August 8, 2015

This morning at Pope Farm Conservancy.


Details on "Sunflower Days" here.

"Foes of shorts — you may know the type of man who, despite the risk of developing heat rash and a reputation as a crank, opposes the things on principle..."

"... argue that the childishness denoted by their brevity cannot be overcome. The detractors contend that shorts are categorically unattractive on grown men, that even when they look good they seem callow. I need to guess that on some level, a significant subset of shorts-­wearers agree, given the persistence of cargo shorts. The pockets of cargo shorts, though ideally practical for a roofer or a gaffer on the job, make rather less sense as the omnipresent ornaments of weekend-­wear that they are, unless you regard them as a kind of ballast to balance puerility. Those pockets aren’t empty; they’re full of the idea of rugged work. To butch up the look in full, a fellow does not settle for the basic khaki coloring of old colonial campaigns but instead pursues a camouflage print. This is a standard streetwise look — camo cargos, T-shirt, a pair of Nikes bearing the soaring silhouette of Michael Jordan. Not for nothing, ­Jordan’s early ’90s taste in long basketball shorts is credited with steering us away from skimpiness and toward hems that swagger below the kneecaps, swishing like zoot suits."

One paragraph from a NYT Magazine essay by Troy Patterson about men in shorts titled "He’s Got Legs."

"Mr. Trump fired [his top political adviser] Roger Stone last night."

"We have a tremendously successful campaign and Roger wanted to use the campaign for his own personal publicity. He has had a number of articles about him recently and Mr. Trump wants to keep the focus of the campaign on how to Make America Great Again."

CNN quotes the Donald Trump campaign, then gives us this from Stone, who says he wasn't fired, he quit:
"Unfortunately, the current controversies involving personalities and provocative media fights have reached such a high volume that it has distracted attention from your platform and overwhelmed your core message. With this current direction of the candidacy, I no longer can remain involved in your campaign... I care about you as a friend and wish you well. Be assured I will continue to be vocal and active in the national debate to ensure our nation does not again turn to the failed and distrusted Bush/Clinton families."
So "Roger wanted to use the campaign for his own personal publicity," that's the kick in the ass the campaign wants to give to a man who sought a somewhat graceful exit? Well, then, give it to us Roger. Use your moment in the sun and dish the dirt on Donald.

Or... perhaps one of the better candidates is reaching out for Stone.  There are so many candidates, and perhaps Stone is good enough to feel the demand. I don't remember his name, but I see he's been around a while. Here's a Politico article from just before the debate: "Donald Trump’s debate ‘dirty trickster’/Roger Stone is just one of many behind-the-scenes figures to influence the GOP debate." That does have a whiff of Roger-is-using-the-campaign-for-his-own-personal-publicity about it.
Whether game-changing moments emerge on camera and how they play online will depend on a cast of lesser-known characters who have shaped the rules of the forum, worked to influence what the moderators and debaters say on stage, prepped the candidates and have their finger on the button of the social media conversation.
Stone is perhaps the most important of them. He got his start in big-time politics as a college student on Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President, and he publicly embraces his image as a dirty trickster, including cooperating with a 2008 New Yorker profile by Jeffrey Toobin titled, “the Dirty Trickster.”

In the profile, Trump calls his once and future adviser a “stone-cold loser” and suggests Eliot Spitzer should have sued Stone for a stunt in which the operative allegedly called Spitzer’s aged father, claimed the elder Spitzer was being investigated for loans made to his son’s political campaigns, and threatened him with arrest if he refused to cooperate with an imaginary subpoena. He has a tattoo of Nixon’s face on his back.


"Lena thought NOHO was BORO. Then hypothesized that BO RO might stand for something. Boston Rosewater."

"Lena says it sounds like a sex act. Or when you use Guinness as perfume. 'Splash a little rosewater on your neck.' Me: 'Why would you put Guinness on your neck?' Brayden: 'Have you *been* to Boston?' Lena: 'Shhh. Boston can hear you?' Now she's calling John Mellencamp 'John Menstrual Cramp.'Also Lena is an ex-bartender and is distressed never to have had a Brompton cocktail, even after finding out what's in it (it's not something you'd consume for pleasure ... probably)..."

From Rex Parker's write-up of today's NYT Crossword puzzle, which he's doing in a "Madison Avenue Starbucks that [his] companion Lena called 'the saddest Starbucks ever.'" "NOHO" was the answer for "Big Apple neighborhood," and  "Ingredient in a Brompton cocktail" was the clue for "cocaine."

I was reading that on my iPad but I jumped up to write this on my iMac after I clicked on that link at "it's not something you'd consume for pleasure ... probably. " Oh, my! I did the puzzle last night before conking out and I got "cocaine," which was 2 Down, after seeing some of the Acrosses. It's only just now that I'm learning that a Brompton cocktail is not a recreational drink:
Brompton cocktail... is an elixir... [m]ade from morphine or diacetylmorphine (heroin), cocaine, highly-pure ethyl alcohol (some recipes specify gin), and sometimes with chlorpromazine (Thorazine) to counteract nausea, it was given to terminally-ill individuals (especially cancer patients) to relieve pain and promote sociability near death....

The original idea for an oral mixture of morphine and cocaine helping patients in agony with advanced disease is credited to surgeon Herbert Snow in 1896.

The Brompton cocktail is named after the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, England, where it was invented in the late 1920s for patients with tuberculosis. While its use has been rare in the 21st century, it is not entirely unheard of today.
To promote sociability near death....

At the Sunflower Café...



... you don't have to look at the bright side.

Mystery photo of the day.


It's not a slide. Note the pointed wedge at the bottom. Clue (from a nearby sign):

"It would have been way too uncomfortable to worry about a tampon for 26.2 miles."

"I thought, if there’s one person society won’t fuck with, it’s a marathon runner. If there’s one way to transcend oppression, it’s to run a marathon in whatever way you want. On the marathon course, sexism can be beaten. Where the stigma of a woman’s period is irrelevant, and we can re-write the rules as we choose. Where a woman’s comfort supersedes that of the observer. I ran with blood dripping down my legs for sisters who don’t have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn’t exist. I ran to say, it does exist, and we overcome it every day. The marathon was radical and absurd and bloody in ways I couldn’t have imagined until the day of the race."

Kudos to Kiran Gandhi.

That happened back in April, but I'm seeing it this morning because of a commenter on the post about Donald Trump going — as I put itmenstrual on Megyn Kelly.

ADDED: A couple commenters recommend a product called "sport tampons," which I'd never heard of, presumably rebranding of the extra-large "super" tampons. I found Playtex Sport Tampons at Amazon. I see that they are super absorbency tampons, which means that they absorb 9-12 grams of fluid. Is that enough to get you through a 26.2-mile run? Whether it is or not, I'm noticing the warning from the manufacturer that you should "Select the minimum absorbency needed to control your menstrual flow in order to reduce the risk of getting TSS." Toxic Shock Syndrome can kill you, and "scientific studies which have concluded that higher absorbency tampons increase the risk of TSS."

Here's the story of a 27-year-old model named Lauren Wasser, who nearly died from TSS and ended up with one leg amputated. She went to bed feeling sick, as if she had the flu and was later discovered "facedown on the bedroom floor with a fever of 107 degrees."
Lauren said that she does not remember being put into a medically induced coma, or friends coming in to pay their last respects. She does remember waking up with 80 pounds of fluids being pumped into her, and black toxins pumping out. Her mother was advised to prepare for Lauren's funeral. 
She's suing, and she's also back to modeling and says: "I'm more beautiful than I've ever been because I've experienced so many things. I can relate to so many different people. It's just made me a better person."

