May 23, 2015

"All I know is that I don't trust police no more. No police. None. I can't recover from this. ...This verdict isn't real. This verdict is fake."

Cleveland cop acquitted of manslaughter.

A juxtaposition.

A reader looking at this morning's Bloggingheads clips puts these 2 images together:

"Early results suggest the Republic of Ireland has voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum."

"If the change is approved, the Republic of Ireland would become the first country to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote."

Nice work, Ireland!

"If, in the end, the data do turn out to be fraudulent, does that say anything about social science as a whole?"

"On some level, the case would be a statistical fluke. Despite what news headlines would have you believe, outright fraud is incredibly rare; almost no one commits it, and almost no one experiences it firsthand. As a result, innocence is presumed, and the mindset is one of trust.... There’s another issue at play: the nature of belief. As I’ve written before, we are far quicker to believe things that mesh with our view of how life should be. [Columbia polisci prof Donald] Green is a firm supporter of gay marriage, and that may have made him especially pleased about the study....  But, perhaps ironically, it was enthusiasm about the study that led to its exposure. The events of the past few days were the result not of skepticism but of belief. Red flags were raised because David Broockman and Joshua Kalla liked the study and wanted to build on it...."

From "How a Gay-Marriage Study Went Wrong" by Maria Konnikova in The New Yorker.

"I don't believe in Twitter."

The post title is a quote from me from that clip. This morning — the day after the dialogue — I'm contemplating the line to the tune of the old John Lennon song: "I don't believe in I-ching/I don't believe in Bible/I don't believe in Tarot..." etc., etc. "The dream is over...."

"I mean, the consistent absurdism...."

"And I hope the people appreciate the convincingness of my physical comedy."

"Is David Letterman a nihilist? Or just Midwestern?/Why Rubio wouldn’t have a lock on the Hispanic vote..."

"Will Bill drag Hill down?/Bob: We’ve played right into ISIS’s recruiting narrative/Did Obama bungle Iraq and Syria?Ann and Bob debate the merits of Twitter."

That's the official listing of the topics — not exactly how I would put it — in this diavlog I did with Bob Wright yesterday.

That's the whole hour. I'm about to watch it, and I'll try to find some good, short snippets to entertain the video-averse among you. It's actually one of the topics in there: How people don't really want to watch video of any length!

ADDED: The argument that Rubio isn't the right kind of Hispanic:

When Monica put the move on Hillary.

From the Hillary email, strange delight about how The Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley got weirdly physical in an interview with Hillary:
This will be exciting when it's FOIA'd...
::Monica grabs HRO's knee::...

::Monica again touches HRC's leg::

Monica: They think I'm so funny (looking at Philippe and me.) HILL, can I ride on your lap to the White House?...
Tom, she moved that yellow chair as close as it went. Knee to knee. Amazed she didn't try knee in between knee.... This went on like that for 51 minutes - unacceptable in any culture. I don't even think you see that behavior among any type of mammal. The touching the leg and repeatedly calling her 'Hillary' was just gravy.
(If you're thinking I want to see a picture of Monica Langley: here.)

"What we see from the religious right is constantly is this projection, this shifting of responsibility..."

"You know... gay couples who want to marry present a threat to the institution of marriage. It's not straight couples committing adultery or telling each other lies about adultery... or divorcing that are a threat to the institution of marriage. It's same-sex couples who wish to marry that are the threat. And it absolves straight couples... of responsibility for what they're doing to marriage. In the same way, we see most abuse — most sexual molestation and abuse — happens within families...."

"The body is first encapsulated into a fetal position in order to fit inside of the burial pod."

"The pod looks like an earthy piece of art, but really it’s a biodegradable 'casket.' Once the burial pod is buried deep underground a tree seed or a young tree is placed directly above, and from one source of life sparks another."

"I have never loved being a part of something as much as I loved being a student-athlete at the greatest university in the world."

"I am proud to say I am a Badger for life."

May 22, 2015

Legalizing "blaze pink" to encourage women to try hunting.

A bill in the Wisconsin state legislature.
... a University of Wisconsin-Madison textile expert performed experiments for the legislators and determined that blaze pink is just as visible as blaze orange in the wild.
Which party? Is that your question? From the linked article, it looks bipartisan. 

"It's awfully unusual to see how dependent Democrats are in relying on former losing candidates as their standard-bearers in 2016."

"Wisconsin's Russ Feingold, Pennsylvania's Joe Sestak, Indiana's Baron Hill, and Ohio's Ted Strickland all ran underwhelming campaigns in losing office in 2010—and are looking to return to politics six years later. Party officials are courting former Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to make a comeback bid, despite mediocre favorability ratings and the fact that she lost a race just months ago that most had expected her to win. All told, more than half of the Democrats' Senate challengers in 2016 are comeback candidates.... [T]he reliance on former failures is a direct result of the party having no one else to turn to.... Without Feingold in Wisconsin, the party's only logical option would be Rep. Ron Kind, who has regularly passed up opportunities for a promotion. Former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett already lost to Gov. Scott Walker twice, and businesswoman Mary Burke disappointed as a first-time gubernatorial candidate last year."

From "Democrats' Vanishing Future/Hillary Clinton is not the only Democratic comeback candidate on the 2016 ticket. Senate Democrats are betting on the past to rebuild their party for the future."

At the Akita Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(The photo is by Meade. See the whole sequence here, at The Puparazzo.)

"The fact is that by the end of Bush’s tenure the war had been won. You can argue that the price of that victory was too high. Fine."

"We can debate that until the end of time. But what is not debatable is that it was a victory. Bush bequeathed to Obama a success. By whose measure? By Obama’s. As he told the troops at Fort Bragg on Dec. 14, 2011, 'We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.' This was, said the president, a 'moment of success.' Which Obama proceeded to fully squander. With the 2012 election approaching, he chose to liquidate our military presence in Iraq. We didn’t just withdraw our forces. We abandoned, destroyed or turned over our equipment, stores, installations and bases. We surrendered our most valuable strategic assets, such as control of Iraqi airspace, soon to become the indispensable conduit for Iran to supply and sustain the Assad regime in Syria and cement its influence all the way to the Mediterranean. And, most relevant to the fall of Ramadi, we abandoned the vast intelligence network we had so painstakingly constructed in Anbar province, without which our current patchwork operations there are largely blind and correspondingly feeble. The current collapse was not predetermined in 2003 but in 2011. Isn’t that what should be asked of Hillary Clinton? We know you think the invasion of 2003 was a mistake. But what about the abandonment of 2011? Was that not a mistake?"

Writes Charles Krauthammer.

"There is no such thing as safety. That is asking too much of life."

"You can’t expect those around you to constantly accommodate your need for safety. That is asking too much of people."

Asserts Peggy Noonan, in her essay titled "The Trigger-Happy Generation/If reading great literature traumatizes you, wait until you get a taste of adult life," which is about telling these kids today to toughen up.

