."

That's a passage I marked in my paperback copy of one of my favorite novels when I read it quite a few years ago.

High, lonely lives... conscious of no sacrifice...

"I reject the premise of that question."

Something I just found myself saying, which I learned the value of saying somewhere in this hour-and-a-half conversation with Larry David, which I watched in full and immensely enjoyed yesterday:

I used the useful expression in the comments thread to "If it is unconscionable to support a company whose CEO once donated to the cause against marriage equality..." where I called 2013 the year of amnesty "for every politician who had secretly supported marriage equality or who didn't mind it enough to miss out on getting in good with the sector of our society that had come to believe in the righteousness of marriage equality," and somebody asked: "How do you really know what politicians think?"

Man, paralyzed by a stroke, hears doctors discussing harvesting his organs.

"I heard them tell my girlfriend and my relatives that there was no hope... I couldn't do anything. I could only see and hear. I couldn't move my body."
"They looked at an x-ray of my brain, and when they had done that, they told my girlfriend that it wasn't good and that I wouldn't live.... I could hear her crying the whole time, but I couldn't do anything.... I heard them talking about donation, they wanted to do some tests on my liver and my kidney, so they could give them to some people.... I was scared because I thought that I was going to die then, and a hard death... I remember I thought, what will happen if they cremate me, will I see the fire and feel the fire?"
Jimi Fritze, 43, lived to tell the tale because another doctor happened to look at the x-ray and see that he could recover.

But don't worry, this happened in Sweden.

"If it is unconscionable to support a company whose CEO once donated to the cause against marriage equality..."

"... why is it not unconscionable to support a candidate who opposed marriage equality as recently as 2008, and who was an integral part of an administration that embraced the Defense Of Marriage Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton?"

Asks Andrew Sullivan, noting that Hillary Clinton only came out for marriage equality in 2013.
Was she then a bigot? On what conceivable grounds can the Democratic party support a candidate who until only a year ago was, according to the latest orthodoxy, the equivalent of a segregationist, and whose administration enacted more anti-gay laws and measures than any in American history?
As I said in "What accounts for this sudden and shocking spike in bigotry?," opposition to same-sex marriage became bigotry, for purposes of the American political culture, in the year 2013. At that point, all the politicos who'd crafted some other position in order to get through a difficult transition got the message that now was the time to say yes to gay marriage, and this was the big opportunity for every politician who had secretly supported marriage equality or who didn't mind it enough to miss out on getting in good with the sector of our society that had come to believe in the righteousness of marriage equality. 2013 was the political amnesty year, and Hillary took that amnesty. Anyone who didn't jump at that point looks very different moving forward.

Now, Sullivan opposes the hounding of Brendan Eich, so understand his question that context. And I have no idea whether Eich still opposes marriage equality. His contribution of $1,000 to the Prop 8 cause came in 2008, 5 years before what I'm calling the amnesty year. Another key difference is that Hillary didn't make contributions to the anti-marriage-equality cause. She merely staked out the same safe, practical political position that other politicians used at the time. And she was a politician, so she needed to have something to say on this topic. Eich was a businessman, so he didn't need any position. He wanted to take a position.

I do think it's a bit ridiculous that there was a year when everyone was supposed to "evolve" on the subject. Obama said he'd evolved, and so everyone was supposed to be evolved alongside him. But Obama and plenty of other politicians were already fine with same-sex marriage. All that had evolved was the interest in saying so. 

UK Home Office minister says banning the veil for school girls is "a good topic for national debate."

And the vice-chairman of the Conservative Party says "I do think we need to have a serious conversation about it."

It's the old let's-have-a-national-conversation political gambit. You don't take responsibility for a proposal. You just waft the topic and see who inhales.

The Home Office official, a liberal (Jeremy Brown), maintains distance from the proposal itself: