August 1, 2015

"As a kid, I was searching for my tribe of other people who saw through the matrix."

"Even as a kid I could never buy into the status quo. I just thought it was a joke; I couldn't believe other people weren't laughing at it."

At Psychedelic Wall Café...


... take a look at your landscape.

"Caitlyn has every right to be just as conservative as she chooses. But many transgender men and women need social programs to survive..."

"... and that's nothing to be ashamed of. If Cait's going to be a spokesperson for the community. This is something she's going to have to understand."

Pushback... as Caitlyn Jenner shows her political conservatism. Eh. Or something like that. The quoted dialogue comes from a trailer for the show, as does Jenner's expression of conservatism. I think what's going on is more that show needs dramatic tension, so something was set up, and the show needs a narrative arc, and there will be one. Thus, early on, Jenner expresses the view that people can get "totally dependent on" government, because they think "they can make more not working with social programs than they actually can with an entry-level job," and they start thinking "Why should I work?" and they "get in trouble." Later, I'm betting, Jenner will become more aware of social problems and the value of government programs. Narrative arc achieved. Quite boring of course, but not so boring that I'm trashing this post.

"Professor what's your stand on kilts?"

Asks Mac McConnell in the comments to this morning's men-in-shorts post.

My answer: "They should not be so long that I can stand on them."

If you're thinking of wearing a kilt that has a train...

... guys, don't.

Federal judge dismisses Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson's effort to win back her position of chief justice.

"Abrahamson filed suit April 8, a day after voters had approved a constitutional amendment to change how the chief justice was elected to a majority vote among the justices every two years."
“The court concludes that Wisconsin’s new method of selecting its chief justice was effective on April 29, 2015, when the referendum was certified, and that the Wisconsin Supreme Court was authorized to implement that method and to elect a new chief justice on that day,” wrote Judge James Peterson in Friday’s decision....
“The court has some misgivings about whether [the Justices' vote to elect Patience Roggensack as their new chief] actually reflects a judicial interpretation of the amendment, because the issue was not presented to the court in the usual manner with advocates presenting the competing positions,” Peterson wrote. “Nor was it resolved in the usual manner, which typically involves at least some measure of deliberation in which all the justices participate. But the down-and-dirty interpretation (which defendants dignify with the term 'de facto') will do for the purposes of this case.”...

“This federal court does not have to guess what that interpretation would be, because on April 29, 2015, the day that the referendum was certified, four justices voted to elect Justice Roggensack as the new chief,” he wrote.
That is, the federal judge wouldn't say what the meaning of the Wisconsin constitutional amendment is, because the state supreme court has authority over the meaning of state law, and by taking the vote for a new chief, the court revealed its interpretation of the amendment. That eliminated the argument that the Wisconsin constitutional amendment should be understood to leave Abrahamson in her old position until her present term ends. Beyond that, there was an argument that it violated due process, under the U.S. Constitution, for the people of Wisconsin to change the method of determining who would be chief justice. The judge rejected that argument.

"I had been wondering why so many people seem to hate Donald Trump."

"Calling him egotistical or a 'loudmouth' doesn't really explain it — those are reasons to find someone off-putting and to avoid him, but not to hate him. After watching this previously unreleased movie about Trump from the early '90s, I finally understand. A large part of my job involves construction-site safety, which is something I feel strongly about. The description of the construction work on Trump Tower (where Trump lived in luxury after developing it), starting at 31:20 in the movie, is outrageous."

Writes Jaltcoh.

"Funhouse Psychotherapy With Poker Chips."

"In a thousand ways, [gambling] has taught me two main lessons: that the odds are the odds, and they will always ultimately prevail; and that the mind (and particularly the ego) is full of trickery. These tricks take myriad forms, but they share a common theme: The odds apply chiefly to others. You are special."

An essay by Walter Kirn at Good, which you should click to if only for the illustration, which I don't think was intended to evoke a burqa but does.

More email.

"Always wanted to ask if Meade wears shorts. If he doesn't, did he used to and give them up for you?"

"Or did he never wear shorts and was that a point in his favor with you? Or did you just tell him that if he ever wears shorts you'll kill him?"

Email from a reader, which I answered "Meade does whatever he wants."

My problem with men in shorts has always been that it makes the man look like a boy. I don't want a boy-man. You know what else makes a man look like a boy? When mommy dresses him.

July 31, 2015

At the Sidewalk Café...


... you can find the light.

"To hold ancient books, incunabula, in my own hands was a new experience for me..."

"... I particularly adored Conrad Gesner’s Historiae animalium (1551), richly illustrated (it had Albrecht Dürer’s famous drawing of a rhinoceros), and there, too, that I fell in love with all the works of Sir Thomas Browne— his Religio Medici, his Hydriotaphia, and The Garden of Cyrus (The Quincunciall Lozenge). It was in the stacks that I saw all of Darwin’s works in their original editions. How absurd some of these were, but how magnificent the language! And if Browne’s classical magniloquence became too much at times, one could switch to the lapidary cut and thrust of Swift, all of whose works, of course, were there in their original editions."

Writes Oliver Sacks, in his memoir "On the Move: A Life," which I'm reading in Kindle form, and,  reading on my iPad, I can Google my way into things that jump out, like that rhinoceros. There's a whole Wikipedia article, "Dürer's Rhinoceros":
The image was based on a written description and brief sketch by an unknown artist of an Indian rhinoceros that had arrived in Lisbon earlier that year. Dürer never saw the actual rhinoceros, which was the first living example seen in Europe since Roman times... Dürer's... depicts an animal with hard plates that cover its body like sheets of armour, with a gorget at the throat, a solid-looking breastplate, and rivets along the seams. He places a small twisted horn on its back, and gives it scaly legs and saw-like rear quarters... Despite its anatomical inaccuracies, Dürer's woodcut became very popular in Europe and was copied many times in the following three centuries. It was regarded by Westerners as a true representation of a rhinoceros into the late 18th century.

I'm also fascinated by that word "incunabula," which the OED defines as "1. The earliest stages or first traces in the development of anything" and "2. Books produced in the infancy of the art of printing; spec. those printed before 1500." The literal original meaning is: swaddling-clothes.

