September 27, 2014

Early fall, lakeshore.


When 100 feminists protested The Ladies Home Journal, they lunged at the editor, John Mack Carter, tried to push him off the edge of his desk, and they smoked his cigars.

John Mack Carter died yesterday, at the age of 86. Do you remember who he is?
John Mack Carter, a Kentucky-born journalist who... was already a veteran editor of women’s magazines when, in March 1970, more than 100 feminists led by Susan Brownmiller stormed Ladies’ Home Journal and held an 11-hour sit-in at his office. Some of the women perched on his desk and smoked cigars. The protesters wanted Mr. Carter to resign and be replaced by a woman. They demanded that the magazine run a “liberated” issue...
That's from the NYT obituary, but let's look at the article the NYT published in March 1970:
More than 100 militant feminists staged a day-long occupation of The Ladies' Home Journal's editorial offices yesterday and demanded a chance to put out a "liberated" issue of the magazine...

Mr. Carter, who is 42 years old, said it had been an "educational" day...

Many of the 47 female and seven male editorial staff members expressed outrage and disgust as the demonstrators crowded into Mr. Carter's office at 9 a.m.

"But on this issue of um uh Obama's man... man... manliness... or manhood... what's your... what's your take on this?"

This is a strangely evasive and inconclusive effort at approaching a subject!

What's going on here?! free polls

"Evelyn, still clutching a pearl necklace, looks disarmingly placid and composed – as if simply asleep."

"Around her, however, the broken glass and crumpled sheet metal of a car roof show the brutally destructive evidence of her 1050 ft jump. Some 60 years later the photo remains as haunting and affecting as when it was first published."

Via Stuff Mom Never Told You ("The Most Beautiful Suicide").

It's turtles all the way down...

... your pants.

"This person tweeted, 'Enjoying Mt. Ontake all alone,' merely 1 min before the eruption."

"Hasn’t tweeted since then."

Someone else made this video:

"He despised canned cranberry sauce, wearing shorts, cigarette butts in his driveway, oatmeal, loud-mouth know-it-alls, Tabasco sauce, reality TV shows, and anything to do with the Kardashians."

From an obituary for Raymond Alan "Big Al" Brownley, sent to me by a reader familiar with my long-term "men in shorts" theme.
... Big Al had many loves, too. He loved his wife... He also dearly loved his children and grandchildren... He also loved milk shakes, fried shrimp, the Steelers, the Playboy channel, Silky's Gentlemens Club, taking afternoon naps in his recliner, hanging out at the VFW, playing poker, eating jelly beans by the handful, and his hunting dogs — his favorite being Holly Hill Rip Van Winkle, a loyal beagle that answered to the nickname of Rip.... His fondness of spaghetti Westerns was only surpassed by his love of bacon, beer and butter pecan ice cream. He fondly reminisced about good friends, good drinks and good times at the Tri-Valley Sportsmens Club in Burgettstown. He was a long-time member of the Elks Club in McKees Rocks where he frequently bartended and generously donated his tips to charity. Quite a teller of tales, Big Al's elaborate stories often were punctuated with the phrase, "And that's when I kicked his ass." He enjoyed outlaw country music: Waylon, Willie, Hank, Johnny. He was also on a first-name basis with the Four Horsemen of liquor: Jack, Jim, Johnnie and Jose....
Read the whole thing. And goodbye to Big Al, who was 82.

"Poll Watcher Militia" was a hoax.

Predictable, of course.
The original page made derogatory statements about liberals and urged people to harass voters who signed the Walker recall petition who were sex offenders, tax dodgers or anyone with an outstanding warrant....
The question is why anyone fell for it, though I'm sure many of those who spread the word about it knew or suspected it was fake but took advantage of the opportunity to manipulate the anti-conservative hatred.

ADDED: The author of the linked Capital Times article, Steven Elbow, commenting in his own thread, tries to make up for his gullibility by saying that whoever put up the page was trying to encourage other people to harass people who had signed the Walker recall petition:
The author of the “militia” webpage knows that airing his ugly views is risky – drawing outrage from anyone with a sense of fairness and decency, and causing embarrassment to those who share those views but have to walk that thin line between the mainstream and the extreme to maintain their political credibility. So instead of putting his name behind his views, he airs them anonymously. Whether he considers it a hoax or not is irrelevant. The page espouses the views of its creator. More worrisome is it taps into that dark current of hate that drives today’s politics, normalizing threats, violence and racism. And that scares people. That’s why this story was reported, and why it resonated with readers.
Elbow is making a big assumption! We don't know who put up the webpage, so we can only speculate why that person did it. It's at least as likely that a Walker hater put the website up in a scheme to propagate the opinion that conservatives are out to suppress the vote. It's also possible that it was a "pure" troll, committed to neither side, but hoping to get some fun out of watching lefties and righties go at each other. Isn't that what the use of the "Trollface" meme tends to mean? (You have to click through Elbow's link to the Facebook page to see the deployment of that stock cartoon laughing face.)

"Why Poor People Act That Way."

That's quite a headline. The piece is by Rod Dreher in The American Conservative.

MEANWHILE: Paul Krugman says his "point is that while chiding the rich for their vulgarity may not be as offensive as lecturing the poor on their moral failings, it’s just as futile. Human nature being what it is, it’s silly to expect humility from a highly privileged elite. So if you think our society needs more humility, you should support policies that would reduce the elite’s privileges."

"At that time, there was an elephant from India called there called Indira and I observed how it walked..."

"So Godzilla’s style of walking came from an elephant," said Haruo Nakajima, the first man to play the role of Godzilla.
Nakajima, who had already appeared in... Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” observed that Indira lumbered around slowly by pressing the entire sole of its foot on the ground at once....
For the movement of Godzilla's arms Nakajima used what he saw in bears. For the head, birds.

Nakajima, who is now 85, says he got his strength to play Godzilla from his service in the Japanese Navy and that he had to endure the disrespect of fellow actors who opined that "suit acting" was not acting.