How a fairly normal-looking woman would look styled in the manner of various distinctive fashion/makeup photoshoots.

Nathalie Croquet does a great job with this, not overdoing critique of the fashion and beauty industry. She says "I feel people need a more spiritual approach to life, and good fun. I’m happy to give them that, even if I’m just making fun of myself."

She's French, by the way.

I like that she finds the good and the ridiculous in the different looks. It's clear that some commercial approaches to beauty and fashion can be adapted and used to good effect by a "normal" woman walking around in the real word (Lancome, Voltaire, Eric Bompard, Paule Ka, Givenchy) and some things only work on a model who is posed and lit in a fantasy setting (Etam, Acne Studios). Of course, it's always funny to copy the poses and expressions of models. I feel that I've seen that many times, but this is a nice example of that genre of comedy.

Trump says Megyn Kelly had "blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever."

He went menstrual on her.

"A Michigan lawmaker had an email sent to his Republican supporters falsely claiming he had been caught having sex with a male prostitute..."

"... apparently believing such a smear campaign would help distract attention from an alleged extramarital affair between him and another lawmaker...."
The Detroit News... obtained two recordings secretly made in May by a former aide of state Rep. Todd Courser, a tea party-backed social conservative from Lapeer. In the recordings, Courser asks the aide, Ben Graham, to email Republican activists and operatives from an anonymous account to create "a complete smear campaign" about him....

Young people lack a sense of humor... and it's the professors' fault.

According to Caitlin Flanagan, talking to Bill Maher about her new piece in The Atlantic, "That’s Not Funny!/Today’s college students can’t seem to take a joke."

This is a very old topic really. The only thing that seemed new is the long, inside look at the annual convention of the National Association for Campus Activities, through which many entertainers get hired and which doesn't work as a channel into paid employment for comedians who seem at all politically incorrect. For example, one comedian got laughs with the idea of a "sassy black friend":
But afterward, two white students from an Iowa college shook their heads: no. He was “perpetuating stereotypes,” one of them said, firmly. “We’re a very forward-thinking school,” she told me. “That thing about the ‘sassy black friend’? That wouldn’t work for us.” Many others, apparently, felt the same way: Yee ended up with 18 bookings—a respectable showing, but hardly a reflection of the excitement in the room when he performed.
I don't know why anyone would expect something as bureaucratic as the National Association for Campus Activities to bring anything edgy and transgressive into town.  That doesn't mean students don't know find transgressive things funny, just that they're staying out of trouble. And why court trouble over "sassy black friend" — which is just an old stereotype, eliciting an easy laugh? It's not the Lenny Bruce line of comedy that really challenges people! It's comfortable, careless, and silly.

Would Lenny Bruce seek approval and income through the National Association for Campus Activities? No. He wouldn't even try. And that's not because the students wouldn't find him funny. They would. And so would the professors. But he'd have to find a different path to reach them, and he wouldn't whine about that! He'd want to be rejected by the bureaucratic filters of the National Association for Campus Activities. I think. I don't know. He's dead. I'm just using his rotting corpse in a manner he's in no position to refute.

Flanagan says:
If your goal were simply to bring great comics to a college campus, it would be easily accomplished. You would gather the school’s comedy nerds, give them a budget, and tell them to book the best acts they could afford.
Who's the "you" here? The university administration? That's all so wrong-headed, handing $$$ to students who somehow could be identified as the "comedy nerds" and letting them choose "the best."

If you wanted to bring great comedy to college students, you'd open a comedy club near campus and operate entirely independently and beholden to nobody.

ADDED: Previously on this blog: "Why did Caitlin Flanagan write such a poorly supported article on fraternities and rape?"
And why did the Wall Street Journal publish it? Was there a whole lot more material in the original article, which was then edited down to make Flanagan look utterly ridiculous? 
It begins with the description of one horrible crime. It ends with Flanagan describing her own fear of men. It's lurid and emotional to tell us about one woman's victimization and another woman's feelings, but where's the support for Flanagan's proposition that fraternities should be shut so that women can achieve equality on campus?...

August 7, 2015

Meade texts from the backyard at dusk just now.


"Why ‘I Am Cait’ is an unwatchable mess."

David Kaufman in The New York Post:
Unlike the conventional Kardashian franchises, “I Am Cait” is delivered as TV with a message: Caitlyn Jenner’s transition is valid, her activism vital and her future very much a work-in-progress...
Gone are the wife, the dad pants and the gaggle of kids, replaced by... [a] boring chief protagonist whose minority status does not a personality make. Indeed, throughout the Kardashian television canon, no character was . . . well . . . duller than Bruce Jenner. He was a good husband, great dad and enviable golf player (and, of course, Olympic deity). But a scintillating on-air presence? Meh — not so much. Bruce worked well as a background presence; Caitlyn, however, struggles to carry a scene.

Ultimately, Jenner suffers from an acute sense of ho-humness that no amount of makeup, surgery or Vanity Fair covers can erase. As Cait, she may now be the most visible member of America’s most-talked-about minority group. But no matter how hard she tries, Cait simply can’t undo Bruce’s decades of boring white-dudeness.
Why not just come out as boring? Boringness is also an orientation. It's valid. It's not much of a TV show, but it's something many people are ashamed of and struggle to hide. Why does Kaufman imagine that a boring man would become interesting by taking on the various outward and inward trappings of womanhood?! Women are quite often boring. Theoretically, perhaps, Jenner was boring because Jenner was hiding Jenner's true self. But I watched enough of "I Am Cait" to form a permanent working assumption that Jenner really is boring. And being a woman, like being a man, is boring.
With her hilltop mansions and forest hideaways and endless SUVs, Cait just can’t cut it as the trans community’s activist-in-chief. Instead of preaching — albeit nobly — about how she and her sisters seek to live, Cait should simply just live. And not as an officially sanctioned trans person, but simply as a person.
A boring person?

Jurors reject the death penalty for James Holmes.

"Only one juror needed to dissent for the sentence to be life in prison."
Prosecutors, emphasizing the human toll and indiscriminate cruelty of opening fire on a happy crowd of moviegoers... argued that toll he exacted was so great, and the indiscriminate rampage so horrible, that death by lethal injection was the only just punishment.

But defense lawyers said it was not hatred or a desire for notoriety that propelled Mr. Holmes to plot and carry out the massacre, but a deepening form of schizophrenia that infected his mind with powerful delusions that killing people somehow increased his “human capital.”...
Would you have voted for the death penalty? I would not.

Would you have voted for the death penalty for Holmes? free polls

ADDED: I've fixed the headline, which originally said "John Holmes," instead of "James Holmes," prompting Laslo Spatula to say "So we expect the death penalty if you have a famously long cock?" And Xmas said: "James! John Holmes has already been hung."

ALSO: Some commenters perceive a flaw in the poll, so here's a second poll, designed to eliminate that flaw:

Would you have voted for the death penalty for Holmes? free polls

AND: Poll results:

What happened when Megyn Kelly asked the candidates "if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first."

At last night's debate, the last question (before the closing statements) was about religion, and it was a rather odd question, not something the moderators would have allowed themselves to ask. But Facebook was used to collect questions, and that made it possible to reach predictable topics from a strange angle. So, for religion, Megyn Kelly was able to use: "I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first." She kicked it to Ted Cruz with a snarky "Senator Cruz, start from you. Any word from God?"