"7 College Students Talk About Their Instagrams and the Pressure to Seem Happy."

In New York Magazine.

"New Law School Courses Explore Nietzsche, Guns and Bible."

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. It's the same-old-same-old from my point of view, but it might surprise you. Let me know if it does.

"Banking regulators just said no to a financial institution that aims to be the first to serve the expanding marijuana industry in Colorado."

"The Fourth Corner Credit Union in Denver applied in November to the Federal Reserve for a 'master account,' which would allow it to interact with other financial institutions and open its doors to some of the hundreds of state-licensed marijuana businesses in Colorado...."
The credit union, which has the backing of Colorado’s governor, fired back on Thursday night by filing a lawsuit in federal court in Denver against the Fed, demanding “equal access” to the financial system....

Many small-business owners in the state have had to improvise with safes, armored cars and other alternatives to banking. Colorado’s state government has said that the lack of access to banks is a public safety issue, as well as a deterrent in the state’s effort to collect taxes....

The consciousness of the world cannot contain 2 lions.

The Milwaukee lion melts into unreality.

Beijing gets the Olympics again.

This time it's the winter.

In the future, all the Olympics will be Beijing Olympics.

"Marxism in this country had even been an eccentric and quixotic passion."

"One oppressed class after another had seemed finally to miss the point. The have-nots, it turned out, aspired mainly to having. The minorities seemed to promise more, but finally disappointed: it developed that they actually cared about the issues, that they tended to see the integration of the luncheonette and the seat in the front of the bus as real goals, and only rarely as ploys, counters in a larger game. They resisted that essential inductive leap from the immediate reform to the social ideal, and, just as disappointingly, they failed to perceive their common cause with other minorities, continued to exhibit a self-interest disconcerting in the extreme to organizers steeped in the rhetoric of 'brotherhood.' And then, at that exact dispirited moment when there seemed no one at all willing to play the proletariat, along came the women's movement, and the invention of women as a 'class.'..."

Wrote Joan Didion, in "The Women's Movement," July 30, 1972.

July 30, 2015

At the Sunflower Café...


... you can talk about anything you want.

"Hillary has accomplished nothing substantial in her life. She’s been pushed along, coasting on her husband’s coattails..."

"... and every job she’s been given fizzled out into time-serving or overt disaster.  Hillary constantly strikes attitudes and claims she’s 'passionate' about this or that, but there’s never any sustained follow-through.  She’s just a classic, corporate exec or bureaucrat type who would prefer to be at her desk behind closed doors, imposing her power schemes on the proletariat.  She has no discernible political skills of any kind, which is why she needs a big, shifting army of consultants, advisors, and toadies to whisper in her ear and write her policy statements.  There’s this ridiculous new theme in the media about people needing to learn who the 'real' Hillary Clinton is.  What? Everything they’re saying about what a wonderful person Hillary is in private tells us that she’s not competent or credible as a public figure! A politician, particularly a president, must have a distinct skill or expertise in communicating with the masses... If you don’t have an effective public persona, if you’re not a good speaker, if you don’t like to press the flesh, if you’re not nimble enough to deal with anything that comes along, then you are not a natural politician!  And you sure aren’t going to learn it in your late 60s!  Get off the stage, and let someone else truly electable on!"

Said Camille Paglia.

"Are you saying that all this noise is about a dead lion? Lions are killed all the time in this country. What is so special about this one?"

Said Tryphina Kaseke, a used-clothes salesman in Zimbabwe.
"Why are the Americans more concerned than us?" said Joseph Mabuwa, a 33-year-old father-of-two cleaning his car in the center of the capital. "We never hear them speak out when villagers are killed by lions and elephants in Hwange."
Cecil the Celebrity Lion may only be a celebrity to Americans.

"So awesome how they put [William] in brackets before 'Shakespeare' so that we know they are talking about William Shakespeare and not Fred Shakespeare."

"Way to respect your audience NPR."

First comment on the same NPR interview with Woody Allen that's linked in the previous post. Woody, asked what he wants to "be remembered for," says he doesn't care, because when you're dead "You're extinct," and — as it's transcribed at the NPR site: "You and I could be standing over [William] Shakespeare's grave, singing his praises, and it doesn't mean a thing." The comment amused me. Sorry to do 2 posts on the same Woody Allen interview. I know you want me to talk about Hillary Clinton, Cecil the Lion, and fetal body parts. In fact, I am about to do a couple more posts, on 2 out of 3 of those topics. So hang on, and sorry in advance for those who are eager to get to the fetal body parts. That's not on the red-meat menu tonight.

"My problem is that I'm middle-class. If I was crazy I might be better."

"That probably accounts for my output. I lead a very sensible life: I get up in the morning, I work, I get the kids off to school, do the treadmill, play the clarinet, take a walk with my wife. It's usually the same walk every day. If I were crazy, it would help. If I shrieked on the set and demanded, it may be better, but I don't. I say, 'Good enough!' It's a middle-class quality, which does make for productivity."

Said Woody Allen.

ADDED: He's "never done any drugs whatsoever... I can barely bring myself to take two Extra Strength Excedrin... and I don't even have the curiosity."
People say all the time, "Aren't you curious?" But I'm not a curious person. I'm not curious to travel, but I do because my wife likes it. I'm not curious to see other places, I'm not curious to try new things. I go to the same restaurants all the time, and my wife is always saying, "Let's try something new!" I don't enjoy that. When Elaine's was open in New York, I ate every dinner, seven nights a week, for 10 [to] 12 years. 

Something Joan Didion wrote in 1977 struck me as explaining the disconnect between elite opinion and the public's acceptance of Donald Trump.

I've been listening to the audiobook of "The White Album" and this passage (from an essay about the Getty Museum) jumped out at me:
There is one of those peculiar social secrets at work here. On the whole ‘the critics’ distrust great wealth, but ‘the public’ does not. On the whole ‘the critics’ subscribe to the romantic view of man’s possibilities, but ‘the public’ does not. In the end the Getty stands above the Pacific Coast Highway as one of those odd monuments, a palpable contract between the very rich and the people who distrust them least.