Why, when I was a child, oldies lectured the youngsters about how many miles they had to walk to school in the snow after milking cows in the dark. These old people today! They lecture the kids about how they read Shakespeare without flinching. They've gone soft, I tell you.

"By the way, is anyone asking about the family makeup of the bikers in Waco?"

"No? Exactly."

"But, somewhere around the turn of the century, I lost interest. The show became less and less surreal."

"Real celebrities started showing up, and I winced as Dave would suck up to them. Suddenly, everyone had a perfectly polished, self-deprecating anecdote — invariably meant to prove the utter fiction that Celebrities Are Just Like Us — that sounded suspiciously crafted by a team of writers. Suddenly, each episode had as many as three celebrities, with Letterman being unctuous and insufferable and fake-laughing his way through every minute. At times Dave would turn depressingly earnest, particularly when he thought he had a Deep Political Point to make.... His comedy started to sound like everybody else’s, with the same potshots at the same easy targets. His act sounded less like dada, more like Dad. Letterman was the barking dog who caught the car, was invited in, and curled up delightedly on the seat...."

From "Letterman’s departure is 15 years too late," by Kyle Smith.

I feel much the same way, and yet, we all get old. Dave was getting old and we were getting old. We could stick with him and grow old with him, get comfy on the car seat, or we could stop watching. Me, I stopped watching. But that doesn't mean Dave should have stopped at the point where he was no longer the Dave that meant so much to me. It was okay for him to make a long soft landing into old age, to become Dad. Nothing really that wrong with Dad. The culture needs its Dad too. I mean, I might not want to watch Dad nod at celebrities for an hour every night. But it's okay that he's there.

Did Letterman dilute his legacy by sticking around so long? It's not exactly dada and surreal to analyze things in those terms.

"Residents — supporters and opponents of President Bashar al-Assad — described officers fleeing, leaving civilians and lowly conscript soldiers to fend for themselves."

"One business owner said he watched pro-government militiamen run helter-skelter into orchards, not sure where to retreat. 'Treason,' he called it. But most of all, they said, they had lost any sense that the government could provide safety even to its loyalists. On Thursday, after the militants had taken over the city and begun executing people they deemed close to the government, many residents cowered in their houses and basements, terrified of militants in the streets and of government shelling and airstrikes from the sky. Some found it ominous that the state news media had incorrectly declared that most civilians had been evacuated, perhaps an excuse to increase airstrikes."

From "Frantic Message as Palmyra, Syria, Fell: 'We're Finished'" (NYT).

Elsewhere in the NYT (on the same day, May 21st): "Defending ISIS Policy, Obama Acknowledges Flaws in Effort So Far."
"There’s no doubt that in the Sunni areas, we’re going to have to ramp up not just training but also commitment, and we better get Sunni tribes more activated than they currently have been," Mr. Obama said. "So it is a source of concern."

"She seems less a presidential candidate than a historical figure, magically animated from a wax museum to claim what is rightfully hers."

"And the press corps, both blessed and cursed with live streaming, tweeting and Snapchatting technologies, is armed with questions devised to win the moment. The result is a carnival atmosphere. It is not clear what Mrs. Clinton gains politically from playing the freak."

Waxwork! Playing the freak! And that's in The New York Times — "Hillary Clinton, Acutely Aware of Pitfalls, Avoids Press on Campaign Trail."

"Q: Is it good for science that there is a global language dominating scientific communication?"

"A: It depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, communication among scientists from different nationalities -- at conferences, at global universities -- is greatly facilitated by there being one agreed-upon language of communication. (There's no intrinsic linguistic reason why such a language has to be English; it happens to have turned out that way historically.) Collaboration has increasingly become a crucial feature of scientific development, and so the advent of a global language is positive. On the other hand, for those who have to learn English as a second (or third, or fifth) language an essential requirement of participating in today's science — the burden can be very high. A student who displays no aptitude in learning this particular language, no matter how gifted in a scientific sense, is almost certainly locked out of educational opportunities, the relevant scientific literature and a career. There are other downsides, too, and how you tally up the total depends a good deal on your own linguistic background."

"Computing the optimal road trip across the U.S."

"[W]e needed to look up 2,500 directions to get the 'true' distance between all 50 landmarks... Now with the 2,500 landmark-landmark distances, our next step was to approach the task as a traveling salesman problem: We needed to order the list of landmarks such that the total distance traveled between them is as small as possible if we visited them in order. This means finding the route that backtracks as little as possible...."

May 21, 2015

At the Allium Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(And, please, if you've got any Amazon shopping you want to do, use The Althouse Portal.)

"If it were theoretically possible to develop rheumatism, I am convinced that this rubber pen would be capable of causing it."

"It is a nightmare of an instrument and I am frustrated by its use... The fact that I must, therefore, envision a future with nothing more than a dysfunctional rubber pen, appears, therefore, as an almost indescribable manifestation of sadism."

Wrote Anders Behring Breivik, complaining about conditions in the Norwegian prison where he is serving a 21-year term for murdering 77 human beings. He sees himself as an author, so the problems with the pen, from his perspective, are momentous. Also, from his perspective, on the day of the murders —  on July 22, 2011 — he was very concerned about a 5mm-long cut on his finger:
“Look, I’m hurt,” he said... “I can’t afford to lose too much blood”...

While the plasters were being applied, Breivik wondered why he was bleeding. He remembered hitting his finger when he shot a victim in the head at close range. Something had flown into his finger and then popped out again. It must have been a bit of skull, he told the officers in the room.

"Suspects in the recent biker brawl in Waco, Texas, only slightly outnumber the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates, leading some voters to have difficulty distinguishing between the two groups, a new poll shows."

Ha ha, very funny, but... just let me say 5 things:

1. Seven... eight... who remembers?... human beings got murdered killed in that Twin Peaks shoot out and no one cares. Should we be a little ashamed of taking murder death so lightly?

2. These people all stand accused of mass murder organized crime, and it's just some kind of meaningless joke:

3. It would be funny if that were animated and they all started looking around at each other "Brady Bunch" style.

4. We're being prodded to think of the numerosity of the GOP field of candidates as absurd. (How will they debate?) I keep seeing GOP-disparagers calling the group a "clown car." What's really going on? I say it's displacement of anxiety over the extreme opposite happening on the other side: only Hillary.

5. What will we get tired of first, the only-ness of Hillary or the overly-ness of the GOP? I've been giving this a lot of thought. It's complicated. Hillary has been trying to avoid too much attention, and if there's no action, maybe attention will be lavished on the GOP and we'll get tired of them as a group. But won't they be attacking her? She can't sit back and hope we don't think about her for the next year. And I don't see the GOP candidates attacking each other. Hillary and her allies can't do very well attacking the GOP candidates. Which ones would she pick on, and why help the GOP thin the crowd? To do so would not only strengthen the remaining group, it would require her to take positions and get specific, making her an easier target.

"For many people, the President of the United States is the government of the United States. It’s why he gets the credit and blame for so many things..."