Cruz thought fast and said: "Well, I am blessed to receive a word from God every day in receiving the scriptures and reading the scriptures. And God speaks through the Bible." Perfect. But he had a whole minute to talk, so he proceeded to talk about his rough childhood and his consistent conservatism, tying both to religion. The drunken dad "gave his heart to Jesus." And "the scripture tells us, 'you shall know them by their fruit,'" so don't just listen to who says he's conservative. Ted Cruz has the conservative fruit to show you.

Kelly threw it to Governor Kasich. What do you think? Has God told Kasich what to do? Kasich begins his answer: "Well, Megyn, my father was a mailman." Isn't that just the ultimate nonanswer? He goes on to do his rough childhood talking points, then — in a strained effort to get to religion — proclaims "I do believe in miracles." That seems to refer both to his ability to get elected and the potential to fix America. A little more blabber and then back to God: "He wants America to be strong. He wants America to succeed. And he wants America to lead." Then, in a nutty non sequitur: "And nothing is more important to me than my family, my faith, and my friends." What about your country? Your friends come before your country? If you are serious, you're disqualified. But he's not serious. He's blabbering the time away and keeping as far away from the question as he can get. Why not just say I have not received a word from God about my campaign?! Would it kill you to dignify the anointed Facebooker with a straight answer.

And now Kelly, who clearly can't ask all 10 guys this word-from-God question, gives it to Scott Walker, and damned if he doesn't get to a straight answer (with a very concise and very religious preface):
Well, thanks, Megyn. I'm certainly an imperfect man. And it's only by the blood of Jesus Christ that I've been redeemed from my sins. So I know that God doesn't call me to do a specific thing, God hasn't given me a list, a Ten Commandments, if you will, of things to act on the first day. What God calls us to do is follow his will. And ultimately that's what I'm going to try to do. 
Then he shifts to more general material from his usual speech but still sticking to the theme of following God:
And I hope people see it in my state, even in the big challenges I took on when I had over 100,000 protesters in and around our capital, trying to do what I thought was the right thing. It wasn't just how I took on those political battles. It was ultimately how I acted. Not responding in kind. Not lashing out. But just being decent going forward and living my life in a way that would be a testimony to him and our faith.
Nicely done, I think. Sincerely religious, complete with "the blood of Jesus Christ," but manifested in public life in ways that are not noticeably different from being a kind, decent person in a way that works for people of any religion or no religion.

Only 2 more candidates are going to get the religion question, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson. Rubio not only avoids the specific question. He goes for a joke:
I think God has blessed us. He has blessed the Republican Party with some very good candidates. The Democrats can't even find one.
He continues with the "blessings" approach:
And I believe God has blessed our country. This country has been extraordinarily blessed. And we have honored that blessing. And that's why God has continued to bless us.
Kelly had woven a question about veterans into the question for Rubio, and with Ben Carson, she changes the question entirely. It's no longer whether God has given you a specific message. It's "a question to you about God and his role, but also... what, if anything, you can do -- you would do as the next president to help heal [the racial] divide?" Carson doesn't talk about religion at all. He goes for science. He says that he doesn't talk about race much "because I'm a neurosurgeon."
[W]hen I take someone to the operating room, I'm actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn't make them who they are. The hair doesn't make them who they are. And it's time for us to move beyond that...
Perhaps someone else on the stage last night would have said that he'd received word from God. Jeb Bush? Chris Christie? Rand Paul? Mike Huckabee? Donald Trump? Who do you think seems most likely to believe God's given him the go ahead? Trump? It's funny to say Trump, but you know, Trump is a Presbyterian:
People are so shocked when they find out I am Protestant. I am Presbyterian. And I go to church and I love God and I love my church"...

"I am not sure I have [ever asked God for forgiveness]. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so.... I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't."
He takes Communion:
"When I drink my little wine—which is about the only wine I drink—and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed.... I think in terms of 'let's go on and let's make it right.'"
Have my little cracker!

ADDED: Interestingly, even as Carson avoided religion when asked about religion, he dragged in religion when the subject was taxes:
"What I agree with is that we need a significantly changed taxation system. And the one that I've advocated is based on tithing, because I think God is a pretty fair guy. And he said, you know, if you give me a tithe, it doesn't matter how much you make. If you've had a bumper crop, you don't owe me triple tithes. And if you've had no crops at all, you don't owe me no tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about that...."
Basing tax policy on the Bible?! Is everything in the Bible presumptively fair? If your answer isn't no, then you'll have a hell of a time getting elected. And spare me the ludicrous folksiness of "God is a pretty fair guy." The man is a neurosurgeon and an elite academic. But he worked with sick children and maybe that's how we're being talked to, like children.

"Teen couple get hit by lightning - but survive because they were holding hands."

"Dr Stefan Reynoso says that their hand-holding helped 'diffuse the electrical current' which entered through Dylan's head and then exited through Lexie's foot."

Further exploration of the distinction between "light red" and "pink."

This is carrying on a subject from the previous post, possibly carrying on way too much, but you may like it if you want something utterly unpolitical with an intense academic bite and a twist of Scrabble.

Let's look at "Meanings and Prototypes (RLE Linguistics B: Grammar): Studies in Linguistic Categorization," edited by S.L. Tsohatzidis. Here, we see that "The use of syntactic paraphrase when a lexical form is available... implicates that there is some question about the appropriateness of the lexical form. Of the shared semantic space, the lexicalized form tends to pre-empt the core, and the periphrasic form is relegated to the periphery. And example of..."

A sexist tweet from the Democrats?

The Washington Examiner says it is:
For those who weren't watching the debate, Fiorina wore a pink suit. Of all the disbelief GIFs the Democrats could have chosen, they chose one of a small blonde girl in a pink jacket?

Had this been a tweet from the Republicans about Hillary Clinton, the phrase "war on women" certainly would have been attached. It should be no difference for the Democrats.
That's a hedged accusation of sexism — in the form that is tritely typical of Republicans. If a Republican had said that about a Democrat, the Democrat would make a particular criticism about the Republican. It's like the Republican is not really saying it but somehow gets to say it, kind of as a way of criticizing Democrats for saying it on those other occasions when they say it, they way they always do. And I'm just saying that Republicans always say that. See what I mean? It's kind of boring!

The Democrats used a child to put down an adult. They used a girl child because the adult is female. If the adult they wanted to demean as childish were male, they'd have used a boy child. It's not sexist.

And Fiorina's suit was not pink. It was red. A kind of red you might call light red. If you think light red is the same thing as pink, you should not be in the business of naming colors. Whatever you call it, the color of the child's jacket is not close to the color of Fiorina's jacket:

That's a distinctive and unusual color and it irks me to hear it called pink! Bow down to the color of Carly Fiorina's jacket.

Madison lefties make an event out of watching the GOP debate and say things like "I think anyone in this room could answer these questions more intelligently than any of the men on stage."

The local Madison newspaper reports.
About a hundred people, some wearing “Solidarity” t-shirts, others sporting Hillary Clinton stickers or Russ Feingold buttons, packed into a room at the Essen Haus in Madison on Thursday night to watch Gov. Scott Walker participate in the first GOP debate of the 2016 presidential campaign....

“I want to see Donald Trump attack other Republicans,” said Joshua Sanchez, who had his “GOP Debate Bingo” card poised and ready to go on the table in front of him....
“I’m just expecting them to be piranhas and eat each other up,” said attendee Sandi Penzkover. “Their egos really get in the way. They’re making a mockery of the presidency. I just view them as little boys, adolescents arguing.”
Of course, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was a special object of contempt:
The crowd, wedged into the Essen Haus meeting room and nursing their beers and eating cheese curds and onion rings, came to attention for all of Walker’s sparse speaking time.... 
The arguably biggest reaction of the night, however, was when, nearing the end of the debate, the governor mentioned his face off with “100,000 protestors.” At that point, cheers seemed to echo through all of Essen Haus and [the overflow venue] Come Back Inn.