"France is furious over Gisele Bundchen’s burqa disguise."

The NY Post reports:
“C’est ridicule!!!!” [wrote a commentator on the French-language gossip site Public]. “To be photographed in a burqa is ridiculous!!!! Especially since it is forbidden in France to wear it!!!!”....

“In the street it is illegal to wear the burqa! It therefore violated French law,” wrote another poster. “A cap and a scarf would have been less conspicuous.”...

“She’s not doing it for Islam. This is very bad,” complained Imam Muhammad Abdullah Kamal Al-Azhari of the Astoria Islamic Center in Queens. “She’s wearing a holy thing for a bad purpose.”...

"WE ARE CECIL," "#CatLivesMatter," "ROT IN HELL."

The hunter becomes the prey.

"The fathers were chosen to star in a Nikon ad earlier this year, where they told critics that 'you can't judge our normal.'"

"Kordale Lewis, 26, and Caleb Anthony, 27, from Atlanta, Georgia, became overnight sensations with the photo in January 2014 and have since starred in a powerful ad campaign for Nikon promoting acceptance," but now they're breaking off their engagement.
'I still love him,' Caleb admitted. 'But I love myself more.'

"The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture."

A Forbes headline. Excerpt:
Few organic consumers are aware that organic agriculture is a “trust-based” or “faith-based” system. With every purchase, they are at risk of the moral hazard that an organic farmer will represent cheaper-to-produce non-organic products as the premium-priced organic product. For the vast majority of products, no tests can distinguish organic from non-organic—for example, whether milk labeled “organic” came from a cow within the organic production system or from a cow across the fence from a conventional dairy farm. The higher the organic premium, the stronger the economic incentive to cheat.

Detroit, 1889.

(Wikipedia's featured picture of the day. Click picture to enlarge.)

JCPenney employee sent home for wearing shorts listed as "career wear" on JCPenney's website.

"I bought (the shorts) thinking they were pretty professional... They didn't show anything other than my legs, which I don't think is too provocative."
"JCPenney's dress code policy for store associates prohibits the wearing of shorts of any length," the company said in a statement. "This policy applies to both male and female associates."
To be fair, anything might be called "career wear." There are lots of different careers, and for some, shorts are the "career wear."

July 29, 2015

My favorite "daily scoop," mocha macchiato — on the Terrace, of course.


Meade had gone back out to Colorado.

He's back now, but this was one of his texts (from Eagle, Colorado, where we got married almost 6 years ago):

"So it’s okay to have socialism, but it can’t be international socialism, it has to be socialism in one nation."

"A sort of national socialism, I guess."

"I once lived in a hippie commune is Taos, New Mexico in 1972. Best time of my life. Peace, love, the sexual revolution..."

"... and lots of good weed, mushrooms and acid. It's shame the ethos did not last. By comparison, the world today totally sucks."

Top-rated comment at a HuffPo article titled "Haunting Nude Photos Bring 1970s Hippie Community Back To Life/From 1969 to 1977, Taylor Camp became a hippie's utopia on the island of Kauai."

"A bear has broken into a Colorado bakery and chomped his way through 38 pies, even taking two for the road."

"He devoured 24 cherry and 14 apple pies - but left strawberry-and-rhubarb pies completely untouched in Tuesday night's raid."

No one wants rhubarb pie.

"Tiger dragged the woman around three houses before emergency responders arrived."

Said the neighbor, Huge Montoya, who called 911.
"That was like a terror movie... The dog was pulling her body like it was a toy... It was so terrifying... I couldn’t believe her own dog would do those things to her. I need to remove that scene from my brain."
The dog only released its death grip on Katherine once a man driving by got out of his car and threw a guitar stand at him....
It's good to call 911, but maybe something other than watching and waiting for help to arrive would have left a better unremovable picture in the mind of Huge (is that really his name?) Montoya.

"I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt."

"I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt."

ADDED: This story of Walter James Palmer, the American dentist who killed Cecil the lion, got Meade playing the old Beatles song "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill." We got to puzzling over the facts of the song, but there's no need to puzzle. They're set out quite nicely at Wikipedia:
This song mocks the actions of a young American named Richard A. Cooke III, known as Rik, who was visiting his mother, Nancy Cooke de Herrera, at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh at the same time that the Beatles were staying with the Maharishi. According to his mother, both she and her son maintained friendly relations with all of the Beatles except for Lennon, who by Cooke de Herrera's account was "a genius" but distant and contemptuous of the wealthy American Cooke de Herrera and her clean-cut, college-attending son. According to Nancy's life account, Beyond Gurus, the genesis of the song occurred when she, Rik, and several others, including guides, set out upon elephants to hunt for a tiger (allegedly presented by their Indian guide as a traditional act). The pack of elephants was attacked by a tiger, which was shot by Rik. Rik was initially proud of his quick reaction and posed for a photograph with his prize. However, Rik's reaction to the slaying was mixed, as he has not hunted since. Nancy claims that all present recognised the necessity of Rik's action, but that Lennon's reaction was scornful and sarcastic, asking Rik: "But wouldn't you call that slightly life-destructive?" The song was written by Lennon as mocking what he saw as Rik's bravado and unenlightened attitude.

Lennon later told his version of the story in a Playboy interview, stating that: "‘Bungalow Bill’ was written about a guy in Maharishi's meditation camp who took a short break to go shoot a few poor tigers, and then came back to commune with God. There used to be a character called Jungle Jim, and I combined him with Buffalo Bill. It's sort of a teenage social-comment song and a bit of a joke." Mia Farrow, who was also at the ashram during the period, supports Lennon's story in her autobiography; she writes, "Then a self-important, middle-aged American woman arrived, moving a mountain of luggage into the brand-new private bungalow next to Maharishi's along with her son, a bland young man named Bill. People fled this newcomer, and no one was sorry when she left the ashram after a short time to go tiger hunting, unaware that their presence had inspired a new Beatles song – 'Bungalow Bill.'"
Imagine the contempt if Rik had been a dentist!

AND: Bungalow Bill has a blog, and you can see a photo of him with the tiger and listen to his reminiscing about the incident here.