"Consumer Reports test results find iPhone 6 and 6 Plus not as bendy as believed."

"We stress test Apple's new phones, plus comparable models from Samsung, LG, and HTC."

Mary Burke apologizes. Do you understand why?

Scott Walker's opponent in Wisconsin's gubernatorial race got criticized for doing something that's extremely common in politics: telling the story of one person as if it represents and explains some problem that's a current issue.
Neenah District Administrator Mary Pfeiffer sent Burke a letter [on September 19th] "to express my disappointment regarding your use of our district as an example of your perceived negative impact of Act 10 on education.... It is unfair and misleading to claim that Act 10 is the primary reason why one specific candidate chose to accept a position in Minnesota over an opening in the Neenah Joint School District.... There are many reasons why candidates choose to work in other districts and certainly some effects of Act 10 may factor into those decisions."
Now, it is reported that Pfeiffer says Burke called her on the phone on September 24th and apologized, and then apologized in person yesterday.

Is this the beginning of the end of anecdotal politics? 

IN THE COMMENTS: Original Mike recommends reading Pfeiffer's entire letter: PDF. Pfeiffer calls attention to Burke's position as a member of the Madison School Board, which really does underscore the need for Burke to be strongly fact-based and accurate in whatever she chooses to say about the effects of Act 10.

"Leaving you with a big mess. Do your best to move on quickly from me please."

Last Facebook message of Brian Howard, accused of setting the fire that messed up air travel in the Midwest yesterday.

Captured in the process of "actively slicing his throat."

"Generally invigorating as this exercise is, it is correspondingly fatiguing and should not therefore be recklessly persevered..."

"... especially by pupils possessing but a small amount of physical strength."

Chelsea has her baby.

It's a girl, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky.

ADDED: Charlotte is a name that's been spiking in popularity recently. Presumably, the popularity will crash now that a specific famous baby has that name and all the many other baby Charlottes will be irked at their name-fate.

I mean, look what happened to the name Chelsea.

September 26, 2014

"Law professor Ann says Obama is acting like a law professor… Bob: Obama, like Bush, misunderstands terrorism…"

"Is Obama exaggerating the ISIS threat? If so, why?… The 'latte salute'; the military salute, and the Hitler salute… The real problem with Obama’s golf game… Is football getting a bad rap?…"

"The Fall of the Zen Butcher."

The Atlantic looks at Black Earth Meats, which was an interesting operation here in Wisconsin.
[Bartlett Durand, a Buddhist and former vegetarian]... designed the processing facility with minimal industrial equipment, and to operate only on a scale small enough to accommodate a slower, more mindful rate of slaughter. Even from the moment of their arrival, the animals would be treated calmly and with kindness.... Durand worked to develop the skills of a group of eight butchers who could handle the entire animal, as he says, “from stunning to steaks,” and training them in what he called “the philosophy of sacrifice.” The butchers were taught that when engaged in taking a life, they were doing so with purpose, for the good of the community....

According to Durand, a few neighbors complained to anyone who would listen.... Durand says... that he attempted to work with his community by setting up a committee to field complaints.... In December of 2013, the village ordered Black Earth Meats to move the slaughter portion of their operation to another location.

Relocating the slaughter was a problem for a number of reasons, both practical and ideological.... Bartlett Durand cried as he read a prepared statement to his 47 employees....
Read the whole thing.

7th Circuit declines to rehear the Wisconsin vote ID case.

A decision is being made about whether to ask the Supreme Court to review the case.
Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, director of voter protection with the Advancement Project... "We think of this as a very mistaken decision... There's going to be disenfranchisement in November. (Republicans) are manipulating the system for their own political gain."...

"Allowing Democratic senators, many of whom will likely have just been defeated at the polls, to confirm Holder’s successor would be an abuse of power that should not be countenanced...."

Said Ted Cruz.

"Examples of sexual violence include... withholding sex...."

From the definition of "Sexual violence" on University of Michigan "Abuse Hurts" page.

Via Memeorandum (i.e., it's something people are talking about right now).

"Anonymous posts on a smartphone application called Yik Yak are facilitating conversations on college campuses, but the dialogue is not always fit for the classroom."

"Discussions on the app sometimes dredge up racist, sexist, and other degrading content, and students at multiple colleges have been arrested for using Yik Yak to post threats to campus safety."
Yik Yak’s founders, Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll... envisioned it, they said, as a tool for observational campus comedy.
Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll... the names alone are already comedy.

Of course, some of the fun is saying the outrageous things you can't say in public with your name attached to it. An example given in the article is — referring to a law professor — "If this woman doesn’t stop talking, I’m going to rape her." Is that a real-life threat that ought to involve the police or absurd, transgressive hyperbole?

Understanding the pain of long-term Obama lovers.

In about an hour, I'm recording a Bloggingheads episode with someone who has loved Obama for so long and may be about to come out and say it's over. Just to remind you: I voted for Obama in '08, but not because I was smitten. I was grimly practical, choosing between 2 less-than-perfect options. And then in '12, I voted for Romney:
[As I had written at the time, when I voted for him in 2008,] I didn't trust Obama, and I feared what he would do with a Democratic Congress. We all saw what he did with a Democratic Congress. He let Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have their way with him. It was horrible. It led to the Tea Party and the trouncing Democrats took in 2010. I've felt no connection to the Democratic Party since then. Of course, I don't like half of what the Republicans stand for, but I've still voted for some of them, notably Ron Johnson and (twice!) Scott Walker, because... what choice do I have? The Democrats have been leading us into financial ruin.