"Attackers armed with machetes killed a blogger in Bangladesh on Friday, the 4th killing of an online critic of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority country in less than 6 months."

"Niloy Chatterjee, 40, a blogger who advocated secularism, was killed in his flat in the capital, Dhaka, said police official Mustafizur Rahman."
"We are speechless. He was demanding justice for killing of other bloggers," said Imran Sarker, head of a network of activists and bloggers. "Who will be next for demanding justice for Niloy?"

Obama doubles down on his comparison between Iranian hardliners and Republicans who oppose his Iran deal.

"'What I said is absolutely true, factually,' Obama told CNN's Fareed Zakaria in an interview that will air in full Sunday."
"The truth of the matter is, inside of Iran, the people most opposed to the deal are the Revolutionary Guard, the Quds Force, hardliners who are implacably opposed to any cooperation with the international community... The reason that Mitch McConnell and the rest of the folks in his caucus who opposed this jumped out and opposed this before they even read it, before it was even posted, is reflective of a ideological commitment not to get a deal done. In that sense they do have much more in common with the hardliners who are much more satisfied with the status quo."
Was he asked about Chuck Schumer? Or was that interview recorded before — as the NYT put it — "Senator Chuck Schumer, the most influential Jewish voice in Congress, said Thursday night that he would oppose President Obama’s deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program":
“Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed,” Mr. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said in a lengthy statement. “This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor, and after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.”
What do you think of the Times's qualifier "the most influential Jewish voice in Congress"? I was a bit stunned.

The headline there is: "Chuck Schumer Opposes Iran Nuclear Deal, Shaking Democratic Firewall." So there was a "firewall." That "firewall" protected Obama as he doubled down on the idea that only Republicans oppose the deal — it's a partisan thing. Those terrible Republicans! They're like death-to-America Iranian hardliners.

And then along comes Chuck, screwing up the big man's polemic. What to do now? Point out that Schumer's Jewish??!

Fox News begins each of the 2 debates with a dramatic statement of a non-fact.

From the early debate (AKA the one with Carly Fiorina), Fox News's Bill Hemmer: "One year from now, a Republican nominee will be standing on this stage in this very same arena. That person is in Cleveland today."

From the main-event debate, Bret Baier: "Less than a year from now, in this very arena, one of these 10 candidates or one of the seven on the previous debate tonight will accept the Republican party's nomination."

It may be quite likely that the GOP nominee will be one of the individuals that stood last night on the glaring, makeshift stage of (the ridiculously named) Quicken Loans Arena. But it's not a fact. No one know what events will occur in the next year, changing the issues and the needs of the nation and the health and life of the candidates. And the largeness of the number 17 does not ensure that there will not be 18 or 20 or 30.

I know there's that other Fox show, "American Idol," where they bring out a bunch of pop singers and (try to) excite us with the announcement that one of them will be the next American Idol. There, it's true. The rules of the contest preclude new entrants. There can be no substitutions. This is your choice, America.

But the presidential election doesn't work that way. We had a whole bunch of characters — in 2 batches — on the stage last night. But you can have a large number of options and still not like any of them enough to keep you from wanting to go looking elsewhere.


August 6, 2015

Jaltcoh live-blogged the debate.

Here. Excerpt:
9:11 — Megyn Kelly asks Donald Trump about how he calls women "fat pigs." Trump: "Only Rosie O'Donnell." Trump segues into saying the country has a "big problem" with "being politically correct." He doesn't have time for "total political correctness." Trump adds that he's been very nice to Megyn Kelly — "although I could be not so nice to you based on how you've treated me."...

9:46 — Trump is asked about some of his liberal views. He emphasizes that he was the only one on the stage to oppose the Iraq war from the beginning. Then he actually praises "single-payer health care," at least as it exists in other countries. Trump suggests that single-payer might have worked at one point in this country, but says that now he wants to privatize the system. Paul: "I think you're on the wrong side of this if you're arguing for single-payer." Trump: "I think you misheard me. You're having a hard time with that."
Paul did get it wrong, whether he "misheard" or decided to get it wrong on purpose.  What was up with Paul talking out of turn? He did it very conspicuously twice.
9:49 — Trump is asked what he got from his donations to Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. What he got from Clinton: "She came to my wedding."
Why would you even want that?!
10:28 — Trump responds to Bush's past attacks on his tone: "We don't have time for tone. We have to go out and get the job done."...

Notice: before the debate, everyone was worried that Trump was going to ignore the rules and talk over everyone. But he didn't. That was the dog that didn't bark.
Trump didn't, but Paul did. Twice. But twice isn't such a huge deal.

The GOP debates.

We've watched the second-tier debate. Did you? We liked Carly Fiorina the best. No one else really broke through. That's all I'm going to say for now. Preserving myself for the first-tier characters.

ADDED: This is a lot of debate to slog through! Jeb and Christie seem to be doing well. Trump's angry facial expression is ridiculous, but he yells some good-enough answers. Rand Paul's shouting match with Christie (over search and seizure) was a high point — video here.

AND (finally): How much effect did Donald Trump have? Not a whole lot, in my opinion. He was there, in the middle, and he made strong statements when it was his turn to speak, but the turns to speak were evenly distributed, and almost no one used his time to say anything about or reacting to Trump. Huckabee got off a well-received joke at the very end, seeming to be referring to Trump, as he listed flaws and failures, and then revealing that he was talking about Hillary Clinton.

Who did best, in your opinion? free polls

"Americans' Satisfaction With Way Blacks Treated Tumbles."

A Gallup headline it took me a long time to understand.

How do blacks treat tumbles?

"In the wake of the scandal, Chelsea did exactly what her parents had conditioned her to do: swallow..."

"... the pain and soldier on."

From the ludicrous Vanity Fair article "How Chelsea Clinton Took Charge of Clintonworld."

"The Journal Sentinel’s Daniel Bice has seized on the tape to assert that it 'contradicts' Archer’s claims..."

"... telling a 'different story' from the one she told National Review and the one she told in her lawsuit. In reality, however, the tape omits all of the most critical moments of the raid, and corroborates Archer’s account in many key respects. To the extent it exposes differences between what was recorded and Archer’s recollection, those differences actually offer slight encouragement to those who wish to see law-enforcement officials obey constitutional mandates...."

David French (in The National Review) has some perspective on that Daniel Bice piece we were talking about yesterday.

"How the Hiroshima bombing is taught around the world."

A WaPo article. Excerpt:
Philippines: "Horrible atomic bombs" brought Japan to her knees.

Canada: "Most Canadians are unaware of the crucial role Canada played in the development of the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki." (A uranium refinery in Ontario supplied the Manhattan Project.)

Italy: "There was no doubt that in very little time the Japanese, already at the end of their tether, would have had to surrender ... What seems certain is that the show of force, made indiscriminately at the expense of unarmed people, increased the United States' weight in post-war tensions and decisions, especially concerning the Soviet Union. It is probably therefore that Truman's decision was inspired more by post-war prospects than by calculations on the most convenient method to put an end to the conflict with Japan."

Scanned photo of the day.

young meade

I was sure this was an anti-abortion illustration — a pretty peevish, nasty one — and I'm still finding it hard to believe the NYT used it for a pro-choice op-ed.