"Fox News is opening its 5 p.m. debate to all the announced Republican candidates who fail to make the cut for the Aug. 6 prime-time event..."

"... removing a requirement that participants reach at least 1 percent in polling. The change amounts to an insurance policy for candidates who were in danger of being disqualified from the vital first debate based on low polls...."
The 9 p.m. debate will include the 10 candidates with the highest average in national polls, as determined by Fox News. The 5 p.m. forum will now include all the rest.

According to a POLITICO analysis of the latest national polling, the prime-time participants today would be Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rick Perry.

The next three, who would currently be relegated to 5 p.m., are Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. They are followed by Fiorina, Pataki and Graham....

July 28, 2015

Camille Paglia says "Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions" (in the course of comparing the Bills, Cosby and Clinton).

A Salon interview:
In most of these cases, like the Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby stories, there’s been a complete neglect of psychology. We’re in a period right now where nobody asks any questions about psychology. No one has any feeling for human motivation. No one talks about sexuality in terms of emotional needs and symbolism and the legacy of childhood. Sexuality has been politicized–“Don’t ask any questions!” “No discussion!” “Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!” And thus in this period of psychological blindness or inertness, our art has become dull. There’s nothing interesting being written–in fiction or plays or movies. Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions...

Young feminists need to understand that this abusive behavior by powerful men signifies their sense that female power is much bigger than they are! These two people, Clinton and Cosby, are emotionally infantile–they’re engaged in a war with female power. It has something to do with their early sense of being smothered by female power–and this pathetic, abusive and criminal behavior is the result of their sense of inadequacy....

We are formed by all kinds of strange or vague memories from childhood. That kind of understanding is needed to see that Cosby was involved in a symbiotic, push-pull thing with his wife, where he went out and did these awful things to assert his own independence. But for that, he required the women to be inert. He needed them to be dead! Cosby is actually a necrophiliac... to give a woman a drug, to make her inert, to make her dead is the man saying that I need her to be dead for me to function. She’s too powerful for me as a living woman. And this is what is also going on in those barbaric fraternity orgies, where women are sexually assaulted while lying unconscious. And women don’t understand this! They have no idea why any men would find it arousing to have sex with a young woman who’s passed out at a fraternity house. But it’s necrophilia–this fear and envy of a woman’s power.

And it’s the same thing with Bill Clinton: to find the answer, you have to look at his relationship to his flamboyant mother.  He felt smothered by her in some way...
Oh, for the old days, when we analyzed the minds of others and made up stories — Oedipus and all! It was so interesting. And it's so boring now. And these young girls today just don't understand. They don't know the joys of the intellectual life. It's so thin and dull dull dull today. We made up a lot of stuff back then. Sigmund Freud and the antics he unleashed. Now, you can't say a thing that the young people can hear and understand. You can't talk about what it meant when Hillary served Bill carrot sticks instead of onion rings. No one knows how to have deep fun with celebrities and their psyches anymore.

"If they come here to Louisiana, they try to disrupt this funeral, we're going to lock them up. We're going to arrest them."

"They shouldn't try that in Louisiana. We won't abide by that here. Let these families grieve. Let them celebrate their daughters, their children, their spouses, their loved ones' lives in peace. They better not try that nonsense here."

Said Bobby Jindal, on "Face the Nation," when the host asked him about the threat by the Westboro Baptist Church that it would use funeral service for those who died in the Lafayette theater shooting as a setting for another one of its incomprehensibly offensive protests.

I was struck by Jindal's complete avoidance of any reference to the free-speech rights of protesters (though his use of the phrase "disrupt this funeral" may represent his careful thinking about the scope of First Amendment rights).

Notably, the Westboro folks opted to stay out of Louisiana.

"After a painful scalp reduction surgery to remove a bald spot..."

When Donald raped Ivana, as told by The Daily Beast, relying on a book by a reporter named Harry Hurt III. The book, from 1993, relied on a deposition of Ivana in her divorce case against Trump.

At the time, Trump said: "It’s obviously false... It’s incorrect and done by a guy without much talent… He is a guy that is an unattractive guy who is a vindictive and jealous person." Now, there's this defense from Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization:
“You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse. It is true... You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”
That's a head-slappingly stupid thing to say. There was a time, long ago, when marriage was understood as inconsistent with the idea that one partner could rape the other. But New York, the place of the incident, had abandoned that notion by 1989, when whatever happened happened.

ADDED: Cohen walks it back:

"Yes means yes" policies and the notion of "the initiator."

I hadn't noticed this "initiator" concept before. Here's a NYT article — "Affirmative Consent: Are Students Really Asking?" — which gets to the topic of a drunken couple having sex or, as a University of Albany male student named Tyler Frahme is quoted: "You both get drunk and it gets heated and you get into it." The student — who is concerned that these policies "cast men in a predatory light" and are not "gender-neutral" — is questioned by the author (whose name is Sandy Keenan):
Can a really drunk person give consent?

“My answer to that is no,” he said. He was right. “Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated.”

Mr. Frahme posed a (not-so-hypothetical) scenario of his own: “You both get drunk and it gets heated and you get into it. If the next day she regrets it and formally complains, to me that’s just plain wrong.” The initiator, in fact, is responsible for securing consent, but because the other party is intoxicated, it may not be obtainable.
It's interesting that the author's statements do not appear in quotes, but the student's answers do. Did Keenan say "really drunk" or did she use Frahme's word "incapacitated"? If one person is fully incapacitated and sex takes place, we know who the actor is. If both are completely incapacitated, there is no activity. So a hypothetical is needed to get at the difficult case, and Frahme aptly steps up with a scenario in which both are drunk and both are active. He thinks it's wrong for her to complain under those circumstances.

I would want to develop the scenario with additional questions about who did and said what in this encounter, but without more, the student deserves the respect of taking the hypothetical as it was offered: 2 individuals, doing the same thing, getting drunk and having sex together, neither doing more nor less than the other during the sexual encounter, and the woman being the one to take the affirmative step of lodging a complaint.