If I could have been assured that the GOP would control both houses of Congress, I might have thought Obama would be good. I like balance, moderation, and pragmatism. If one of the hardcore righties had won the Republican nomination, I would probably have gone for Obama. But Mitt Romney got the nomination, which is what I had been hoping for (after Mitch Daniels decided not to run). It was time to pay attention again to Obama The Candidate, and his campaign centered on vilifying Mitt Romney in the most inane Occupy-Wall-Street style that was completely alienating to me. Romney seamlessly transitioned from being my choice in the primaries to being my presumptive choice for President. I remained open to Obama. Obama could have won me.
Now, I'm pretty supportive of Obama's stepped up war on terrorism and the implicit appreciation it shows for what George W. Bush had to deal with. So help me think about how to talk with somebody who's falling out of love with Obama.

Of course, the election looms, and everything potentially connects to that.

September 25, 2014

"Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke stumbled Thursday when asked to define plagiarism and said..."

"... she had not violated her principles with a jobs plan that includes nearly word-for-word sections that also appear in other candidates' plans."
Asked by reporters to define plagiarism, Burke said: "This, this probably, using words, exact words, from a source that doesn't, that isn't cited and isn't attributable."

The real question isn't what plagiarism is, but who Mary Burke is. What's authentic? Where's the substance?

At the Last-Chance Play-Ball Café...


... you're not out of the running yet! You may look desperate and outmatched but hang on!

Holder is leaving.

But why?

The NYT has an article about bloggers getting tired of blogging — "When Blogging Becomes a Slog"...

... but it turned out to be all about home renovation and decoration blogs run by bloggers who generate material by continually renovating and redecorating their own homes. Of course, that's going to get tiresome!
Unlike a personal style blog, in which generating new content can be as simple as getting dressed in the morning, producing a decorating or D.I.Y. blog involves considerable time, expense and domestic upheaval....

“My mom comes to my house and there’s this revolving door of furniture,” [one blogger] said. “She can’t understand it.... That’s the process. I love when a room is done, but let’s be honest: It’s going to be changed.”
I don't read these blogs — or personal style blogs, for that matter — but I see the commercial value of concentrating on material that matches up to products so you can get advertisers. But then you're in a bind. What once grew out of love and felt fresh, casual, and intrinsically rewarding would become a dreary obligation. And if you're writing about style — home or personal — you'd no longer have the attitude to that readers are coming to you to get for themselves.

"Did Ken Burns 'in' Eleanor Roosevelt?"

Asks John Aravosis.

"Women Are Just Slaves."

Late 70s newspaper headline, prominently displayed in one of a set of vintage photos of Debbie Harry.

American man begins 6-year hard-labor sentence in North Korea.

Matthew Miller, 24, was convicted of "acts hostile" to North Korea.

According to to the state-run media, he tore up his visa "in the hope of becoming a world famous guy and the second Snowden through intentional hooliganism."

AND: They seem to be giving him what they are making a crime out of wanting.
North Korea has accused him of ripping up his visa on arrival to the country so he could go to prison and expose human rights violations there....

Column titled "Drunk Female Guests Are the Gravest Threat to Fraternities" not appreciated.

Not by Jezebel.
There are so many things wrong... that I blacked out for a second and missed some of the actual good points he probably thinks he's making about fraternities keeping everyone safe by getting drunk guests home rather than feeding them more alcohol or raping them. Like, for example, this paragraph:
And please, look out for each other. Do not let a drunk brother take a drunk female to his bedroom. During parties wet or dry, let the water flow – proper hydration and dilution is the best remedy for over consumption. Make sure there are filled water pitchers everywhere. Press them on intoxicated guests even if they resist.
This paragraph is actually smart and good, except for the part where he calls a woman a "female," as though she were a specimen or the subject of a Chris Brown Tweet. If the whole piece were that paragraph I'd be impressed, but a little curious as to why the piece was only a single paragraph long.
Not by Forbes:
The Forbes website took the column down almost immediately, telling the New York Daily News that Frezza is no longer a contributor for the site.

September 24, 2014

As predicted, the 7th Circuit requires abstention in the John Doe investigation case, leaving it to the state judge to address the constitutional questions.

Here's the PDF of the opinion.

After the oral argument on September 9th, I wrote: "I predict the prosecutors will win in this case, but mainly because the John Doe investigation can and should be shut down by the state court judge." And that seems to be what happened. I'm going to read the whole thing and get back to you.

ADDED: The opinion is about the scope of the Younger abstention doctrine, which requires federal courts to refrain from enjoining an ongoing proceeding in state court, on the theory that the state court judge ought to handle the federal questions — even federal constitutional question — that arise in the context of that proceeding. The difficult part here is that in this case there is a state court judge overseeing a John Doe investigation, and, as Judge Easterbrook, writing for the 3-judge panel says (citations omitted):

Obama's "Starbucks salute."

I think this is nothing but a distraction, but it serves some interests. Care to exploit any?

At the Scratch-That Café...


... if it feels good, do it. If not, cut it out.

(And I took that photograph. If you want to see some dog pics by Meade, go to The Puparazzo, where there's quite a fluffy Sheepdog at the top right now.)

Get bent.

Some days the blog has a theme... almost always just by chance. It's delightful to perceive it, so let me share my perception right now. There are 3 posts, and bending is most obvious in the most recent one about how the new iPhone 6 Plus can get bent.

The bending theme also appears in the next post, about the Capital Times's devising a "complex" approach to statistics that shows Mary Burke beating Scott Walker. (When did you stop beating your governor?) In the comments, MadisonMan says — boldface added — "If you're trying to find a particular fact, you can bend statistics in any way you want to find that fact eventually."

Okay, that's 2 out 3, so now it becomes a game to see how the other post of the day can be said to fit the theme. The other post is the one parsing the NYT editorial on Obama's shock-and-awe warmaking in the Middle East. Now, here's where my mind went. And maybe this is because we were joking about male genitalia in the iPhone 6 comments, where EDH said:
Other devices have been released recently that were specifically designed to have a curved frame, including the LG G Flex (pictured). The phone is said to be more comfortable to hold, and easier to place in a back pocket

God faced the same dilemma when designing the penis.
That war post ends quoting Bill Clinton — "... Osama bin Laden... I nearly got him once... I nearly got him. And I could have killed him...."