"... like the economy, where his influence can be hard to discern. This is particularly true for a subject in which the President has invested so much of his personal and political capital. If the Supreme Court rules against him, the President can blame the Justices or the Republicans or anyone he likes, and he may even be correct. But the buck will stop with him."

Writes Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker about the King v. Burwell case.

"A sweeping proposal giving control of the lowest-performing schools in Milwaukee to a commissioner who could fire all the teachers and administrators..."

"... might also apply to other large, racially diverse school districts in Wisconsin, including Madison."
Under the Republican-backed proposal, an independent commissioner would be able to convert the three lowest-performing schools to private voucher or independent charter schools in the first year and then up to five more schools each of the following years.
The state Education Department has rejected all 15 applications for new charter schools, including 12 in New York City, claiming they failed to meet academic standards....

The decision, which was made in the past week, comes at a time when Gov. Cuomo and the Republican-controlled state Senate are pushing to raise the cap for charters allowed in the state from 460 to 560. But Mayor de Blasio and the teachers unions oppose charter school expansion, as does the Democratic-run state Assembly....

"Many questions will now be asked in Damascus and Baghdad — and above all in Washington..."

"... about how the militants have managed to score major advances in both Iraq and Syria this week despite all the efforts to stop them. IS was supposed to be on the defensive in Iraq, where the prime minister announced weeks ago the launching of a campaign to drive the militants out of Anbar province. Now he's lost its capital, Ramadi, just days before they took Palmyra in Syria. The western coalition's bombing campaign has clearly hurt IS where it could. But it could never compensate for ground forces which are not competent, equipped or motivated enough to stand firm and hit back. nly the Kurds in the north of both countries (most recently in north-eastern Syria) have proven able to do that."

From the BBC report "Islamic State seizes Syria's ancient Palmyra."

Madison middle school teacher resigns because of the way the district's new discipline policy has worked.

"The behavior policy, implemented at the start of this school year, requires teachers to ask for outside help if they can’t control a misbehaving student."
But Bush says such calls for help often go unanswered by overwhelmed support staff, who are supposed to walk an out-of-control student out of the classroom and “intervene” to get a sense of the causes of the misbehavior. “We call and no one comes," she said. "Teachers have stopped calling.... We don’t feel any hope this system is going to change.”

The Behavior Education Plan, a rewrite of the school district’s previous discipline code, was designed to keep students in the classroom, reduce the number of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, and close a glaring disparity that sends far more African-American students from the classroom for disciplinary reasons than students of other races and ethnicities.... The new code has sharply reduced the number of out-of-school suspensions, although the racial disparity persists, school officials have reported....

“Just telling a teacher they need to figure out a plan for that student is not realistic because some of these kids have very big needs," Bush said.

How to scare a bear.


But how about not aggravating the bear in the first place. Look how he's out of the car to get photographs and how he keeps photographing.

"The quest for perfect consent is profoundly utopian. Like all such quests that ignore human realities, it points the way to dystopian nightmare."

Writes Cathy Young in a WaPo essay titled "Feminists want us to define these ugly sexual encounters as rape. Don’t let them./We need to stop prosecuting bad behavior as rape."

Atena Farghadani, 28, went on trial in Iran for drawing this.

The cartoon depicts members of the Iranian parliament voting on a ban on IUDs and vasectomies. The charges are "spreading propaganda against the system; insulting members of parliament through paintings; and insulting the supreme leader."

The trial took place on Tuesday, but the judge will not give his decision for at least a week.

Maryland gives up on requiring parallel parking in the driver's license test.

The government asserts that it eliminated this part of the test because of "redundancy."

"But bin Laden also wrote extensively — and at times endearingly — to aunts, wives, sons and daughters from whom he had been separated."

"'What is the latest funny news?' he wrote in one undated message to a daughter whom he asked to 'forgive me if I made you mad — and perhaps for having done so frequently.'"

"The stunning break in the case came after police matched Wint to DNA found on the crust of a Domino’s pizza that had been ordered to the house the night of May 13, as the victims were being held..."

They found the DNA on the pizza even though "the multimillion-dollar house was on fire"....
When firefighters arrived that afternoon, the cash was gone, as was a blue Porsche owned by the family. The vehicle was found later that day, torched in a church parking lot in Prince George’s County.
There were 4 murder victims. 

UPDATE: Wint is arrested.
Federal marshals had been tracking Wint on Thursday night from College Park as he traveled in a white Chevrolet Cruze, a police official said. The suspect was traveling with two women, one of whom was driving. The Cruze was following a white box truck, which had two men inside. At least one of the men was believed to be a relative of Wint’s, the official said.

Both vehicles were stopped by marshals near 10th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE, the official said. Police found at least $10,000 in cash in the box truck, and the women in the Cruze and the men in the box truck were taken into custody, the source said.

"Fiorina, 65, is a sturdily built man, with graying hair combed back on a block-like head and a somewhat taciturn manner."

How to talk about the political spouse who's a man.
As the husband of Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard executive now running for president, Fiorina plays an important role for the campaign. Political spouses typically find themselves referred to as a candidate’s “secret weapon,” trusted with “humanizing” their otherwise remote/robotic/pompous partners. Is it sexist to reduce women to little more than props for their politically ambitious husbands? Is it silly to call someone who has a public role on a campaign a “secret”? Can the new crop of political husbands escape the burdens of playing campaign humanizer? Yes, yes and no.

"The decapitated body of a Brazilian blogger known for denouncing corrupt politicians has been found in a rural zone in south-eastern Minas Gerais state..."

... in Brazil.
Evany José Metzker, 67, was reported missing five days before his body was found... “His hands were tied behind his back and his body showed signs of torture,” a police press officer said, adding that the murder was apparently motivated by Metzker’s recent investigations into child prostitution and drug trafficking.

May 20, 2015

"But the skill of being a child prodigy is qualitatively different from the 'skill' of being a creative genius."

"Child prodigies master an adult domain that has already been invented – whether it is perspective drawing, mathematics, chess, tennis or music. On the other hand, adults we classify as creative geniuses are individuals who have invented or discovered something new, something that changes their domain. Countless child prodigies lose interest in their area of talent and drop out; others become experts in their area as adults. Only a tiny few become creative adult

Writes psych prof Ellen Winner who studies the cognition of gifted children in the arts. Hers is one of 6 essays on the topic "The Benefits and Pressures of Being a Young Genius/Is being a child prodigy more of a blessing or a curse?" The topic arose out of the recent attention to the 11-year-old jazz pianist Joey Alexander. Here's the NYT article about him, which we discussed a week ago here.

Extruding curbing.

They're making great progress on our street reconstruction with this wonderful machine that extrudes the concrete curb fully formed...


Just a little touching up is needed...


With hand-made carve-outs for the driveway...


Meade took video from the other side of the street:

Why, indeed?

(The Drudge link goes here, in case the Drudgely simplicity is not enough in itself.)