The author does not give the student this respect. She doesn't play fair according to the standards of discussing a hypothetical. She says: "The initiator, in fact, is responsible for securing consent, but because the other party is intoxicated, it may not be obtainable."

The initiator! What initiator? There was no initiator in the hypothetical. It was a shared and utterly equal interaction as the student phrased it. The "other party is intoxicated"? Both were intoxicated. How did the woman become the victim and the man the aggressor? If the author wants that to be the hypothetical, she must take responsibility for changing the hypothetical. The leap she made, the leap the NYT editors accepted, was that the man was the man is "the initiator." And so we see that the student's apprehensions were warranted. He's right should be concerned that the policies are not gender-neutral and that men are cast as predators.

What mental sloppiness the author and the NYT editors display here! The word "initiator" glosses over the gender-specificity. The author — intentionally or blindly — imposed a sex stereotype on the gender-neutral hypothetical. The male is visualized as the active partner. Why? That's not the way Frahme put it. It's certainly not a necessary implication from the fact that the woman later opted to lodge a complaint.

What immediately follows in the article is this:
[Another student, Jill] Santiago, who knew all about the issue, having helped put together university-mandated training in sexual assault prevention for her sorority, jumped out of the interpretive rabbit hole, locked eyes with Mr. Frahme and said: “If guys realize they have to ask and get permission — and I’ve been asked before, it’s not that bad — this could wind up protecting everyone.”

It wasn’t such a mood kill, she said, when a partner paused and asked: “Do you want to do this. Is it O.K.?”

But Mr. Frahme wasn’t buying it — at least not yet.
First, I just have to say, I don't know what an "interpretive rabbit hole" is or what you do when you're down in it, but rabbits don't lie in wait and jump up when aggravated. They flee from confrontation. And they never, never, never lock eyes. They can't. Their eyes are on opposite sides of their head. That configuration works for the animal's strategy of staying alive through vigilance and flight.

But we're asked — through this confrontational rabbit nonsense — to view Santiago as equipped with greater knowledge and insight as she uses the gendered word "guys." Guys could proactively ask for permission as they proceed in a sexual encounter. It wouldn't be too much of what the author paraphrases as "mood kill" and it "could wind up protecting everyone."

But in the hypothetical both are drunk, both proceed gropingly/casually/whatever, and we don't know who said what to whom. So the purportedly superior mind of Santiago is, like the author's, failing to acknowledge the words of Frahme's hypothetical. When are we in the "interpretive rabbit hole" and when have we emerged?

Isn't it strange that the people who are saying use language — you can do it, just ask permission and elicit a response — are demonstrably incapable of hearing and understanding the language we can read in this article promoting the communication solution. They themselves are terrible communicators, leaping and distorting and inattentive to their own lapses. And yet they tell men that they will be able to protect themselves by saying the right things in the middle of an encounter, as if these words will be understood, remembered, correctly repeated to others, and interpreted accurately.

You'd be a fool to believe in that protection.

By the way, I'm only talking about a small part of a long article, the beginning. But I think you should know that this Frahme character is wheeled out again in the very end. We're told that, interviewed a month later, he says he's "been practicing consent almost religiously."
He now asks for consent once or twice during sexual encounters with women he knows well, and four or five times during more casual or first-time hookups.
He seems to have had sex with at least 4 women in a month's time. But what a good little man he's become in the author's world view.

Personally, I can't see why "practicing consent almost religiously" is much. Almost? So, in a month, you had at least one encounter where you did not get consent? Or does that mean he sometimes had sex with a "first-time hookups" and slipped to the women-he-knows-well standard of only checking in once or twice? In my world view, the greater question is whether any of this sex is good.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, current president of the Boy Scouts of America, had said last May that the ban on gay scout leaders "cannot be sustained."

Yesterday, acceding to social change, the Boy Scouts announced the end of the ban.

What does this mean for religious traditionalists?
[T]he new policy allows church-sponsored units to choose local unit leaders who share their precepts, even if that means restricting such positions to heterosexual men. Despite this compromise, the Mormon Church said it might leave the organization anyway....

“The church has always welcomed all boys to its scouting units regardless of sexual orientation,” the statement by the Mormon Church headquarters said. “However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”

The statement also suggested another reason the Mormons are considering withdrawing from the Boy Scouts: the possible creation of its own boys’ organization to serve its worldwide membership. “As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available,” the statement said.

"Jon Stewart's secret White House visits/Obama, aides took unusual steps to cultivate ‘Daily Show’ comic."

Reports Politico.
Top Obama aides David Axelrod and Austan Goolsbee knew Stewart’s voice mattered and made sure to field calls and emails from the host and Daily Show staff.... Goolsbee acknowledged he would stay in touch with The Daily Show staff: He emailed with his former Yale classmate and improv comedy partner Scott Bodow, who joined The Daily Show as a writer in 2002 and now is an executive producer.

That work-the-umps strategy also involved the president, who used his two Oval Office meetings with Stewart as a chance to sell the administration’s ideas. At the 2011 sit-down, Goolsbee said, the president wanted to counter his critics on the left and lay the groundwork for his 2012 re-election campaign.

“The White House itself was quite interested in at least explaining its side of the story to Jon Stewart,” Goolsbee said, “up to and including the president.”
Obama appeared on the show 7 times.

"I can’t say [young Scott Walker] was an angel. He was a little mischievous. He liked to talk. You could just see the gleam in his eye then that you see now."

Said Walker's 3rd grade teacher, quoted in "Scott Walker's Iowa."
There is no question that Walker is the Republican to beat in Iowa: He is practically a local.... It might sound trivial, but in Iowa politics, feeling comfortable with a candidate is paramount. Walker “talks like we do,” [said Matt Strawn, a former Iowa Republican Party chairman]. “He drinks the same beers we do. The most important thing to be successful in caucuses is, you need to be accessible and authentic,” Strawn added. “The last few caucus winners have been people Iowans found relatable.”

July 27, 2015

Is the fact that Trump's official website has no "issues page" evidence that he's not a serious candidate?

That's an argument made here.

As far as I can tell, Jeb Bush's website "contains no issues page."

And Scott Walker's website also "contains no issues page."...