You see where I'm going?

What if you buy an elegantly thin iPhone and put it in your back pocket and proceed to sit on it all day?

It might get bent.

I'd be skeptical, but there's video, which I watched, of a guy trying to bend his iPhone 6 Plus and — applying a lot of steady pressure with his hands — managing to bend it a bit. So you can get a good idea of how hard it is to bend and use that information. Me, I still want to buy the new phone, and I'd never put anywhere near that kind of pressure on it, so I found the video encouraging.

"Mary Burke is winning... Based on a complex statistical model developed for the Capital Times..."

Lefty newspaper does "complex" stuff.

ADDED: "Complex" was a big hippie word. Wow, man, that's so complex. I remember. Meade remembers. That's all the verification I need for that proposition. Back me up, oldies.

So, then I looked up "complex" in the Oxford English Dictionary, because that's usually what I do when I fixate on a word. One of the oldest uses appears in John Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding"(1690)(boldface indicates the part quoted in the OED):
We have hitherto considered those ideas, in the reception whereof the mind is only passive, which are those simple ones received from sensation and reflection before mentioned, whereof the mind cannot make one to itself, nor have any idea which does not wholly consist of them. As simple ideas are observed to exist in several combinations united together, so the mind has a power to consider several of them united together as one idea; and that not only as they are united in external objects, but as itself has joined them together. Ideas thus made up of several simple ones put together, I call COMPLEX;—such as are beauty, gratitude, a man, an army, the universe; which, though complicated of various simple ideas, or complex ideas made up of simple ones, yet are, when the mind pleases, considered each by itself, as one entire thing, signified by one name.

The NYT editorial gives Obama something like his share of criticism for dragging America into another war.

Given the circumstances of this dramatic new war, it's hard to read "Wrong Turn on Syria: No Convincing Plan" as the equivalent of what they'd have thrown at George Bush if he'd done the same, but the criticism is substantial. There's no mention of Bush, by the way. No worse-than-Bush talk.
President Obama has put America at the center of a widening war by expanding into Syria airstrikes against the Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group known as ISIS and ISIL. He has done this without allowing the public debate that needs to take place before this nation enters another costly and potentially lengthy conflict in the Middle East.... How are Americans to know whether they have the information to make any judgment on the wisdom of his actions?...  In the absence of public understanding or discussion and a coherent plan, the strikes in Syria were a bad decision.
How do we know there is no plan or that the decision is "bad" if we're deprived of information? The premise must be that the President can never determine that a sudden, secret attack is necessary to protect America. The NYT seems to be saying the decision is "bad" because Congress and the rest of us Americans were left out of the loop.

I'm not convinced. It's possible that what Obama knew about Khorasan justified obliterating them with a sneak attack — that we just got saved from another 9/11. It's hard for a President to get credit for what doesn't happen. Rightly so. If it were easy to get credit, Presidents would resort to tricking us with claims of credit, "1984"-style.
... The White House claims that Mr. Obama has all the authority he needs under the 2001 law approving the use of force in Afghanistan and the 2002 law permitting the use of force in Iraq, but he does not.
He also claims power as Commander in Chief.
The administration also claims that the airstrikes are legal under international law because they were done in defense of Iraq. In a Sept. 20 letter to the United Nations, Iraq complained that the Islamic State was attacking its territory and said American assistance was needed to repel the threat. But the United Nations Security Council should vote on the issue.
Here's where a mention of George Bush would be particularly apt. Back to the NYT:
Meanwhile, Congress has utterly failed in its constitutional responsibilities. It has left Washington and gone into campaign fund-raising mode, shamelessly ducking a vote on this critical issue....
The silence means something. Members of Congress were informed. Maybe they understood the value of speed and secrecy here. Investigations can come later, perhaps looking into security successes, rather than, as with Benghazi, failures.
So, even though polls have shown public support for airstrikes in Syria, it may not last. Mr. Obama has said there needs to be a sustained mission against ISIS over an unlimited period; it’s unlikely the Americans would back a prolonged campaign if they don’t fully understand the aims or likelihood of success.
So there is public support, though it's hard to see how we support what we can't understand, including attacks on an enemy with a name we just saw yesterday. The NYT falls back on the problem of sustaining support for a long war. America gets tired of war, we are, inevitably, told. But we sit back and allow war. And we are harshly critical when we see that the President had a chance to preempt an attack and exercised restraint.
It is puzzling that Mr. Obama... kept details about Khorasan secret so the group would not know it was being tracked.
Puzzling... or completely understandable? The news report in the NYT says the aim was to "wipe out the leadership" of Khorasan. If we knew where they were and needed to hit them before they moved, what's the puzzle? The editorial observes that bin Laden was discussed publicly, but how many times over how many years did we have a shot at bin Laden and miss it*?
These incongruities — two enemies now, instead of one — call into question whatever sense of purpose and planning the administration hopes to project. 
Let me guess: Commander in Chief.


* On September 10, 2001, the day before the 9/11 attacks, Bill Clinton — on a paid speaking gig before 30 businessmen in Australia — said: "I'm just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden - he's a very smart guy, I've spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once... I nearly got him. And I could have killed him...."

September 23, 2014

"Well, we will see, won’t we?" says Ann Romney.

About Mitt running again in 2016.

"The government continues to deny Ms. Manning’s access to necessary medical treatment for gender dysphoria, without which she will continue to suffer severe psychological harms."

"Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment," says the ACLU, suing the federal government.


The new thing that's scarier than the last thing we were scared of.

Got to keep moving along.

Dinesh D'Souza sentenced to 8 months in a "community confinement center."

So that's some sort of place that's not a prison. The government wanted prison time.

"Scott Walker hits Mary Burke again..."