"I went, literally overnight, from a dancing, spinning, gigglingly alive kid who was enjoying the safety and adventure of a new school, to a walled-off, cement-shoed, lights-out automaton."

"It was immediate and shocking, like happily walking down a sunny path and suddenly having a trapdoor open and dump you into a freezing cold lake."

From the autobiography of James Rhodes, which he had been enjoined not to publish because a court in Britain had sided with his ex-wife who had argued that the descriptions of the horrific rapes he experienced as a child would inflict emotional distress on their son.

Rhodes has now won in the UK supreme court and can publish his book.
"Clearly this is a victory for freedom of speech. Much more importantly it is a powerful message to survivors of sexual abuse," he said. "There is already too much stigma and shame surrounding mental health and sexual abuse. I’m relieved that our justice system has finally seen sense and not only allowed me to tell my story, but affirmed in the strongest possible way that speaking up about one’s own life is a basic human right."

"Interior Secretery Comes To Idaho To Unveil New Sage Grouse Plan."

That's the top story from Idaho right now. We're keeping track of Idaho. It's on our list of places in the running for Our Future Meadhouse. Reasons to move to Idaho:

1. Best named governor: Bruce Otter!

2. The beautiful Perrine Bridge, which can be enjoyed without jumping off and setting your parachute on fire.

3. ...

"You can look at these people and say, 'They are stupid'... I might say, 'That is their personality.'"

Said the psychologist quoted in a WaPo article titled "A 73-year-old base jumper died after intentionally setting his parachute ablaze. Why did he do it?"

Think about it: Maybe stupid is a personality type.

"Couple’s Kayak Trip on Hudson Included Missteps and Dangers, Experts Say."

Some good analysis in this case where it's hard to understand how the woman can be charged with murder.
“Any experienced paddler wears a P.F.D. all the time, every time, period... You would never see a professional paddler without it, whether you’re on a pond or in the Mediterranean. It’s a big deal.”

Other mistakes included the outerwear the couple wore and the vessels they were in. Until mid-May, when the Hudson’s water temperature reaches 60 degrees, experienced kayakers wear either a dry suit or a wet suit. The couple wore neither...

[T]hose kayaks, experts says, were probably the least suited to conditions on the Hudson.... “White-water kayaks are short, and there’s little or no flotation... It’s the worst choice for the Hudson.”...

Some white-water kayaks have drain plugs... Mr. Viafore’s plug was in the couple’s apartment and that it had been pulled out of the kayak some time ago. In theory, a missing plug would not cause the kayak to flood since the hole is small...
The main evidence against the woman seems to be her statement that "it felt good knowing he was going to die." If you had deviously set up that boating accident in advance, wouldn't you shut up about that? Of course those who commit premeditated murder feel good when the scheme plays out as planned. But these cold-blooded evildoers are trying to get away with it, to make it look like an accident. Why, after all that planning and the satisfaction of seeing things go according to plan, would you blow it by talking? It's easy for the defense lawyer to give a different spin to "it felt good knowing he was going to die." This poor, traumatized woman was grasping at an explanation: Why did this happen? In a crazed state of mind, witnessing the struggle and the inevitable death that grasped at the poor man, she arrived at the notion that it was good. It's all good. Everything happens for a reason. It was his time. He died doing what he loved. That's how ordinary people come to terms with death.

UPDATE, May 25, 2015: "The body was discovered just north of the United States Military Academy at West Point on Saturday, not far from where the couple launched their kayaks. The body was transferred to the Orange County morgue, where an autopsy was planned. No official statement has been issued by the medical examiner."

Kim Jong Un is critical of the terrapin farm.

He said: "It is hard to understand that the farm visited by Kim Jong Il did not arrange even the room for education in revolutionary history. The employees who failed to bear deep in their minds his leadership exploits could hardly perform their role as masters in production."

The CNN headline is "No fresh lobster? Kim Jong Un takes aim at North Korean terrapin farm." But the text says: "The farm was also meant to breed freshwater lobsters." Freshwater lobsters are crayfish. If I order "fresh lobster" at The CNN Restaurant and I get a plate of crawdads, I'll be powerfully displeased.

And as long as I'm pointing a finger of denouncement at CNN, I have to wonder about the translation that led to "terrapin." A terrapin is only a type of turtle... you know, the type of turtle that dances and plays the tambourine in front of a log cabin:

Turtles and crayfish are not even in the same phylum.

What's on bin Laden's bookshelf?

Noam Chomsky, Bob Woodward....

"Would it be crazy to turn on the heat? It's 61° inside!"

Soul-searching in Madison, Wisconsin, where the outdoor temperature is 43° on May 20th.

For the record, the quote in the post title is me. The response, from Meade, was: "Just put on another jacket."

For Dave and for Bob, it's "The Late Show," and the hour is getting late.

A sincere delivery of "The Night We Called It a Day," and a nice intro by Dave.

I doubt if much of the audience understood what Bob Dylan was trying to do here. Letterman's intro included the statement that Bob is the greatest songwriter, but the song performed was written by someone else — from Bob's new album of cover songs, Frank-Sinatra-related cover songs. Bob looked a tad tormented, and I wondered if he might be thinking that people wouldn't understand why he was doing this and I retreated to the position that the mind of Bob Dylan is simply an unknowable phantasmagoria. When Dave came over to thank Bob, after the song was over, Bob accepted the handshake and then wandered off as if... well, I really don't know. Like there was too much confusion and he was looking for some way out of here.

For Dave and for Bob, it's "The Late Show," and the hour is getting late.

"Latest" = Charles Lindbergh takes flight, "Insane" = Lindsey Graham.

A screenshot from The Nation:

"Charles Lindbergh Takes Flight for France" is a new article. It begins:
One scarcely knows where to begin in unpacking the historical ironies embedded in The Nation’s editorial heralding Lindbergh’s successful solo flight over the Atlantic—which was titled “'I Am Charles Lindbergh,’” citing a phrase apparently as ubiquitous then as “Je Suis Charlie” has been this year. 
Ah! How serendipitous. I'm writing a post about a headline and I run into an essay about a headline. The old 1927 article said:
The happiest feature of the country’s acclaim of Captain Lindbergh is that for once, everybody, of every shade of opinion, can agree.... The only discordant note comes from certain militarists in Washington, who dolefully warn us that America’s isolation is at an end, that the sea is no longer a rampart of defense....
The list of 10 "insane" things Lindsey Graham has said is here. It's mostly tough we-are-at-war talk, things like "Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war," which unfortunately don't sound insane. They're just clearly, memorably stated versions of ideas that most politicians deliver with more verbal padding.

“Do you know how well your kids can see? Are you sure?"

"I’m a mother of three with access to top pediatricians and a network of neurotic moms, yet I was never advised to get my children’s eyes checked. Last summer I took my 4-year-old to an optometrist with an air of confidence that I was just being overprotective. Much to my sickening surprise, he could barely see, as it turns out. One of his eyes was giving up, a nonreversible condition if not caught early. My son’s eyes lit up when glasses were put on and he could see properly. (Insert mom guilt.) His whole demeanor changed; he would cry, scream and nap a lot until that point. We had taken him to many specialists, and no one had suggested that we get his eyes checked...."