The websites of Trump and Bush and Walker all look like they could have been designed by the same person. They all have a bio of the candidate with vague references to their political ideologies but no concrete plans. Those websites all feature "news" stories and social-media links instead of "issue" statements. So are the three Republican candidates who've been doing the best in the polls all unserious about vying for the presidency?

I can think of two better explanations. Either (a) they plan to add an "issues" section later in the campaign, after their positions have had more time to jell, or (b) they've decided that a continually updated "news" format is a more dynamic, effective way to engage potential supporters than a static list of policy statements....
I'm perfectly amenable to the argument that Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. But I'm interested in why anyone gets the safe harbor of being considered "serious." Does everyone who's ever gotten elected governor or senator deserve a presumption of seriousness as a presidential candidate? And what do we think we are doing when we attribute "seriousness" to a person? What is seriousness anyway? I'm asking because I think we need to be careful about getting conned by seriousness. It's easier and safer, I think, to go with our instincts rejecting people who seem to us to lack seriousness. The greater risk is that we'll instinctively and without good enough reason hand power to someone who has somehow caused us to class him (or her) as serious.

"Dying for Christianity: millions at risk amid rise in persecution across the globe."

A long article in The Guardian. Excerpt:
According to David Alton, a crossbench peer who campaigns on religious freedom, “some assessments claim that as many as 200 million Christians in over 60 countries around the world face some degree of restriction, discrimination or outright persecution”. That is about one in 10 of the 2.2 billion Christians in the world....

“Whatever the real figures the scale is enormous. From Syria, Iraq, Iran and Egypt to North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos, from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, from Cuba, Colombia and Mexico to Eritrea, Nigeria and Sudan, Christians face serious violations of religious freedom,” Alton said. Persecution ranged from murder, rape and torture to repressive laws, discrimination and social exclusion....

"New York magazine published this week’s cover on Sunday featuring 35 women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault."

"All 35 women were interviewed separately over the past six months for the explosive photo essay, which provides comprehensive accounts of their trauma and signals a shift in public perception of Cosby’s accusers...."

Sounds like quite the coup for New York Magazine, but I've been trying since last night to click through to the NY website and it's not available. So it's not getting traffic from me. I'll just have to move on and accept that the 35 women each served up quotes similar to the one that's quoted at the link (which goes to The Daily Beast):
"I think his legacy is going to be similar to OJ’s legacy,” said Joan Tarshis, one of Cosby’s accusers. “When you hear OJ Simpson’s name, you don’t think: ‘Oh, great football player.’ That doesn’t come to mind first. I’m thinking it’s not going to be: ‘Oh, great comedian.’ It’s going to be, ‘Oh, serial rapist.’ And that will be our legacy."
UPDATE: "Anti-NYC hacker takes New York Magazine offline."
A self-described hacker called ThreatKing, who says he hates New York City, claims he has successfully overwhelmed the site with a distributed denial-of-service attack, overloading its servers with traffic.... But it's not an attempt to silence the 35 women who have come forth to describe their alleged assault, nor the magazine that pieced their story together, ThreatKing said. Instead, he claimed, this stems entirely from his dislike of New York City, which he extends to magazines that share its name. ...

“I went to new York 2 months ago. It was really bad,” ThreatKing said. “Someone pranked me. Everyone started laughing and shit. The first 10 hours being there. Some African-American tried to prank me with a fake hand gun.”

"Most actors want to get their name in the paper. They like all that attention. I very often am struck with the illusion of success."

"Sometimes it's difficult when you meet people, because you see that they've prejudged you. Not to be treated normally. To have people staring at you, like an animal in the zoo. What it does is remove you from reality."

Said Marlon Brando.

"Tragedy of ‘golden’ daughter’s fall resonates with Asian immigrant children."

A WaPo headline. A family murder story is packaged as revelatory about "Asians." I wonder why this kind of crude stereotyping is considered acceptable in the mainstream press.
[Reporter Karen] Ho said the expectations placed on many Asian American children “have a huge long-term impact on your ability to withstand failure.” She added, “You just grow up chronically afraid. This buildup of lies is because Jennifer felt like the alternative was just unfathomable.”

“The more I learned about Jennifer’s strict upbringing,” Ho wrote, “the more I could relate to her. I grew up with immigrant parents who also came to Canada from Asia (in their case Hong Kong) with almost nothing, and a father who demanded a lot from me. My dad expected me to be at the top of my class, especially in math and science, to always be obedient, and to be exemplary in every other way. He wanted a child who was like a trophy — something he could brag about.”

July 26, 2015

Michael Lutz — a conspicuous critic of the John Doe investigation — dies by apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Here's my post from last October about Lutz:
I'm not surprised that [John Doe prosecutor John] Chisholm declines to answer [Stuart] Taylor's long list of questions, even though Chisholm did speak up in response to Taylor's original attack and seemingly went to some trouble in an effort to to impugn Michael Lutz. Lutz was Taylor's unnamed source for the article that depicted the prosecutor and his office as highly politicized and openly antagonistic to Governor Scott Walker.

The questions standing alone go a long way toward rehabilitating Lutz after the attack on his credibility and they also work to restate and emphasize Lutz's original charges against Chisholm. Taylor observes that Chisholm has generally denied that he had a political agenda, but that he doesn't seem to have denied the specific allegations that Lutz had made. This corresponds to what I wrote when I saw Chisholm's response:
Reading [Taylor's original attack and Chisholm's response], I'm thinking that Taylor raised suspicions that Chisholm and his lawyers and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have not adequately refuted. I want to see a specific statement from Chisholm that goes into the details, something more than expressions of outrage and denials that could be based on Chisholm's belief that he compartmentalized his prosecutorial decisionmaking and his personal political beliefs and husbandly tenderness.

Were there blue fist signs in the office and other expressions of support for unions and antagonism to Walker? What was the extent of participation in the protests? Did Chisholm speak openly about his wife's feelings in the context of the case? Taylor's article created a strong motivation to respond on that level, and neither Chisholm nor his lawyer provided that response.
So I'm pleased to see Taylor taking this approach — with far more detailed questions —and I'll reprint Taylor's questions below:
1. In a September 12 article by Dan Bice, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that Mr. Leib “said Thursday that Lutz had left a message threatening to kill Chisholm and his family in the past year. He did not provide audio of the voice mail.” Was this an accurate and complete report of what Mr. Leib said to Mr. Bice, and of what Mr. Chisholm told Mr. Leib?