A reader emails, noting the domestic violence imagery in the headline at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Intentional? Make your best guess. free polls

At the Morning Light Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

Photo taken from our second-floor deck at about 10:07 this morning. It was Meade who noticed how pretty the light looked in the changing leaves. My photo mooches off his observation. Not exactly plagiarism, is it?

"Hey, hey, ho, ho, fossil fuels have got to go."

Fossil fuels have got to go? I'm reading there were 3 or 4 hundred thousand people at the People’s Climate March. How did they all get there? It's a puzzle! A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

"Embattled Miss America Kira Kazantsev admitted Tuesday she was kicked out of her Hofstra University sorority..."

"... but insisted it was over a bad joke — and not cruel hazing."
“Under the broad definition of hazing, yes I was involved with some of those activities while I was at Hofstra... At the time, unfortunately, that was just the culture of the university.... And I was kind of brought up through the organization thinking that was appropriate behavior when clearly … today I understand that’s just not true... In the e-mail I basically made a joke... And that [joke] was taken out of context and forwarded to the national office.”
And here's the Jezebel article that brought this incident to light. Excerpt:
A recent graduate who attended Hofstra at the same time as Kazantsev told Jezebel that the final two steps of pledging in one (unnamed) sorority involved making all of the pledges remove their underwear and sit on newspapers while the older members forced them to watch lesbian porn. Anyone whose newspaper stuck to them at the end of the video, the former student said, was branded a dyke, ridiculed, and tossed out. The remaining girls were then forced to perform oral sex on their sorority "big sisters." Other Greeks required pledges to sit in circles around bowls of cat food and other various inedibles. They'd take turns eating and as soon as someone threw up, they had to eat the puke. Another sorority would wrap completely naked pledges in tinfoil, take them to bars, and instruct them to dance until last call. Patrons would pull pieces of foil off, and pledges were considered sexually up for grabs.

These, of course, are extreme examples, and not necessarily attributed to Kazantsev's sorority....

"If it weren't Wisconsin 2014, I would think that site was a parody trying to make the right wing look bad."

"However, the unfortunate truth is that Wisconsin Republicans and their supporters really are that lame."

Hot comment threads in Madison, Wisconsin.

Over at the Isthmus forum, where Madisonians nestle together and give comfort to one another, they're running up the numbers in a thread titled "Bush and Hitler comparisons."

"With his new offensive against Islamic State terrorists in Syria, Barack Obama has a chance to revive his presidency, but the only way he can do that is to become a brand-new president..."

"... one who will be almost unrecognizable to his supporters. Obama must go from being the president who was elected to end wars — his most treasured self-image — to the president who finally leads one effectively," writes Michael Hirsh in Politico.
And he must now do it in two countries where for most of his presidency he has most resisted getting more deeply involved — Iraq and Syria

“His whole national persona since 2004 has been about the question: Can he get us out of Iraq?” says former Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, harking back to Obama’s signature speech calling the Iraq invasion a “dumb” war. “It is almost Shakespearian that he would be dragged back into another conflict in the same countries where he opposed the use of force.” Nonetheless, Burns believes, Obama now has no choice. The Islamic State’s spread now threatens not only Iraq and Syria but also essential U.S. allies, including Jordan and Turkey. “There is no question that the president has to act,” says Burns.
This made me dig into my archive, looking for statements about why, after voting for Bush in '04, I voted for Obama in '08. Here's one from January 16, 2009, a few days before Obama took office:
Who will restore George Bush's tattered reputation? Barack Obama!

Charles Krauthammer explains:
The beauty of democratic rotations of power is that when the opposition takes office, cheap criticism and calumny will no longer do. The Democrats now own Iraq. They own the war on al-Qaeda. And they own the panoply of anti-terror measures with which the Bush administration kept us safe these past seven years.

Which is why Obama is consciously creating a gulf between what he now dismissively calls "campaign rhetoric" and the policy choices he must make as president. Accordingly, Newsweek — Obama acolyte and scourge of everything Bush/Cheney — has on the eve of the Democratic restoration miraculously discovered the arguments for warrantless wiretaps, enhanced interrogation and detention without trial. Indeed, Newsweek's neck-snapping cover declares, "Why Obama May Soon Find Virtue in Cheney's Vision of Power."
This is something I thought a lot about when I decided to vote for Obama. The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done. And it is an opportunity for all of us to see and understand clearly what these things are.

"It’s important for students to know the ID they were issued at the beginning of the semester, that’s a perfectly good ID for all other UW purposes, but it’s not in the acceptable list for voting purposes."

In the aftermath of the 7th Circuit decision reinstating Wisconsin's voter ID law, the university scrambles to get IDs that work as voter IDs to out-of-state students.
Out-of-state driver’s licenses, for example, are not valid photo IDs under the law.
Who would think that they were?!

IN THE COMMENTS: Ignorance is Bliss said...
"Out-of-state driver’s licenses, for example, are not valid photo IDs under the law."

Actually, they are valid photo IDs, that establish conclusively that you are not eligible to vote in Wisconsin because it is not your place of residence. If you wish to make Wisconsin your place of residence then you need to act like you live in Wisconsin which include changing your driver's license.
And Original Mike, quoting the article, says:
"It certainly alleviates a huge burden for students who would have to travel [to the Division of Motor Vehicles]. In the case of UW-Madison, they’d have to research a bus line they’re not used to and travel further down University Avenue than they’ve traveled before.”

When did college students become children?
I think the issue is that out-of-state students tend to want to keep their home-state driver's license. So the question I have is whether a person with a current, non-Wisconsin driver's license is entitled to vote in Wisconsin? If not, the university should not be processing in-state IDs for persons who are not qualified to vote. The reason students should have to go to the DMV to get their IDs is so that they can replace out-of-state IDs with in-state IDs.

The Madtown Hopper.