A letter to the editor of the NYT in response to an op-ed titled "Kids Who Can’t See Can’t Learn." The op-ed, by an ophthalmologist, stressed the need for getting free vision screening and free glasses to less affluent children. The letter writer's point is that even where there is excellent access to health care, a child's vision may go uncorrected for too long. I wonder how many specific health problems in children go untreated because we expect random misbehavior and orneriness from them.

May 19, 2015

"The GOP Is the Strongest It's Been in Decades."

"While most journalists look at presidential performance as a measure of party strength (see the ubiquitous 'Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections'), we take a broader view of party strength...."

Federal district court judges call each other up when they're "puzzled by legal questions" and they've "been on the receiving end of the game-show-like call for help."

The NYT reports based on interviews with "a dozen judges in Manhattan’s Federal District Court."
On appeals courts, where judges typically rule in groups, collaboration is the rule. But trial judges are seen as solitary actors, the captains of their courtrooms, answerable only to a higher court. That is what makes a trial judge calling another for advice seem unusual to outsiders....

Judge Ronnie Abrams, a former prosecutor appointed to the bench in 2012, said she had been “at both ends” of such calls. As a judge, she said, “you can’t talk about your job to too many people, and so it’s nice to use the kind of experience and perspective of your colleagues when appropriate.”
I couldn't find anything in the article about what was "game-show-like," but I think we're just supposed to remember that on the old show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," contestants were allowed 3 "lifelines," one of which was "phone a friend." So... calling a colleague for help with a question you find hard could thus be "game-show-like."

Marquette University puts up a mural honoring a convicted cop murderer who escaped from prison and fled to Cuba.

"The mural caught the attention of one of Marquette's most vocal critics, John McAdams. McAdams was an associate professor of political science until he was suspended for publicly criticizing a teaching assistant last year on his blog for how she handled a discussion of gay marriage in her class...."

On Saturday, McAdams blogged about the mural, Michelle Malkin Charlie Sykes picked up the story, and:
On Sunday evening, Marquette's communications department tweeted out a link to a brief statement that said the mural "in a remote area of campus" was coming down. The mural is inside the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center on an upper floor of the Alumni Memorial Union.
McAdams responds to the response on his (nicely designed!) blog:
It's quite possible they just heard of the mural, since they can hardly keep track of everything that occurs on campus. In fact, the bureaucrats who run the University spend most of their time holed up in Zilber Hall, talking to each other, and don't get out much...

What Marquette has done is to install bureaucracies to cater to the demands of politically correct victim groups — or more property people claiming to represent politically correct victim groups. In those places — the "diversity" bureaucracies, Student Affairs, Campus Ministry and so on — a very narrow and insular worldview prevails...

But worse still, the higher administration doesn't fully comprehended what they have put in place. Rather, the top administrators are proud of their "initiatives" about "diversity" and "inclusion" and "gender and sexuality."  They have pandered to the politically correct, and now are embarrassed at what the politically correct have done.

"It was unclear whether Sulkowicz would be able to bring her mattress to graduation..."

"... after Columbia's administration emailed seniors on Monday: 'Graduates should not bring into the ceremonial area large objects which could interfere with the proceedings or create discomfort to others in close, crowded spaces shared by thousands of people.'... However, Sulkowicz appears to have brought her mattress to graduation...."

"ABC has plenty of reasons to be freaking out over the George Stephanopoulos scandal — 105 million, to be exact."

"The seven-year deal — which dwarfs the five-year, $50 million contract scored by since-suspended NBC rival Brian Williams — was supposed to keep Stephanopoulos in front of ABC’s cameras through 2021."

"Scientists have figured out how to brew morphine using the same kit used to make beer at home."

"They have genetically modified yeast to perform the complicated chemistry needed to convert sugar to morphine."

"Hey, Men of America..."

"'God our Father, God our Father, we thank you, we thank you,' he sang. 'For our many blessings, for our many blessings, Amen, Amen.'"

Child at the Waffle House.

Jesus calling: You can't just eat your waffle.

The Cannes Film Festival discriminates against women in flat shoes.

"Everyone should wear flats, to be honest, at the best of times" said Emily Blunt. "You kind of think that there's these new waves of equality."

MEANWHILE: Men still have to wear ties.

"She would have to be the stupidest murderer in the world unless she was forced, unless she was directed at gunpoint to do these seemingly stupid things."

Said the defense lawyer.

"Boys who smoke cannabis 'are four inches shorter."

"New study finds that youngsters who regularly smoked marijuana are far shorter than their non-smoking peers."

Eric O’Keefe on the Supreme Court's denial of cert. in the John Doe investigation case.

In the email:
Spring Green, Wisconsin (May 18, 2015) — Eric O’Keefe, a director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth and co-petitioner with the Club in the case O’Keefe v. Chisholm, issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision today declining to hear their appeal:

“The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear our claims does not change the fact that the only court to review the John Doe investigation found it to be an abuse of civil liberties and First Amendment rights. The appeals court said that any attempt to hold John Chisholm and his associates accountable should proceed in state courts, and that's exactly what I expect to happen.”

"Chelsea Clinton is so unpleasant to colleagues, she’s causing high turnover at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation..."

"... sources say."

Sources.... Reading the article, I'm thinking the people who have left are aggrieved because it's obvious that Chelsea is in a privileged position. Are we really to think that her unpleasantness is what's driving them out? Isn't it more that she's blocking them and can't be criticized in a normal way? I'm willing to believe she's unpleasant. There are unpleasant people everywhere, but when do you quit your job over somebody's unpleasantness?

"I am 80 and figure I can speak the truth as I see it. Ignorant I am not."

Said Duke professor Jerry Hough, defending himself after getting criticized for something he wrote in the comments section of a The New York Times editorial titled "How Racism Doomed Baltimore." Hough's I'm-old defense appears in a WaPo article titled "Duke professor, attacked for ‘noxious’ racial comments, refuses to back down."

Here's what Hough wrote in the NYT:

How ISIS used a sandstorm.

"The sandstorm delayed American warplanes and kept them from launching airstrikes to help the Iraqi forces, as the Islamic State fighters evidently anticipated."
The fighters used the time to carry out a series of car bombings followed by a wave of ground attacks in and around the city that eventually overwhelmed the American-backed Iraqi forces.

Once the storm subsided, Islamic State and Iraqi forces were intermingled in heavy combat in many areas, making it difficult for allied pilots to distinguish friend or foe, the officials said. By that point, the militants had gained an operational momentum that could not be reversed....
IN THE COMMENTS: SJ said: "It's hard to fight a war without putting soldiers on the ground in the area. Airplanes are useful, but they can't win a war by themselves." Surfed said: "Right out of the 1965 operational playbook of North Vietnamese General Vo Giap. Get close and intermingle in combat - it negates America's strengths in airpower and artillery. One place - Ia Drang Valley."