That's a snippet of the illustration — by Ruth Gwily — which you can see enlarged and in full here. The op-ed, by Katha Pollitt, is "How to Really Defend Planned Parenthood." Pollitt's op-ed is somewhat interesting, because she does seem to be struggling over what to think and how to talk about abortion in the wake of the disturbing Planned Parenthood videos. ("[T]he videos do cleverly evoke visceral feelings of disgust — graphic images, physicians using the words 'crush' and 'crunchy' — to activate the stereotype that abortion providers are money-grubbing baby killers.") Pollitt wants pro-choice people to speak up, loud and clear, rather than to keep their head down and only pipe up when there's something — like these videos — that needs a response. But in the end, I don't think Pollitt has said anything that will change the low-profile of the pro-choice crowd.
We need to say that women have sex, have abortions, are at peace with the decision and move on with their lives. We need to say that is their right, and, moreover, it’s good for everyone that they have this right: The whole society benefits when motherhood is voluntary. When we gloss over these truths we unintentionally promote the very stigma we’re trying to combat...
There are truths on both sides, pro-life and pro-choice, and the truths on the pro-life side lend themselves to loud, passionate assertion. On the pro-choice side, there's more reason to exercise restraint. These are hard truths. The whole society benefits when motherhood is voluntary can be paraphrased as That dead baby would have been a bad citizen anyway. And the pro-choice side got its passion extracted when abortion became a right. Rights are supposed to make you feel secure, and, feeling secure, why should you have to yell about what you want anymore?

But let's talk about that illustration. I thought some right-wing website was portraying feminists as creepy, ugly jerks! The rat teeth, the sneering nose, the greasy, stringy hair, the misshapen ear that seems twisted a few notches to the left. That's the pro-choice image of a pro-choice woman?! I don't get it. Why make her repulsive?

It also makes no sense to use a tiny megaphone to express the idea that her voice is not being heard. Pro-choicers can get all the social and mainstream amplification they want. They are choosing to be low-key. That's Pollitt's point!

I'm assuming that you immediately perceive the thing in the woman's hand as a megaphone. I called Meade over to look at the illustration, and at first glance, he "saw" a little baby about to be eaten by the woman.

I did a Google image search for a megaphone to get an idea of how accurate the illustration is and I came up with this Planned Parenthood image:

I strongly suspect that Ruth Gwily (the illustrator) used that photo as her reference. I think it explains the protruding teeth and the sneering nose. It seemed, I'm guessing, like a good idea to turn the pretty model into a "real" woman, and nobody with decision-making authority had the perspective to notice how awful she looked.

"The Beatles... got carried away. Why not? If you're the Beatles in the Sixties, you just get carried away..."

"... you forget what it is you wanted to do. You're starting to do Sgt. Pepper. Some people think it's a genius album, but I think it's a mishmash of rubbish, kind of like Satanic Majesties – 'Oh, if you can make a load of shit, so can we.'"

Said Keith Richards.

SPEAKING OF THE BEATLES: I was walking down the lake path the other day, listening to my "Jennifer Juniper" channel on Pandora, and a song began that I was sure was Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." It turned out to be George Harrison's "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)." He lost a lawsuit over his excessive use of "He's So Fine" in his "My Sweet Lord," but I'd never noticed this other borrowing before. "Give Me Love" is a pretty nice recording, and the "rip off" of Dylan is quite short. Interestingly, at 0:46 in the song, it gets very like "MacArthur Park."

"Prosecutors believed Gov. Scott Walker committed a felony when he was Milwaukee County executive for his role in the rejection of a lease extension for county office space..."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports, based on a 2011 request for a search warrant that prosecutors made public yesterday. The original investigation — the John Doe investigation — was secret. The revelations are now coming in connection with the civil lawsuit brought by Cindy Archer.

The Journal presents this as significant because Walker has been saying that he was never a target of the investigation. Walker campaign spokeswoman AshLee Strong responded:
“The information released today comes from a case that has been closed for more than two years,” Strong said. “It is another example of the politics involved in this process as people who could not prove things in a court of law are attempting to win in the court of public opinion.”
This point seems almost stronger when/if we know that Walker was a target. The investigation was, apparently, extremely aggressive, and if they were out to get Walker and smelled enough blood that they believed he'd committed a felony, then the complete failure to pin anything on him is quite an endorsement. I thought we all commit 3 felonies a day — or... that's the meme that expresses how easy it is to find a law on the books that they can pin on you if they want to get you badly enough. How did Walker slip free of the grip of prosecutors who wanted to get him?

Back to the Wisconsin State Journal article:
Prosecutors... were looking into signs of misconduct and bid-rigging regarding competition to house the Department of Aging in private office space. [John] Hiller, a real estate broker who at the time was Walker’s longtime campaign treasurer, was quietly working for one of three bidders seeking to provide office space and buy an aging building known as City Campus owned by Milwaukee County.

[John Doe investigator Robert] Stelter argued in the warrant request that Walker committed a felony when in June of 2010 he used a personal email account to ask Hiller for a letter that rejected Department of Transportation and Public Works director Jack Takarian’s request for a six-month extension for the county’s Department on Aging office lease in the Reuss Federal Plaza in Milwaukee. That rejection set up the need for a later deal “against the interests of Milwaukee County,” the warrant said. Hiller then forwarded the email to Jensen, according to the search warrant request, who then with Hiller wrote the letter rejecting the extension.
Interesting... the things that happen or may be happening in personal email. Personal email is taking the place of phone conversation in our lives, and the kind of communication that once evanesced remain to haunt us... unless we're good at deleting our email.

Isn't it strange that Scott Walker faced such intense scrutiny over email about the rejection of a lease extension for county office space? Compare that to the subject matter of the lost emails of Lois Lerner and Hillary Clinton!

UPDATE: "Gov. Scott Walker says he didn't know he was a target of the now-closed John Doe probe until this week, when newly released court documents showed he was under investigation for misconduct in office."

"[I]f you were choosing a state that would abandon the two major parties and elect a one-time professional wrestler governor..."

"... Minnesota might not be high on your list. It’s among our most literate states; its voter turnout is always at or near the top. But in fact, Minnesota has an historical appetite for alternatives....  Moreover, in Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, voters saw something more than the flamboyant showman...
Since voters had the chance to see Ventura as a viable candidate, the normal falloff for a third party candidate did not happen; instead, he won a narrow victory over St. Paul Mayor (and future Senator) Norm Coleman and Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III. Enough voters decided: 'Hey! We can do this!' to shock the political establishment..."

From "What If Trump Wins?/Sometimes voters do break the rules," by Jeff Greenfield.

The FBI's investigation of Hillary's email is "definitely a criminal probe," "I’m not sure why they’re not calling it a criminal probe."

An unnamed source tells The NY Post.
“The DOJ [Department of Justice] and FBI can conduct civil investigations in very limited circumstances,” but that’s not what this is, the source stressed. “In this case, a security violation would lead to criminal charges. Maybe DOJ is trying to protect her campaign.”

August 5, 2015

Out on the prairie...


... you can say what you think.

I believe I have discovered the douchiest song ever recorded.

It came up today on my "Jennifer Juniper" station on Pandora: "Please Excuse My Face." Listen to the audio at the link to get the full effect. The lyrics alone are not enough to nail down my strong assertion — douchiest — but they are powerfully douchey:
If my shiny eyes look sad,
Please excuse my face,
Blushing, smiling through the tears,
Please excuse my face,
I feel dead, I'll hide myself away,
I'll think of you, through crystal eyes I pray...
The band is Kaleidoscope and the album title is "Tangerine Dream," released in 1967. There are 2 bands from that era called Kaleidoscope, which isn't surprising at all. It's a very obvious psychedelic choice for that time (when The Beatles sang "Look for the girl with Kaleidoscope eyes"). "Please Excuse My Face" is by the British Kaleidoscope:

I don't remember this album, even though I was a big fan of the psychedelic music of the time. Oddly, I remember "Tangerine Dream" as the name of a 1990s retro-psychedelic band. (Am I imagining that? It doesn't Google well.)