An adorable electric vehicle, free late-night rides, and a man named Amir Morning, who turns down tips (unless riders insist).
“The only reason why they pulled out money in the first place was because they felt that they needed to pay,” Morning said. “Some people will say, ‘Are you sure?’ As soon as they say ‘Are you sure?’ I right away learn that they probably don’t have that much money and they kind of need it. So I say, ‘Keep your money, go home, have a good time and be safe.’ If they have to ask if I’m sure they can keep their money, then they’re pretty much asking me if they can keep their money.”...

“I’m hoping to land big companies like Red Bull, Coca-Cola,” Morning said. “I’m up for alcohol companies, promoting social responsibility — drinking responsibly and riding responsibly. I think there’s a lot of synergy in that: promoting a company that sells alcohol but also stepping up to offer free rides to people who are drinking their products.... It’s kind of a Robin Hood thing... I’m taking money from the big companies and providing a free service for people who don’t have money, like broke college kids.”

September 22, 2014

"I think if you're hyping the campaign about how the plan is the centerpiece, how it's based, kind of rubbing our nose in it, in the fact she went to Harvard Business School..."

"... somehow implying that means her work is superior to anyone else's here in the state, and then you find out that portions of it were taken from elsewhere without attribution, I think those are very serious issues."

Said Scott Walker, campaigning today on the issue of the lifted blocks of text found in Mary Burke's vaunted jobs plan.
For their part, Democrats pushed back by charging that Walker has sometimes used slogans popularized by others, such as "Open for Business" and the "Wisconsin Comeback." The "Wisconsin Comeback," a phrase frequently used by Walker in his re-election campaign manager, comes from the "American comeback" campaign of the Republican Governors Association. The phrase is used by a few other GOP governors such as Sam Brownback," who has talked in his re-election campaign about the "Kansas comeback."
So he used a word others have used?! "Comeback." Like he's supposed to put everything, literally, in own words. Here's the old George Carlin bit — "Do you have your own words?"

A great campaign slogan by the way: Nic flot flarney quando floooo! Or better make that: Cin tolf yenralf odnauq oooolf. Seriously, put it in your own words.

The Puparazzo at work...

With Beagle:


And Greyhound:


These are my photos. To see The Puparazzo's photos, go to The Puparazzo.

Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel dead at 75.

He hopes.

"It’s worth recalling that the very idea of 'fat' is a fairly recent creation."

"For most of human history, as Amy Farrell, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Dickinson College, notes in 'Fat Shame,' only the wealthy could have extra fat on their bodies. Most people worked too hard, had too little food, and were often too sick. Then came the Industrial Revolution: mass food production and more sedentary jobs meant that the new middle class, and not just the wealthy, became heavier. Once 'average' fat people came on the scene, Farrell writes, 'fat denigration' became more common: fat jokes proliferated in nineteenth-century magazines."

From Lizzie Widdicombe's "The Plus Side/Full-figured fashion gets a new look" in The New Yorker, which notes, among many other things, the "reclaim[ing of] the word 'fat.'"

I've always used the word "fat" as my tag on this blog, "fat" and "thinness." They're parallel words, and there's no reason why one straightforward, factual descriptive embodies more shame or disapproval than the other. Euphemisms imply the need for one.

"On the one hand, to 'do' the Uffizi or the Louvre or Teotihuacan or Machu Picchu or the Great Wall is to impose artificial closure."

"To see a thing as a tourist is, somehow, to dispense with it. On the other hand, is visceral distrust of such tourists truly the proper response? After all, who among travellers has not stood before a work of art, or an inscrutable series of druidical stone structures, and wondered in silence: How long must I stare at this thing before I have seen it?"

From "What Is the Right Way to Travel?" (in the NYT).

"It feels great to be back on Earth."

"I’m looking forward to restoring my life as best as I can."

"A 21-year-old woman has paid $20,000 to surgically add a third breast in a desperate bid to become a reality TV star."

"Jasmine Tridevil was rejected by 50 doctors before she found a willing surgeon who would perform the procedure which violates ethical codes, she claims."

Photos at the link show the woman in a specially constructed bikini top. The linked article also has a redacted photo of the character in "Total Recall" with 3 breasts.

And, here, we see the woman quoted saying: "I got the surgery because I wanted to turn off guys. I know it sounds crazy but I don’t want to date again ever. I still like to feel pretty."

In the future, everyone will be famous for 22.5 minutes.

UPDATE: As many predicted, this is almost surely faked — a 3-breast prosthesis.

"I have a picture of what I estimate to be a six-year-old girl in a gingham party dress, white tights, a little red band around her wrist, Mary Janes."

"And she's lying on the ground and her head is gone. This could be an American child; it could be a European child. It could be a child anywhere. And this is the mentality of the group that we are so concerned with. They have killed thousands. They are marching on. They have an army. They're well-organized. Many of us believe they're aimed at Baghdad, perhaps our embassy there. And who knows what else?"

Diane Feinstein, on "Face the Nation" yesterday.

"Lois Lerner is toxic — and she knows it. But she refuses to recede into anonymity..."

"... or beg for forgiveness for her role in the IRS tea party-targeting scandal."
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Lerner said in her first press interview since the scandal broke 16 months ago. “I’m proud of my career and the job I did for this country.

"New York’s cycles of death: Our arrogant-biker nightmare."

"Central Park’s fastest cyclists are invariably young(ish) men — men arrogant enough to think they’ll never make a mistake. They brush by walkers and other cyclists without slowing. And they’re distracted — often by handlebar feeds that tell them how fast they’re going...."

This is taking "men in shorts" to a whole new level.

"Let’s Never Forget The Men Who Turned Their Shorts And Pants Into Cute Dresses."

Kirsten Gillibrand says the late Daniel Inouye was the Senator who told her she'd "lost too much weight" and "I like my girls chubby."

Under pressure to name names, Senator Gillibrand names a dead man.
It turns out the senator was the late Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, the decorated veteran and civil rights hero, according to people with knowledge of the incident.