"The way to walk through demanding times is to grip my hand tightly. Regardless of the day’s problems, I can keep you in perfect peace as you stay close to me."

Said Jesus, as imagined by  Sarah Young in "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence," as read aloud to a group of religious conservatives in Iowa, by presumed presidential candidate Scott Walker.

May 18, 2015

"The sect leaders make a very conscious effort to impregnate the women. Some of them, I was told, even pray before mating, offering supplications for God..."

"... to make the products of what they are doing become children that will inherit their ideology."

At the swearing-in ceremony for Marquette University Law School graduates, only the justices who voted for Patience Roggensack appear.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack was presiding as chief justice for the first time as the court performed the time-honored ritual for the newest members of the bar. Not present was Shirley Abrahamson, who lost the position of chief when voters amended the state constitution to provide for the justices to elect their own chief. Abrahamson is suing in federal court, claiming that she's still properly the chief, under the old seniority rule, until the end of her term in 2019. Also absent were Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Patrick Crooks, who, we're told, voted against Roggensack.

Congratulations to the graduates of Marquette University Law School, beneficiaries of Wisconsin's delightful diploma privilege. I'm sorry you didn't get to see a full bench for your special celebration, but you did get to see something special.

"The Hole in the Rooftop Solar-Panel Craze/Large-scale plants make sense, but panels for houses simply transfer wealth from average electric customers."

"Most people buy rooftop solar panels because they think it will save them money or make them green, or both. But the truth is that rooftop solar shouldn’t be saving them money (though it often does), and it almost certainly isn’t green. In fact, the rooftop-solar craze is wasting billions of dollars a year that could be spent on greener initiatives. It also is hindering the growth of much more cost-effective renewable sources of power."

Subscription needed for direct access to the WSJ, but you can Google some text and get a workable link.

"To the American people, first I say thank you for the love they give me. I want the time to give my love to American people."

Says Elian Gonzalez, who once found himself "alone in the middle of the sea."
"For my family it has always been, we always have the desire to say to the American people, to say to each household our gratitude, appreciation and love that we have.... Perhaps one day we could pay a visit to the United States. I could personally thank those people who helped us, who were there by our side. Because we're so grateful for what they did."
ADDED: Back in May 2000, Steve Martin had a humor piece in The New Yorker, written in the voice of Elian Gonzales:
Yes, the photos were doctored. I was taken to a little room, where a photographer held me at gunpoint. Janet Reno came in and started into her irresistible shtick and I burst out laughing. The photo was snapped, and my head was Photoshopped onto another kid’s body. I was then taken to a play yard, where a man masquerading as my father threw a Nerf Ball that I was supposed to chase. My own father is quite fat, certainly not as attractive as the man who was chosen to pose as him... When I finally got back into Cuba, I was placed in a wooden box, which was then suspended from a scaffold in the town square while Castro himself held the ropes. I can still hear him saying, “Zees ees what happeeens to leettle boyz who sail acrozz zee sea.” ... All this just to make Castro look good. I think that this event was what made it possible for him to snag and marry Jennifer Lopez.... I guess blood is thicker than water.
 Maybe in 2000 that was funny. Here's the photograph that was taken on April 22, 2000:

Is it funny now?

"In his decades of medical practice, Marsh has been a witness or a party to almost every kind of mistake."

"There are errors of commission (the hubristic removal of too much tumor) and of omission (the missed diagnosis). There are errors that go unreported (after a successful surgery, Marsh might decide not to tell a patient about a close call) and errors for which Marsh is held accountable. (He writes that, after one operation, 'I told them to sue me. I told them I had made a terrible mistake.') There are errors of delegation—as when Marsh allows a resident to perform a simple spinal surgery, and the patient is left with a paralyzed foot—and historical errors: at a mental hospital, Marsh encounters victims of lobotomy. One morning, Marsh operates after having a petty argument with another surgeon, and the operation paralyzes half the patient’s face. He writes, 'Perhaps this was going to happen anyway—it is called a "recognized complication" of that particular operation—but I know that I was not in the right state of mind to carry out such dangerous and delicate surgery, and when I saw the patient on the ward round in the days afterwards, and saw his paralyzed face, paralyzed and disfigured, I felt a deep sense of shame.'"

From a New Yorker article by Joshua Rothman — "Anatomy of Error/A surgeon remembers his mistakes" — about a book by the neurosurgeon Henry Marsh titled "Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery."

The Supreme Court denies cert. in the John Doe case — O'Keefe v. Chisholm.

SCOTUSblog reports.

ADDED: Here's the post from last month "The Wall Street Journal urges the U.S. Supreme Court to take the free-speech case arising out of Wisconsin's John Doe investigation."

I thought the Supreme Court should take cert., but it's important to see that this case was about a federal court interfering with proceedings in state court, and at this point, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is hearing the state court case. The federal court abstained, and one of the reasons for abstention is that the state court may choose an interpretation of the state statute that would avoid the federal constitutional question. The Supreme Court's denial of cert. doesn't mean that the 7th Circuit got the abstention doctrine right.

"I have always been drawn to the women who can arouse this kind of vitriol. The kind of hate that seems too big and billowing..."

"... to be directed at just one woman, the kind that seems like a person or an entire society is vomiting out all its misogyny onto one convenient scapegoat. At some point — after successive Joan of Arc and Courtney Love phases — I started to see this position of feminine abjectness as a kind of superpower. A position from which a woman could offend far more deeply than a man."

From "Yoko Ono and the Myth That Deserves to Die," by Lindsay Zoladz in New York Magazine. Another excerpt:
As one of the few women associated with New York’s avant-garde music scene and the “neo-Dada” Fluxus movement, Ono was by then used to being overshadowed by the more powerful and self-serious men around her. (“I wonder why men can get serious at all,” she mused in Grapefruit. “They have this delicate long thing hanging outside their bodies, which goes up and down by its own will.”)

Under Armour gets it wrong.

Under criticism, this shirt is yanked.

ADDED: I'll use this opportunity to repeat my most important Under Armour opinion: Basketball players should — like ballet dancers — lose the shorts and just wear the leggings. There should be no under in Under Armour.

"If it weren’t for global warming, we’d be under an ice sheet a mile thick right now."

"He gestured toward the mountains. 'But look at us. Earth as far as the eye can see. I love global warming! And I love you!' Something about the implied comparison made me nervous. I was pretty bad as wives go. Where Stephen was concerned possibly epoch-rending, world-destroying bad. But without me he’d be under an ice sheet, so maybe I was doing him a favor. It was plausible. It was also not enough. I said I wasn’t ready. But I had sex with him, feeling like a very dutiful wife."

From Nell Zink's novel "The Wallcreeper."

If it looks like a park, and people sit in it like a park...