Anyway, if you know a douchier recording than "Please Excuse My Face," tell me about it in the comments, and maybe we can put this question up for a vote.

"Former president Bill Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump at the same time that the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House..."

"... according to associates of both men. Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape."

MEANWHILE: "Hillary Clinton’s Mega-Donors Are Also Funding Jeb Bush."

George Bush shows up for jury duty.

"I turned around and he was seated right behind me and I said, 'I think I know that guy'... Then the judge introduced him and said it was an honor to have the former president of the United States in the court... He was laughing and talking and it helped ease the tension... I said it was an honor to meet him and I thanked him for being there... He thanked me as well."

"Just because Iranian hardliners chant 'Death to America' does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe."

"In fact, it’s those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hardliners chanting 'Death to America' who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican Caucus."

Said President Obama.

The pizza that doesn't exist.

"You can't have a marinara with mozzarella... It doesn't exist."
"What do you mean, it doesn't exist?" I reply, oblivious to her hostility.... "I'd just like a marinara but with some mozzarella on top." Unwittingly I make matters worse by miming her mozzarella-sprinkling action.

"La marinara is a pizza rossa," she states frostily. "A pizza rossa is made with tomato and without mozzarella. So you can't have a marinara with mozzarella because there's no such thing."...

"I suppose," she mutters grudgingly, "I could make you a margherita with garlic." (For those unfamiliar, a margherita is a pizza topped with tomato and mozzarella.)

"And the difference..." I ask, laughing blithely, "between a marinara with mozzarella and a margherita with garlic?"
She did not find that question amusing or apt.

"If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?"

Said Kelly Osbourne on "The View," with a view to attacking Trump... and an absurdly large blind spot.

A "a free-diving superstar" dives deep and fails to resurface.

Natalia Molchanova, presumed dead.

"Two defendants... Judge Neal Nettesheim, who oversaw the John Doe probe, to unseal the audio file and other documents from the supposedly secret proceeding for the first time."

Maybe the 6 a.m. raid on Cindy Archer's home was not as traumatic as she claims in her lawsuit.

According to Daniel Bice at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the audio conflicts with the way Archer characterizes the experience:
That recording details tense but mannerly exchanges between Archer and Aaron Weiss, an investigator with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, as he led a team of officers during an early morning raid on Archer's home as part of a now infamous John Doe probe.

“I'm sort of doing you a courtesy by letting you get a coffee and smoke a cigarette just because I imagine being woken up at six in the morning by a bunch of people in black suits is not the way you want to wake up in the day,” Weiss said at one point.
I'm sort of doing you a courtesy by letting you get a coffee....

August 4, 2015

On sale at Whole Foods: 16 ounces of water with 3 stalks of asparagus in it, labeled "Asparagus Water" and priced at $5.99.

"[A] gentleman in the produce department who did not want to give his name... explained that the product was new, 'We've had them on the shelf for the last few days.'"
When asked how the item is made, he said, "It's water, and we sort of cut asparagus stalks down so they're shorter, and put them into the container." When Eater asked what it was for, there was a long pause before he said, "Well, it's... to drink." He elaborated, "The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water."
Later, Whole Foods' Senior Media Relations Specialist Liz Burkhart made a statement asserting that item was carried in only one store (in California) and that the store was making it wrong: "It was meant to be water with the essence of vegetables and/or mushrooms to be used as broth (similar to a bone broth), which are typically made over a long period of time soaking in water."

The photograph at the link looks like something some anti-Whole-Foods prankster made. It would be funny as a joke. It's even funnier knowing it was actually, seriously made and put on the shelf for sale.

And by the way, Whole Foods sells homeopathic stuff, which is based on a much stupider idea than "The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water." Wake me up when they walk that back.

"Mugabe describes himself as both a practicing Catholic and a Marxist, but his birthday party was held at the Elephant Hills golf resort..."

"... near Victoria Falls, just up the road from the haunts of Cecil. Mugabe was honored with seven birthday cakes. One was so large that it had to be carried in by eight men; another was described as the size of a mattress. The celebration reportedly cost a million American dollars, in a country that now suffers up to ninety-five per cent unemployment and underemployment, according to the C.I.A.’s World Factbook. (Mugabe conceded during his last election, in 2013, that at least sixty per cent of his countrymen were jobless). Three-quarters of Zimbabwe’s population lives below the poverty line. 'It’s sad when wildlife is abused, but the Zimbabwean people have been suffering decades of abuse under the wily old Mugabe, who seems never to relent and never to go away,' Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, told me last week."

From "Cecil the Lion and Robert Mugabe," by Robin Wright in The New Yorker.

I don't understand the "but" in the first sentence — "a practicing Catholic and a Marxist, but his birthday party," etc. I mean, I understand it, but it assumes the reader thinks a certain way, and I don't.

"Psilocybin, it appears, targets this existential and spiritual distress."

"A look inside N.Y.U.’s Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety research study, in which magic mushrooms are used to treat those with or in remission from cancer."

"It all began last year; the girls kept asking me and my cousin to do cheerleading. At first we didn’t want to do it because it just isn’t right."

"You don’t hear football players doing cheerleading, but I thought about it and it is our senior year, so I might as well do something fun."
“Olive [Sagapolu] has by far exceeded my expectations,” said [University of Wisconsin senior cheerleading co-captain Gisella] Mendoza. “We just needed Olive for the stunt work. He can tumble, dance and jump off the cheer floor. All of his teammates admire and respect him for that work ethic and just being an overall great guy. Olive is a great athlete, competitor [and] friend, and now we can all say he is a great cheerleader.”...

“The biggest thing I will probably take away from cheerleading is teamwork, working together as a team and trying to reach that goal and just trying to win,” said Sagapolu. “At Wisconsin, we will work together as a team and make it to the Big Ten championship. Knowing that your brother is right there by your side and teamwork is definitely something I have learned, even more so from cheerleading.”

"I feel like I'm looking at the world through some sort of Oreo crème lens..."

"... and it's become my favorite medium to express my creativity through."

"What I’ve come to realize is that when it comes to The Bluebook, small changes are made for the sake of making small changes."

Writes Bryan Garner, commenting on the new edition — the 20th edition — of the "Uniform System of Citation" law students are supposed to obsess over.
New law students want their predecessors’ work to look obsolete. It’s the theory first elaborated by the social philosopher Thorstein Veblen: planned obsolescence. Veblen postulated that companies deliberately produce consumer goods that will become outdated after limited use so that consumers will have to buy new items more often.

You see the principle at work with smartphone chargers (your old ones won’t work on your new gear), iPod connections (ditto), lightbulbs and even coursebooks. Legal publishers like frequent editions so as to avoid the forgone profits represented by a secondhand market.

And so it is with The Bluebook. Things shift from edition to edition—every five years or so—in response to nothing but the itch of a new crop of law students to leave their mark on their venerated citation guide.
I'm not convinced that law students feel a desire to "leave their mark" with changes in citation form. Anyone who is meticulous about citation form ought to feel bad about changes that make older volumes of the journal different from the new. The most important thing about form is consistency. Pick a form and then stick to it. I have various things like that on this blog, certain punctuation, capitalization, and grammatical preferences that have been established. The interest in formal consistency now vastly outweighs all the various factors that went into the original decision. For example, I capitalize "Justice" but not "judge." And in a sentence like "The five men blew their nose," I am never going to change that "nose" to "noses," no matter how many times Meade says "Shouldn't that be 'noses'?" I just say, "That's that thing again," meaning that's that point of grammar I resolved long ago.