With his deep baritone and courtly manner, Mr. Inouye was revered by his colleagues and was a powerhouse in both Hawaii and the Senate, where he was a reliable supporter of women’s rights.
Oh, those supporters of women's rights are the worst sort of sexists underneath it all, I bet.

Here's my post from last week speculating about why Gillibrand wouldn't name names. I thought of 5 reasons why not and polled readers, and by far the most popular guess was: "Maybe it didn't happen." That answer seems more apt now that the response to the pressure was to name a dead man.

Now, what do you think is more likely? free polls

IN THE COMMENTS: EMD said: "You think she'd have enough smarts to name a dead Republican," and, really, that's the strongest evidence that she's not lying. If you're going to use death to insulate your lies, why not pick an opponent? One answer is: The Republican Party would fight back, call me a liar, etc. My party has its interest in me.

And Todd makes 2 important points. First, the linked article doesn't specify that Gillibrand divulged the name, only that "people with knowledge" did. I am assuming that the "people" are either Gillibrand herself or her agents, speaking for her. It's possible, though, that they acquired their knowledge through Gillibrand, but not as a consequence of the pressure she's felt to name names and that their decision to speak to the press was an independent choice, unconnected to any decision by Gillibrand to name names. I think that's unlikely, but the text of the NYT piece preserves that possibility. The NYT could clarify that. But I believe the NYT would tend to protect and help Gillibrand, so I don't think they'd publish this fact unless it was what Gillibrand wants.

Speaking of how the NYT phrases things to help Democrats, Todd's other observation is a discrepancy between the text I cut and pasted — "It turns out the senator was the late Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, the decorated veteran and civil rights hero, according to people with knowledge of the incident" — and the text that appears at the link now — "It turns out the senator was the late Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, the decorated veteran and civil rights hero, according to people with knowledge of the incident."

The original text did something that's frequently seen, the omission of "Democrat" in a mainstream media report of something negative about a Democrat. I'm guessing that somebody criticized the omission — somebody usually does — and the NYT stuck the "Democrat" in there. I looked for a reference to a correction but found none.

I did, however, find that the page I was reading is a new NYT feature, beginning today, called "First Draft," which is "a ​continuously updated ​news feed." Does "continuously updated" mean that corrections don't need to be noted? If so, "First Draft" is a misnomer. I don't know what draft I'm reading.

"For the 2nd time in 4 days, Democrat Mary Burke's campaign has been hit by charges that it lifted passages from other sources and used them in its campaign literature."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Dan Bice passes along material "turned up by Republican Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and made available to No Quarter and BuzzFeed." I don't trust the Sentinel to dig into anything that might help Scott Walker, but Walker's campaign was smart enough to say that it was sending the same material to Buzzfeed, which ran a big story last Thursday — based on its own investigation — "Wisconsin Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Fires Campaign Consultant For Large Portions Of Copied Jobs Plan." There's web traffic to consider, along with whatever is left these days of a journalistic conscience.

After the Buzzfeed revelations, apparently the Walker campaign went looking for more of the same, which is clever. Everyone should be running that plagiarism software on all the other side's literature... and on their own, because you'd better be careful about using this kind of attack if you have any vulnerability. Here's how Bice describes what Walker's campaign found:
The material includes two Burke plans — one on rural communities and the other veterans issues — that include passages from several websites as well as Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's "Plan to Create Wisconsin Jobs," which he used during his 2010 campaign for governor. There are seven instances of disputed material. Most of the material is less than a paragraph long, and in some cases, fragments of sentences. In four cases, the Burke documents cited the other online material but did not place the borrowed passages in quotes. All in all, the seven passages are not as substantial or egregious as the unattributed use of language by Burke's jobs plan. But a top Walker aide was still ready to pounce....
The copying was not that bad. Not as bad as that other stuff anyway. And Walker is mean: He's pouncing. Bice is, as usual, eager to help the Democratic Party candidate. The Walker aide made the obvious argument, that there's a pattern — "a disturbing pattern of intellectual dishonesty."

Bice contacted Burke, who hadn't seen the new material:
But she did note that Eric Schnurer — the consultant who has taken the hit for the purloined passages in her jobs plan — also worked on her 25-page rural plan, "Invest in Our Rural Communities." Her campaign cut ties with Schnurer late last week.

"I don't think it should be any surprise that we are drawing on best practices and ideas that have worked elsewhere," Burke said. "But in no circumstances should there be the same wording around those."
It must be Schnurer again, Mary muses, then, thinking out loud and a little carelessly, adding that anything lifted should have been reworded. (That seems to say: You get caught when you use verbatim passages.)

I wonder if Schnurer will ever fight back. His professional reputation is getting ravaged, but defending himself would require attacking the candidate, and attacking his own candidate would also hurt his reputation. Maybe he'll keep silent until after the election and decide what to do when he sees whether Burke wins or loses. Has Bice or Buzzfeed tried to talk to Schnurer? If he's refusing to speak, is that a completely independent decision? I'd like to know.

September 21, 2014

At the Old and Young Café...


... you can have your say.

"It's completely mischaracterized to call it plagiarism, because the source of it is the source from the other plans as well... It is the original work of Eric Schnurer."

"One of the things I learned when I was at Trek bicycle was, the way you're always going to be better is to go out and understand what other people are doing, what other companies are doing.... Why reinvent the wheel if things are working elsewhere, if people have proposed good ideas, why would I not want to use those? Certainly there's nothing in here that I don't think works and is right for Wisconsin... And so this is much ado about nothing here, because that's actually how good plans should be put together."

Said Mary Burke, addressing the lifted blocks of text that appear in what USA Today calls her "glossy, 38-page color booklet, which she pulled from her bag during the interview."

"This is my jobs plan," she said, apparently proud of the document or needing to pretend to be proud of it. Is it too late now to generate a new document? Is the document that important? If it's important, we need to believe that it is her document and that it represents her capacity and competence as an executive.