"[New York state's highest court] is making a big mistake even hearing the crazy anti-NYU lawsuit to designate strips of village streets as parkland," says The Daily News.
Hoping to block development, opponents focused on four strips of land... Owned by the city Department of Transportation... DOT let the Parks Department manage the properties on the condition that DOT could reclaim them. Now, the city plans to give NYU use of the strips to get into and out of the construction site — then rehabilitate them with full park designation.

Here is where the opponents’ loony claims enter the picture. They say that, because the land looks like a park, and because people like to sit on the benches, it became a park with the full legal protections afforded to parkland. Although DOT holds title, although the law classifies the strips as streets, although the city repeatedly refused requests to convert them formally into parkland, the opponents say the parcels became parks simply because dogwalkers cleaned up after their animals there.

A unanimous Manhattan Appellate Division threw out the case by affirming that a property owner cannot lose control over land just because someone else likes to relax on it. Unbelievably, the Court of Appeals saw grounds to question such common sense.
Loony claims?

"The shootout is the latest and perhaps goriest chapter in a long history of violence involving motorcycle gangs in America...."

"The Bandidos began almost 20 years after the Hell’s Angels, but the two gangs soon became bitter rivals."
According to the motorcycle club’s legend, founder Donald Chambers was bored with other bike clubs. “Chambers started the Bandidos in March 1966, when he was 36 years old and working on the ship docks in Houston,” Skip Hollandsworth wrote in a 2007 profile of the gang. “He told his friends that he was naming his club the Bandidos, in honor of the Mexican bandits who refused to live by anyone’s rules but their own...

“Don wasn’t looking for people who fit into what he called ‘polite society,'” one of the group’s first members told Hollandsworth. “He wanted the badass bikers who cared about nothing except riding full time on their Harley-Davidsons. He wanted bikers who lived only for the open road. No rules, no bullshit, just the open road.”...

“These guys are organized crime but they are also domestic terrorists,” [said undercover cop Steve Cook]. “These guys are heavily involved in methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, motorcycle theft. Those are all primary businesses for them. The thing is, these guys want to put on this appearance, ‘Oh we’re just motorcycle enthusiasts and we just like to ride bikes.’ The evidence is quite to the contrary.”

Viral video takes down that Kennesaw State University academic adviser.

"Sitting here until someone is available is harassing them," said Abby Dawson, caught on video by the student, Kevin Bruce, because, as he put it: "Abby Dawson has an attitude, that’s why I knew exactly when to record her."

The video gets out, not the larger context. What is the larger context? Dawson can't get her side of the story out, and Bruce controls the narrative. Bruce knows that he is recording, and during the sequence that's recorded he's speaking in a calm, circumspect manner that makes Dawson look way out of line.

Bruce has explained that he was told his adviser would be available in an hour, and he decided to wait instead of leaving and coming back in an hour. How did that earlier interaction play out? Why did Dawson interpret the lingering in the office as harassment? Was her reaction part of some absurd ever-enlarging concept of "harassment" within the gender politics of modern American education? Is Dawson an abusive outlier? Or would this all be nothing if we could see the whole interaction on video?

"The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally."

Slavers Politico.

Yes, older people tend to be conservative, and older people tend to die.

And yet, everybody's always getting older, tending more toward conservatism, and, yes, eventually, dying. So the more conservative party is always dying, but it's also always receiving new entrants, as the once-young become old.

Now's a good time to roll out the old Churchill/not-really-Churchill quote: "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart.  If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain."

"I know it’s insane to think that I could fly. But to make it possible, you truly have to believe in it — to go to a place that’s not accepted."

Said the extreme climber, Dean Potter, who would rock climb, then jump using one of those fly-squirrel-style wingsuits.
Saturday evening he died in a base jumping accident at Yosemite National Park. He and a fellow jumper were found dead below Taft Point, a 7,500 foot cliff overlooking the park’s famous valley. Their parachutes were never deployed.
So, 2 men died, with neither parachute deployed. Was that a game of chicken or some freak wind shear experience?
“I’m addicted to the heightened awareness I get when there’s a death consequence,” he told ESPN. “My vision is sharper, and I’m more sensitive to sounds, my sense of balance and the beauty all around me. A lot of my creativity comes from this nearly insane obsession. Something sparkles in my mind, and then nothing else in life matters.”

May 17, 2015

"And then there were the wife bonuses. I was thunderstruck when I heard mention of a 'bonus.'..."

"A wife bonus, I was told, might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance — how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a 'good' school — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks. In turn these bonuses were a ticket to a modicum of financial independence and participation in a social sphere where you don’t just go to lunch, you buy a $10,000 table at the benefit luncheon a friend is hosting. Women who didn’t get them joked about possible sexual performance metrics. Women who received them usually retreated, demurring when pressed to discuss it further, proof to an anthropologist that a topic is taboo, culturally loaded and dense with meaning...."

From a NYT op-ed about the Glam SAHMs (glamorous stay-at-home-moms) of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, written by Wednesday Martin, who is identified as a writer and "social researcher." She has a memoir coming out called "Primates of Park Avenue."

4 stray thoughts:

1. The illustration at the link is really good.

2. Don't confuse this topic with the more general subject of stay-at-home mothers (a topic I prefer to call single-earner household). This is about how very rich people structure things.

3. It made me think of that excellent Woody Allen movie "Alice."

4. The book title "Primates of Park Avenue" made me think of another title that it took me a long time to drag out of the 1980s canyon of my mind: "Slaves of New York." Remember that? Tama Janowitz. That was a big deal back in the days of "Bright Lights, Big City" and "Less Than Zero." Here's the NYT review of it from 1986, by Jay McInerney (the author of "Bright Lights, Big City"):
Eleanor longs for the good old verities of marriage, the kind of legal bondage under which she'd have a few enforceable rights... Heroically passive, Eleanor has half a mind to think about doing... something. ''If I ever get some kind of job security and/or marital security, I'm going to join the feminist movement.''

When a friend calls from Boston to say she's thinking of moving back to New York and living with her old boyfriend, Eleanor advises her not to do it. She'll be a slave. ''Your only solution is to get rich, so you can get an apartment and then you can have your own slave.''

"They should ask [Hillary], 'Was it a good idea to invade Libya? Did that make us less safe? Did it make it more chaotic? Did it allow radical Islam and ISIS to grow stronger?'"

Said Rand Paul, as part of his answer to this week's Question of the Week on this morning's "Meet the Press":
CHUCK TODD: Are you satisfied after Governor Bush's sort of fourth answer on this, saying that he wouldn't have gone into the war in Iraq, knowing what we know now?...

SENATOR RAND PAUL: Well, I think it's an important question and I don't think it's a historical  anecdote. I don't think it's something that's a hypothetical question. I think it's a recurring question in the Middle East. Is it a good idea to topple secular dictators? And what happens when we do? I think when Hussein was toppled, we got chaos. We still have chaos in-- in Iraq. I think it emboldened Iran. I think-- we now have the rise of radical Islam in Iraq as well. But I think the same question, to be fair, ought to be asked of Hillary Clinton, if she ever takes questions. They should ask her, "Was it a good idea to invade Libya? Did that make us less safe? Did it make it more chaotic? Did it allow radical Islam and ISIS to grow stronger?" So I think the war in Iraq is a good question and still a current question, but so is the question of, "Should we have gone into Libya?"