2. Mr. Lutz has said in response that while he may have used harsh or even inflammatory words, he never said anything that he intended or that Mr. Chisholm interpreted to be a threat to harm anyone. Does Mr. Chisholm challenge this statement by Mr. Lutz?

3. If Mr. Chisholm does challenge it, how does he explain his failure either to prosecute Mr. Lutz or to report him to appropriate authorities for making a death threat, which would have been a crime?

4. And what, if any, steps did Mr. Chisholm take to protect himself and his family from Mr. Lutz? Armed guards? Moving his family to a safe location? Having Mr. Lutz tailed? Anything at all?

5. Mr. Lutz has explained the alleged death threat roughly as follows: He feared on the basis of one or more phone conversations that his best friend and former police partner, Jon Osowski (also the brother of Mr. Chisholm’s wife) was in trouble, and perhaps suicidal, so that he (Mr. Lutz) requested help in urgent phone calls to the Chisholms, expressing increasing and agitated concern, and possibly saying something that might be twisted out of context as threatening. Finally, Mr. Lutz has said, says, Mr. or Mrs. Chisholm or both went out into the night to help Mr. Osowski. Does Mr. Chisholm deny the accuracy of this account?

6. Mr. Lutz has also said that Mr. Chisholm has played the recording for him and that the two of them “laughed about” the episode the next day. Does Mr. Chisholm deny this?

7. In light of the evidence that is now available, will Mr. Chisholm or Mr. Leib or both retract and apologize for accusing Mr. Lutz of making a death threat?

8. If not, will you repeat that you believe that Mr. Lutz made a genuine death threat, and thereby show that you are not concerned about possible liability for libeling Mr. Lutz?
That ends the set of questions about the "death threat," so the numbering goes back to 1:
1. As far as I know, neither Mr. Chisholm nor anyone else has ever suggested a motive for Mr. Lutz to lie about Mr. Chisholm. Do you maintain that he had a motive to lie and, if so, what was it?

2. Mr. Lutz has said that his motive for making allegations of bias against Mr. Chisholm was and is that “I don’t like what he has done in regard to political speech that he disagrees with.” I am not aware that anyone has challenged the truthfulness of this statement. Do you challenge it?

3. Mr. Lutz has said that at least before this September, he had been friends with John and Colleen Chisholm for more than a decade. Do you deny that?

4. He has added that has visited the Chisholms’ home several times and gone to dinners, after-work functions, and other outings with one or both of them over the years. Do you deny that?

5. He has also added that he gave $200 in August for a Chisholm campaign fundraiser. Do you deny that?

6. When Mr. Lutz went into private practice, Mr. Chisholm wrote a memo (of which I have a copy) to him dated July 27, 2011, saying that his service “has been exemplary,” that his “dedication and hard work … have proved to be invaluable,” and that “I am extremely grateful for the service you provided.” Do you deny that?

7. In a previous letter of recommendation (of which I have a copy), in November 2007, Mr. Chisholm wrote that Mr. Lutz had been “one of the best investigators in the Milwaukee police department” and had “removed some of the most dangerous offenders from the streets of Milwaukee” while combining “a remarkable memory with unceasing hard work and courage.” Do you deny that?

8. Mr. Lutz has said that in late 2010 or early 2011, he heard Mr. Chisholm and others in the DA’s office express anger at the newly elected Scott Walker, who Mr. Chisholm said had backed away from an agreement to support statewide stepped pay raises for DA’s and their assistants. Do you deny that?

9. Mr. Lutz has added that Mr. Chisholm complained that Mr. Walker had “lied to my face” about stepped raises. Do you deny saying anything like that?

10. Mr. Lutz said the following in a May 20, 2012 email to an unidentified person, a copy of which he gave me, while saying that it accurately described a conversation he had with Mr. Chisholm in or about March 2011: When “I was a Special Prosecutor in the DA’s office and [Wisconsin Supreme Court] Justice [David] Prosser approached me to do a [pre-election] video spot about how the decision authored by him about the guy who shot me was a very important ruling for Police officers in general, DA Chisholm … stated that he couldn’t allow me to do it and he wants to stay as far away from these Republicans as he can.” Do you deny saying anything like that?

11. In the same email, Mr. Lutz added that Mr. Chisholm “went on to say how he knows that Act 10 would eventually end up in the [Wisconsin] Supreme Court and didn’t want Prosser to decide on the case.” Do you deny saying anything like that?

12. Also in the same email, Mr. Lutz added that roughly eight months after this conversation, Mr. Chisholm’s “liberal block of DA’s, 80% of them, are actively campaigning, emailing, and even verbally bashing Walker at charging conferences.” Do you deny that?

13. Mr. Lutz has said that Mr. Chisholm told him that his wife, Colleen, a teacher’s union shop steward, had been repeatedly moved to tears by Gov. Walker’s policies regarding public employee unions. Do you deny saying anything like that?

14. Mr. Lutz has said that Mr. Chisholm told him that his wife “frequently cried when discussing the topic of the union disbanding and the effect it would have on the people involved.” Do you deny saying anything like that?

15. Mr. Lutz has said that Mr. Chisholm told him that he felt that it was his “personal duty” to stop Gov. Walker from curbing public employee unions. Do you deny that?

16. Mr. Lutz has said that Mr. Chisholm told him that his wife had joined public demonstrations by one or more unions against Walker’s policies in 2011. Do you deny saying anything like that?

17. Mr. Lutz has said that Mr. Chisholm made most or all of the statements numbered 10 through 16 above while the two of them (and perhaps one or more others) were speaking in Mr. Chisholm’s personal office in or about March 2011. Do you deny that?

18. Mr. Lutz has said that in the first half of 2011 (roughly), many of Mr. Chisholm’s subordinates were very strongly opposed to Walker and his union-curbing policies. Do you deny that?