I wish Death Cab For Cutie had followed my grammatical preference in the lovely song "I Will Follow You Into The Dark," which has the great, but flawed, line: "If Heaven and Hell decide/That they both are satisfied/Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs." If it were "Illuminate the no on their vacancy sign," listeners would be spared the no's/nose homophone. Each afterlife domain has only one sign, and each sign has only one no that can be illuminated when there is no vacancy, so the singular makes sense and avoids confusion. I learned that long ago from a teacher who knew it was better to say to us students "Use your head," not "Use your heads."

But back to "The Bluebook." I think Garner got closer to the truth when he said "Legal publishers like frequent editions so as to avoid the forgone profits represented by a secondhand market." When you're an editor, you have to resist stepping on the writer's stylistic choices. But I'd just like to say, I'd never have written the sentence like that. Garner is using that verbose, 19th century style of rhetoric that W.C. Fields made fun of in the early 20th century. And in doing so, he's making it easier to overlook the truth — what I think is the truth — that is lost in the musings about the psychology of cite-checking law students. I'd have written: The new editions of The Bluebook are a scheme to extract money from students, and students not only pay for new books, they pay in the time and effort it takes to learn the piddling new rules.

Ohio lady refused to yield to town pressure, cherished the "diverse potpourri of plants [that] began to flourish" and "rich assortment of insects and animals [that] followed" after she stopped mowing her lawn.

To the people of the township who would fine her, it's a "nuisance," but to her — and her "partner" (who seems not to want his name in The Washington Post) — it was "a working ecosystem, one that had been waiting for the chance to emerge."

Ah, but what is a "nuisance," within the meaning of Ohio law? Whose notion of nuisance prevails? The authorities had their perspective, deeming the rodents and snakes "nuisance animals." But:
The un-mowed plants in our yard attract plant-eating bugs and rodents, which in turn attract birds, bats, toads and garter snakes that eat them. Then hawks fly in to eat the snakes. Seeing all this life emerge in just one growing season made me realize just how much nature manicured lawns displace and disrupt....

People should be allowed to live out their values on their own property as long as they are not causing a true nuisance that hinders their neighbors’ use of their own properties....

Society needs to adjust its cultural norms on lawn aesthetics. For the health of the planet, and for our own health, we need to start letting nature dictate how we design our outdoor spaces.... Instead of putting nature in its place, we need to find our place in nature. Local officials have told us countless times that our lawn looks bad and is a nuisance. In one public meeting, a brave young boy, Max Burton, stood up and told our critics, “What you are saying is that life itself is a nuisance.”

August 3, 2015

Ted Cruz would really like your attention.

He's making bacon with a machine gun...

Via Talking Points Memo, which is duly disgusted.

"Some people take frequent breaks outside. Others bring in a sweater, a scarf or an 'office blanket.'"

"Some block air vents with cardboard, or quietly switch on space heaters under their desks... How did America become the land of over-powered air conditioners?"
America, it turns out, is addicted to A/C for reasons of fashion, physiology, gender norms, architecture and history...."
Gender norms! It's actually sex discrimination — and it is intentional discrimination, not just disparate impact, if you haven't blinded yourself to the physiological difference:
Men tend to be bigger and heavier than women, meaning they heat up and cool down more slowly. Men also typically have more muscle than women, which helps to generate heat. Women tend to have more body fat, which holds heat into their cores, but can leave them with icy toes and fingers that make them feel colder.

This differences are the origin of countless domestic spats over the thermostat and the covers. It's also why some sleeping bags have two temperature ratings, one for “standard woman” and “standard man.”... Women have a different wardrobe for warmer weather, including dresses, skirts, sandals, sleeveless tops and lightweight fabrics. Men wear pretty much the same thing as always: long-sleeve shirts, pants, socks and closed-toe shoes....

[W]omen haven't been a major part of the U.S. workforce for that long, and it’s typically men who have designed office buildings, installed air conditioning systems, and set the thermostats....

"Darren Wilson, the former police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an eighteen-year-old African-American, in Ferguson, Missouri..."

"... has been living for several months on a nondescript dead-end street on the outskirts of St. Louis. Most of the nearby houses are clad in vinyl siding; there are no sidewalks, and few cars around. Wilson, who is twenty-nine, started receiving death threats not long after the incident, in which Brown was killed in the street shortly after robbing a convenience store. Although Wilson recently bought the house, his name is not on the deed, and only a few friends know where he lives. He and his wife, Barb, who is thirty-seven, and also a former Ferguson cop, rarely linger in the front yard. Because of such precautions, Wilson has been leading a very quiet life. During the past year, a series of police killings of African-Americans across the country has inspired grief, outrage, protest, and acrimonious debate. For many Americans, this discussion, though painful, has been essential. Wilson has tried, with some success, to block it out. This March, I spent several days at his home. The first time I pulled up to the curb, Wilson, who is six feet four and weighs two hundred and fifteen pounds, immediately stepped outside, wearing a hat and sunglasses. He had seen me arriving on security cameras that are synched to his phone...."

So begins a long New Yorker article by Jake Halpern.

"Where are my pancakes?"

Why pancakes? I was thinking of Obama's old "Why is it that I can't just eat my waffle?" but there's this:

"Is Obama taking Hillary out?"

Monica Crowley's conspiracy theory is seeming more and more plausible, no?
[Hillary] tried to get her dirty tricks consigliere, Sidney Blumenthal, a top position in the State Department, which Mr. Obama pointedly denied. So she hired him anyway through the Clinton Foundation. Through Mr. Blumenthal, she was fed all kinds of intelligence on global hotpots such as Libya, much of it inaccurate, as she circumvented traditional government communication chains via her private email server. 
She didn't trust Obama, the theory goes, and Obama didn't trust her.
In a recently disclosed email, Mrs. Clinton complained that she heard “on the radio” that there was a “Cabinet meeting” that morning and wondered if she could attend. The secretary of state — fourth in line to the presidency — was frozen out, so she set up her own fiefdom.
Obama wants someone he can trust in charge of preserving his legacy, and that would be Joe Biden, Crowley says.
So here’s the likely plan: Mr. Biden will announce that he is running for president (the reported dying wish of his late son, Beau). After a respectable amount of time, Mr. Obama will announce that while he admires all of the Democratic candidates, Mr. Biden has earned his particular loyalty. Following his presidential endorsement, Mr. Obama will then support Mr. Biden with the full weight of the White House, including the sophisticated technical infrastructure his campaigns used to win in 2008 and 2012. For years, Mrs. Clinton has begged Mr. Obama to turn it over to her, and he refused. He’s been saving it for someone else. Mr. Obama will also use his considerable influence with black and Latino voters to support Mr. Biden, which may be enough to help him significantly....
Crowley connects her theory to the recent, weird New York Times story that "two inspectors general from [Obama's] administration recommended that the Justice Department open a 'criminal' inquiry into [Hillary's] handling of classified material." There's reason to think that the leak came from "Mr. Obama’s own consigliere, Valerie Jarrett."
The Times walked back some of the details, but the damage was done. If Mr. Obama did not want a DOJ criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton to go forward, he would not have let it go this far. He wants the investigation, wants her nailed, wants her out. And he’s doing it, slowly, steadily.
So says Monica Crowley, who should not be confused with that other Crowley, Candy Crowley, the woman who threw the last election (according to another conspiracy theory).