To pull a glossy booklet out of your bag and declare "This is my jobs plan" and "It is the original work of Eric Schnurer" seems comical. Obviously, we all know that candidates have people ghostwriting for them, but you use them to write words that you can present as your own, and it doesn't work to have to say I didn't steal the words of those 3 other gubernatorial candidates because the truth is that all 4 of us are only repeating the words of Eric Schnurer.

Burke is forced to argue that the glossy booklet still counts as her jobs plan, and the argument is that the ideas are good. They were, she seems to assert, filtered through her executive judgment and deemed worthy. She has gone out and understood what other people are doing, she has listened to other people's ideas and determined which are good ideas and she has selected what is right for Wisconsin. But how do we know that? The text looks like a slapdash patchwork, with cut-and-pasted text used in 4 different states without any variation or attention to honing even the form of expression.

That makes it quite hard to believe that there has been a careful sifting and winnowingas we say in Wisconsin. Of course, that is something that could happen, but why would we think that it did... rather than suspecting that we're getting conned by someone who's stuck with bad facts and making the best of it?

The National Review says that "Feminists" say that "Slow Motion Is 'Sexist.'"

Well, that headline got me to click and then to click again to see what was getting paraphrased like that. The underlying article is a Canadian news article that quotes some critics of an ad for a Vancouver soccer team. First of all, the critics don't call themselves "feminists," and second of all, even if they did purport to represent the amorphous category "feminists," they'd be Canadian feminists. The news article describes the critics like this:
Social media reaction ranged from "Uhhhhhhhhh yes," and "I really don't see a problem here," on Facebook, to Twitter user "The headline isn't just @WhitecapsFC objectifies specific female fans, but also alienates females generally."
So... some Twitter user exemplified the negative reaction that caused the team to take the video down.

After that, some professors commented on the incident, perhaps because the reporter called them up and asked them what they thought. Lisa Loutzenheiser, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia's Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, found it surprising that the team would run an ad like this because it had gotten criticized a few years ago for an ad that showed a woman's body painted with team colors.

Rakhi Ruparelia, a law professor from the University of Ottawa, apparently confronted with the above-quoted tweet, said "I could see why this would alienate a lot of women." That's not much of a feminist critique, and in fact, you have to be or play dumb not to see that this kind of ad does alienate some females.

Finally, Janni Aragon of the University of Victoria's Political Science department, said: "It's almost like I'm watching the Baywatch opening." Blechh! I had to go watch a "Baywatch" opening on YouTube to process that quote. Actually, the ad is much more of a focus on female bodies than that "Baywatch" opening. The "Baywatch" opening had just as much male torso as female, and the torso clips were intercut with shots the ocean, the beach, and various emergency vehicles. The ad is only females, and the female torso on the left is especially riveting in the chestal area.

Now, back to The National Review with the headline "Feminists: Slow Motion Is 'Sexist.'" It linked to an article in which nobody said "feminist," nobody said "sexist," and nobody said "slow motion"!  (The word "sexism" does appear in a second Canadian news article linked by The National Review, "Woman in Whitecaps video baffled by sexism controversy.")

The subheading at the National Review is: "Fans say a promo video for a soccer team reminds them of patriarchal, misogynistic Baywatch." The reference to "Baywatch" comes not from a fan but from a professor, and she's not quoted as calling "Baywatch" "patriarchal, misogynistic." We're invited to imagine raging, exaggerated females hurling tiresome buzzwords, but those words don't appear in the article. Ironically, it's The National Review that sounds tiresome and hysterical.

And it's just silly denial to pretend that ad didn't invite viewers to ogle the female body. If you want to say that's fine, go ahead. But if you want to drag in all that feminism talk, quote specific feminists and let me see your work. Don't supply the jargon yourself.

Did anyone talk about the slow motion? Watching that video, I steeled myself for some major bouncing of the large breasts on the left. But they were well-restrained. They showed tremendous restraint.

Why are they bragging about their "restraint" when they let him get into the White House?

"Although last night the officers showed tremendous restraint and discipline in dealing with this subject, the location of Gonzalez’s arrest is not acceptable," said the Secret Service after a man, Omar J. Gonzalez, jumped the White House fence and made it all the way into the building.

Why is "tremendous restraint" appropriate when someone has jumped the fence and is running across the lawn toward the door? Or are they just trying to act like it is, after failing to stop him sooner?
No shots were fired, and the White House guard dogs were not let loose to stop him, the officials said. After the events of Friday night, the Secret Service shut down pedestrian access to the part of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. Officials said the “enhancement of officer patrols and surveillance capabilities” in the area would continue throughout the review....

The officers did not fire at him, having apparently concluded that he was not armed and did not appear to be carrying anything that might contain explosives. Agents on the roof also held their fire, apparently for the same reasons.

That restraint apparently allowed Mr. Gonzalez to sprint all the way to the entrance of the White House, where foreign dignitaries are greeted by the president. Agents stationed inside tackled him as soon as he was in the grand entryway....
Obviously, there was a security failure. This isn't the first time during the Obama administration that we've been able to see that the Secret Service has fallen short. A man jumps over the fence and runs through the door and they just look at him and decide he has no weapon or explosives? In fact, he had a 3 1/2" folding knife, which sounds more like a pocket knife and not a serious weapon, but that is not the point. No one should get the benefit of "tremendous restraint" in this situation.

ADDED: The linked NYT article compares this to an incident a year ago when the United States Capitol Police "shot and killed a woman who had driven her car into a barrier at the White House and then led police officers on a chase toward the Capitol." We're told the Capitol Police "came under sharp criticism." Are we supposed to think that "restraint" is admirable because they are afraid to take criticism and that they therefore risk allowing a violent person near the President?

Of course, it usually turns out that the person who jumps the barrier suffers from some mental illness that will stir some of us to sympathy if he or she gets shot or ripped up by the dogs.