"Creepy Ads Use Litterbugs’ DNA to Shame Them Publicly."

In Hong Kong.

"I am not surprised Fox has censored Picasso’s breasts. It is absurd and creepy to blur out the bosoms of his Women of Algiers..."

"... in a report on the painting that set a new world record this week. But it is not completely impossible to understand, because if you were a puritan or a fundamentalist or just hated women’s bodies, Picasso’s breasts are the kind of breasts you might find shocking.... Picasso’s breasts are just black circles with big dots for nipples. It is a measure of his genius that he can convey all the roundness, fullness and touchability of a breast using this graffiti-like shorthand. There are four pairs of breasts in Women of Algiers (Version O) by my count – painted in various stages of cartoonish crudity... It is a cliche to see Picasso as a misogynist whose lust for women was aggressive and patriarchal... Who hates women – Picasso who painted all those breasts, or the TV station that smeared them out?"

That's from The Guardian, scoring political points off cartoonish breasts in a painting that you'd think conservatives would want to show because it was just so darned expensive this last time it was sold and even though it knows very well that it was just some local station that was afraid someone would complain. Objections could have come from lefties as well as righties. The Guardian admits, as it must, that Picasso was a big old aggressive misogynist.

Anyway, maybe it works over in England to say "Picasso's breasts," when you only want us to think of the women's breasts that he painted, but the American mind — mine, anyway — goes straight to moobs. And Picasso is a man who often posed for pictures shirtless. I went looking for a good picture to illustrate this and I found a whole page titled "A lot of pictures of Pablo Picasso without his shirt on." I picked this one:

It's been a good year for Picasso and a good year generally for shirtless men. Mitt Romney appeared shirtless the other day (in some boxing match, but who cares?, the big deal was that he was shirtless). And images of Martin O'Malley without a shirt are continually popping up as if to say look what I can do that Hillary can't.

Rand Paul on ending the bulk collection of phone records but keeping the NSA.

He impressed me in this section of an interview this morning on "Meet the Press."

From the transcript:
... I would have the NSA target their activities more and more towards our enemies. I think if you are not spending so much time and money collecting the information of innocent Americans, maybe could have have spent more time knowing one of the Tsarnaev boys, one of the Boston bombers, had gone back to Chechnya. We didn't know that even though we had been tipped off by the Russians, we had communicated, we had interviewed him and still didn't know that. Same with the recent jihadist from Phoenix that traveled to Texas and the shooting in Garland. We knew him. We had investigated him, we had put him in jail. I want to spend more time on people we have suspicion of and we have probable cause and less time on innocent Americans. It distracts us from the job of getting terrorists.

Al Capone's accountant.

A Google news search turns up 3,020 results for that search right now. Do you know why?

Another interesting Google search right now is a single 3-letter word: Umm. About 341,000 results on that one. Are you paying attention?

"The bags of Kraft marshmallows looked innocent enough. But a meat injector was also found in the car."

"After searching the Internet, Chief Jeffries realized that the marshmallows probably had been infused with the marijuana butter and heat-sealed into their bags.... Across the country, law enforcement agencies long accustomed to seizures of bagged, smokable marijuana are now wrestling with a surge in marijuana-infused snacks and confections transported illegally across state lines for resale."

Politicians call each other politicians.

Ron Johnson: "Russ Feingold is a career politician. He's addicted to it. He just can't stand being away from it, and so he's just got to announce."

Russ Feingold: "He's shown time and again that he's just a partisan ideologue who doesn't listen to the concerns of Wisconsinites, only the concerns of corporate special interests and his multimillionaire crowd."


"I get so tired of the sad articles that desperately try to reassure working mothers that their children are 'better off' than the children of mothers who stay home."

"Work if you want to, but don't imply that my children were at any disadvantage because I stayed home until the youngest started school. That's laughable. As for 'mommy wars,' maybe the constant need to downplay or subtly denigrate the value of SAHM in order to make working moms feel better about leaving their children with others for 8-10 hours a day is a big part of the problem. How about this: there are pros and cons to both scenarios and what matters most is that children are loved. Children who are loved are the ones who are 'better off' so let's leave it at that."

A comment at a NYT piece titled "Mounting Evidence of Advantages for Children of Working Mothers." The term "mommy wars"is in the article, the third sentence of which is:
The mommy wars might seem like a relic of the 1990s, but 41 percent of adults say the increase in working mothers is bad for society, while just 22 percent say it is good, according to the Pew Research Center.
That Pew poll is from 2007, which seems a little relic-y, but the term "mommy wars" comes from a 1990 Newsweek article called "Mommy Vs. Mommy" that begins:
Tension between mothers is building as they increasingly choose divergent paths: going to work, or staying home to care for their kids

These are the Mommy Wars...
Man, that is desperate journalism. And yet it is remembered a quarter century later.
Picture the working mother. Like most mothers of her generation, she probably grew up in a family with an at-home mom, so she's vulnerable to criticism that she's not spending enough time with her children.... She is anxious that her children are growing up without her, that she's missing the important landmarks in their lives...

Now cross the battle lines for a look at the working-at-home mother. She's usually there because she believes that's best for her children. Either she's lucky and her husband can support them easily, or they've agreed to sacrifice and economize so that they can live on one salary. Once ensconced, however, she is often isolated....

Making peace... Many feel that feminism's first wave didn't give them the alternatives they need. Because of that, some gave up on feminism... But perhaps the mothers can't "get it right" all on their own. It seems likely that a truce won't be possible until Congress passes legislation to give families more choices, without sacrificing either the children's welfare or the mother's individual needs. After all, isn't choice what feminism was supposed to be all about?
A truce won't be possible until Congress passes legislation...

It came from 1996.

"This enigmatic one-hit wonder from 1996 sampled the chorus of B.B. King's 'How Blue Can You Get.'"

What a cool, evocative song. "Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand." Perhaps the 1996 recording sounds lame to most people now — YouTube automatically served up "Fade Into You" when it ended — but I remember how much it was loved at the time. "Fade Into You" was loved too. Two decades ago... in the strange land that was 1996. Do you remember the Trappist Martyrs of Atlas, the creation of copernicium, the wreck of the Sea Empress, the Brothers to the Rescue, the Ozone Disco Club fire, the Freemen of Jordan, Montana, the Hoover Institution's report on global warming (saying it will probably benefit the United States), Hurricane Bertha, the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, Osama bin Laden's "Declaration of Jihad on the Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Sacred Places," the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, the re-election of Bill Clinton, and the demise of "Calvin and Hobbes"?

As for the recently departed B.B. King — you can listen to "How Blue Can You Get" at the top link — that transcends time.