19. Mr. Lutz has said that a number of subordinates of Mr. Chisholm joined public protests in 2011 against Walker’s policies. Do you deny that?

20. Mr. Lutz has said that some Chisholm subordinates hung images of blue fists on their office walls in 2011. Do you deny that?

21. I believe that Gov. Walker’s Act 10 and perhaps related legislation or policies caused cuts in take-home pay for Mr. Chisholm and his subordinates, as for other unionized public employees, in part by requiring them to pay for previously free or inexpensive health insurance, pensions, and perhaps other benefits. Do you deny that?

22. The cuts in take-home pay for Mr. Chisholm and/or some of his subordinates were roughly 10 percent or more. Do you deny that?

23. One or more of Mr. Chisholm’s subordinates will be entitled under current law to a pension in excess of $1 million each. Do you deny that?

24. Mr. Lutz told me that Mr. Chisholm told him that as a result of Act 10, Colleen Chisholm’s union local disbanded and that she was very upset about this and the effect it would have on members and former members. Do you deny that?

25. The impact of Mr. Walker’s polices on the Chisholms’ finances also included whatever pay Mrs. Chisholm had previously received from her union. Do you deny that?

26. I have reason to believe that Mrs. Chisholm had been receiving more than $20,000 a year in gross compensation from the union. Do you deny that?

27. I have been told that after I published some of Mr. Lutz’s allegations without identifying him, the DA’s office developed a list of people who might be my source. Do you deny that?

28. I have also been told that there were as many as 10 or 12 people on that list. Do you deny that?

29. I have also been told that Mr. Lutz was not on that initial list. Do you deny that?

"The Milwaukee lion saga continued Sunday morning as the 'lion-like' creature apparently slipped through a police dragnet on the north side."

"Police saw the animal in a ravine near N. 31st and W. Cameron Ave. as late as 7:15 Sunday morning but by 9:30 they said they had searched the entire four-block containment area and had come up empty...."
Herbert Ball said he did see the lion last night while looking outside from his home at 31st Street and W. Cameron Ave. Ball said he saw the animal walking down the hill into the ravine and called the police just after 7 p.m. "It was big," Ball said. "I just saw heavy brown fur and a long tail." He said his neighbor saw the lion sitting beneath a bridge on W. Cameron Ave....

"We are not prepared to be beating the bush for a lion in the dark," [Deputy Inspector Steve Basting] said Saturday night....

Ronnika Bynum, who lives in the area, said she talked to a man near N. 32nd St. He told her he saw two lions. "He said it looked like a mother and baby," Bynum said. She said she's not worried. "I'm excited.," Bynum said. "I love lions. You don't get to see stuff like this in Milwaukee."

"Imagine not knowing that the sun is a star, or that there’s a solar system."

"Imagine not knowing what a human cell is, or what menstruation is, or, until you’re 18 and three weeks away from your arranged marriage, what sex is and how it works. Imagine never asking for a puppy growing up, because dogs bark, and that means they are beasts and demons. Imagine you have been told for your entire life that in the secular world, people mainly rape, pillage and murder, that it’s all a lawless meaningless free-for-all, and you are safe only in your little enclave, where these things do not happen."

"Man arrested in N.J. after he enters home and lives under bed in spare bedroom for 3 days."

"He used to date my daughter five years ago... It didn’t end well…He didn’t say why he came back."
[Jason] Hubbard allegedly entered the home through an open door on May 7 when one of the occupants was taking out the garbage, police said. Hubbard apparently remained under the bed in the spare bedroom until May 10 when a homeowner heard a noise in the spare bedroom. Upon looking under the bed, the homeowner discovered Hubbard and “immediately called police.”...

“I don’t think he was eating,” Adamcewicz told WABC 7. “I think he just had water under the bed.”

"Neal Falls showed up at the woman’s home on July 18 after answering an escort ad... He showed up with a 'kill list,' multiple pairs of handcuffs..."

"... and a Subaru full of weapons and tools, including a shovel, knives, a bulletproof vest, a machete, bleach, trash bags, sledgehammers and axes....  In Falls’s pocket, police said, was a list of names of potential future victims, all of whom are sex workers who advertised.... Now investigators are trying to determine whether Falls, 45, was responsible for a string of slayings targeting sex workers in Ohio and Nevada, the station reported....  From the moment Falls showed up at the home of his latest alleged victim, a sex worker, he turned violent... 'I knew he was there to kill me,' she said. 'I could tell that he had already done something because he said that he was going to prison for a long time. And that’s when I knew he was gonna kill me.... When he strangled me he just wouldn’t let me get any air... I grabbed my rake and when he laid the gun down to get the rake out of my hands, I shot him. I just grabbed the gun and shot behind me.'"

From "Woman who shot alleged attacker may have slain a serial killer, police say."

He has a gun and he's already strangling you, and you beat him with a rake.

"I hear the only person beating me in Iowa is Scott Walker. I can’t believe I’m in second place. Folks, will you please put me in first place so I feel better?"

Said Donald Trump, as if he were running for President simply for the feelings that swell within him. Trump is attacking Walker now. He's saying that Wisconsin is "in turmoil" and "a disaster." To be fair, Trump is lashing out after Walker's campaign sent out an email that said Trump's other name was "DumbDumb" (which really is lame — name calling? I thought Walker was above that).
Trump told the crowd Saturday that he had helped Walker win his race because he admired the candidate’s “fight,” but didn’t know what he was fighting for. “I’ve been very nice to him,” he said.

But after Walker’s fundraising email went public, Trump declared: “I can finally attack.”
So you see the message here: Don't attack Trump or he will target you. It would be foolish to stand down because of that threat, but it's also foolish to attack Trump in Trumpish terms (like calling him "DumbDumb").
“A guy like Bush, a guy like Walker, are controlled by the people who give them money,” Trump said. “They will be bombarded by their lobbyists who donated a lot.... The other guys running, the Republicans — they protect each other," Trump said early in his speech. “Me, I don't care.”
That's the position from which Trump plays. The others need a good response, not lame repetitions of the the smug assurance that Trump is ridiculous. Not that he isn't. He is!