Donald Trump has invaded my dreams.

Yesterday, in "Hitting the wall," I confessed that I watched 4 of the Sunday talk shows and listened to at least 3 phoned-in Trump interviews, hashing and rehashing the same few questions.

Last night, I dreamed that I was talking to someone about Trump. I was expressing what seemed to be rather interesting theories, none of which I can remember now, probably because there were no actual theories in the dream, but only the perception that I was explaining an interesting theory. And then I look over and see that Donald Trump has been eavesdropping, listening to my theory, and I'm able to talk to him about what he thinks about it. The dream seemed to have 3 more scenes, in each of which I'm talking about Trump and then realize that he's here again, eavesdropping. How strange it was that this keeps happening to me!

That's beyond the point in a dream where I ought to get to the thought that this is a dream and then to achieve a lucid dream. I can achieve a lucid dream, once the thought occurs within a dream, by trying to look at my own hands. Then comes the fun. I can do anything I want, even things that would violate social (and legal!) norms in real life. But I didn't get there in that series of dreams, even though I had good reason to arrive at the threshold realization that this must be a dream.

If I had begun my lucid dream, what would I have done?

ADDED: In the comments, tim in vermont said: "Stop thinking about Trump. Think about Walker." And I said:
Unlike the rest of America, we the people of Wisconsin have been thinking about Walker for 5 years. I can't remember ever dreaming about him. I don't normally dream about celebrities. That's why this dreaming about Trump is freaky. 
That reminded me of an old Isthmus advice column, published in back in 2012, blogged here, with a letter from a woman who loathed Scott Walker but kept having dreams — sexual dreams — about him. She signed her letter "Violated." The advice columnist gives stupid advice, but Meade does a comment over there that still amuses me after all these years: "Dear Violated: First of all you have not been violated. You have been the violaTOR... of your marriage, of your husband's due respect, and of your own fantasies."

And speaking of still being amused after all these years, today is the 6th anniversary of the wedding of Meade and Althouse.


ALSO: In the comments, Terry says: "It is not beyond possibility that Trump is using his psychic powers to invade the dreams of Althouse." And I say:
What if Trump is invading everyone's dreams? It's as good an explanation as any for what's been going on lately.

And have you ever considered that all of existence is a dream dreamed by Donald Trump? Perhaps we are all unreal, just scenery in his dream. The question then is whether he has achieved the lucid dream state and knows that he can do anything he wants to us, and what does he want?
UPDATE ADDED IN APRIL 2020: On May 9, 2016, I told you something extra about what I thought was this same dream:
I thanked him, effusively, for teaching us to have the courage to speak freely.
In that post, I also said:
I especially like the idea that Trump is teaching us that it works to speak forthrightly about what we think. That might not be true. It might work only for Trump — maybe he has some weird communication genius — but I hope people can absorb and process the lesson and make it work for themselves.
I did not go on to vote for Trump. I considered him too weird to be President (forcing me to vote for his opponent, whom I did not like at all). But he's meanT something important to me all this time, and I've been immunized from hating him. I always want to understand him, and I'm really listening to him.

Why did Hillary lift her face and say "Do what you feel" to a woman who, feeling "sick to [her] stomach," had just said "I’m not feeling it"?

The woman was Kriss Blevens, who did Hillary Clinton's makeup for one of the 2007 debates.
That evening, Clinton sat in Blevens’s chair just before taking the stage, and the candidate’s assistant...
... handed Blevens a red lipstick.

“I felt sick to my stomach . . . and I said, ‘I’m not feeling it,’ ” Blevens, 51, remembered recently while inside her [Manchester, New Hampshire] Main Street studio, where the teal wall matched streaks in her hair. “Hillary Clinton just lifted her face and just said to me, ‘Do what you feel.’ ”
Imagine trusting the color advice of someone who chooses teal for a wall color and, worse, makes color choices against a background of teal.

According to Blevens, to this day, clients come to her to have their makeup done and request "The Hillary." For reference, here's how Hillary looked that night:

Maybe it's just the idea that the hands that touched the face of The Hillary are now touching my face... my lifted up face... the hands that Hillary implored to do what the hands of the assistant would have done only to a sickening effect. Oh, Kriss, do what you feel!
“I always pray before I do makeup,” she said.... The most memorable moment in her 28-year-career, she said, came when she held hands with Barack Obama and prayed.... The candidate looked tired and drawn, and she remembers saying to him “Are you prayed up?”

“He looked at me, and he said, ‘I could sure use more,’ ” she recalled.... The prayer’s exact words are lost to time but one phrase, she said, remains: “Remember the moment you were called to great purpose.” 

August 2, 2015

Relive the old-time frustration of typing on a real typewriter.

Here. I did:

Click to enlarge.

Via Metafilter, where someone bemoans the lack of simulation of the keys jamming when you hit 2 at the same time.

Photo search: U.S. President wearing shorts.

Results: 1. Bill Clinton:

2. Barack Obama:

3. George W. Bush:

Check as many as you want. free polls

Who is this?

How old is he in this picture?

Do you like his tie enough to recommend that men today wear something like that? I do.

Hitting the wall.


It's very hot here in Madison today, hot and windy. Hiding indoors, I watched 4 — 4! — of the morning talking-heads shows, but there's nothing I want to write about them. Or... okay: Donald Trump was on at least 3 of them, literally phoning it in, saying the same thing in response to the same questions. How will he act in the debate? He doesn't know. He's never been in a debate before. He's not a debater... like those other guys. He won't be on the attack, because he's a "nice guy," but if others attack him, he'll punch back twice as hard (not that he used the Obama-associated phrase "punch back twice as hard"). He wants to make America great again, and he's the one who can do it, because he's a guy who gets things done. And:
CHUCK TODD: Who would you rather face: Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I don't have a choice. I would say this. I think with what she's doing and how she's coming out, you know, she's got a terrible record. She's probably the worst secretary of state in the history of this country. And, she's now, the email thing, I mean, what they did with Petraeus is they destroyed his life. What she did is far greater and far worse than Petraeus did. So I would think that she at some point you're going to get a prosecutor who's going to be an honorable prosecutor. And there's going to be major problems for her. So I would think other people would be looking.
That's from "Meet the Press," but he made the Hillary-Petraeus comparison in each of his phoned-in interviews.

"Just as conservatives who hearken for a return to the ’50s are sure to be disappointed, urban advocates who suggest a 'return to the city' for middle class families will be as well."

"Both minorities and millennials, often thought of as spearheading a 'back to the city' drive, are, according to most indicators, moving out to the suburbs as they enter their thirties and start families. Dense urbanity, of course, remains a huge contributor to the nation’s economy and culture. Urban centers are great places for the talented, the young, and childless affluent adults. But for most Americans, the central city offers at best a temporary lifestyle. It does not fit with what people can afford and where they want to live. There is a reason why 70 to 80 percent of Americans in our metropolitan areas live in suburbs, and those numbers are not likely to change appreciably in the coming decade. Cities... have indeed experienced a renaissance, but not in the form [described in 'Death and Life of Great American Cities']. To be sure, this revival is a hell of lot better than the urban dystopia that developed [post-1960]. But it’s time to recognize that we are not seeing a renaissance of the kind of middle class urbanity that she loved and championed. That city has passed into myth, and, unless society changes in very radical ways, it is never going to come back."

From "What Jane Jacobs Got Wrong About Cities."