August 15, 2015

Althouse at the airport — a 10-point list.

1. A slow internet connection is like being stupid, but only if you are stupid enough to keep trying to use the internet when it’s going slow.

2. The internet connection here at McCarran Airport is slow, but I had the wit to open a document in Word and start typing this list, so I am at least that unstupid.

3. I got flagged for a pat-down search and had to wait to enter the air-poof booth until a female patter-downer arrived. I was most concerned about my bag, from which I was separated. My money, my cards, my laptop, my iPhone, my iPad, my keys, my glasses, my boarding passes.

4. I expressed concern and was told “There are more security cameras here than at the White House,” but all that meant to me was that they’d have pictures of the person who swiped my bag.

5. But I had to wait and wait for the female patter. A bulky, slow-moving couple blocked my sightline to my bag, and I considered telling the immense bald-headed TSA agent who’d called for the female that he should just go ahead and pat me down himself, because I’d rather have some strange man feel me up than lose eye contact with my bag of money, devices, and papers.

6. The female whom I’m presumed to prefer arrives and asks me if I have any special sensitivities and what’s the use of saying you’re damned right I do?

7. She says she’ll have to touch my “fancy skirt,” which — what? — is that supposed to relax me or compliment me or amuse me? It sounds like something a criminal would say before roughing you up. She grimly and lightly performed the task.

8. The thought I am never flying again formed at #3, but I resist saying it out loud. How boring and useless the information/threat would be to the security lady.

9. I mellow a bit after it’s over, then get annoyed again as I realize I don’t know what chemicals and radiation and seeing-you-naked technology was inflicted upon me in that booth.

10. Now, I’m at the gate, very early, drinking black coffee and typing a list.

"Hillary Clinton Pokes Fun at Email Scandal During Wing Ding Dinner in Iowa."

That headline bothers me for 5 reasons.

1. It seems to celebrate Hillary's wit, as if it's quite a triumph to take a serious problem and just treat it as a joke.

2. I think you can only "poke fun at" a person. You can't poke a scandal. Poking is something you do to rouse or rile an entity capable of reacting. A person. (Animals are capable of reacting to a poke, but not the metaphorical poke called "fun." I know the animals are laughing at us, but they are not laughing at our jokes.)

3. Who could be poked fun at over the email scandal? Hillary herself? She didn't do that, of course. Her target was Republicans. It's all "politics," and "here’s what I won’t do: I won’t get down in the mud with" the Republicans. "I won’t play politics with national security." So there is something that can be called poking. She's poking Republicans. But she's not poking fun at them. Those remarks don't seem to be trying to be humorous. They're just predictable, transparent blame-shifting and a refusal to respond to the scandal with any substance.

4. Wing Ding Dinner. Don't like that. Not at first sight. It sounds like it's trying to project the concept of fun, but you know it's not fun.

5. Wing Ding. I had to look it up. It's one word, yes? Yes. The (unlinkable) OED says: "U.S. slang. A fit or spasm, esp. as simulated by a drug addict... Also in weakened sense, a furious outburst."
1933   Amer. Speech 8 ii. 28/1   When an addict who..cannot obtain dope..becomes desperate, he may throw a wing-ding (feign a highly realistic fit in public) in the hope that the doctor..will administer narcotics to quiet him; professional wing-dingers are addicts who make a practice of obtaining their narcotics in this manner.
Okay, finally I like something. Well, that Iowa event was a political fundraiser, so it's fair to say that the addicts were putting on a show to get their narcotic.

(The second meaning of "wingding" is "A wild party; a celebration or social gathering." I'm just adding that so you won't think you have to explain it to me.)

"For someone who is dying, the past can be too complicated to contemplate and the future is jarringly unknown."

"Focusing on the present, Zen Hospice Project believes, is where the potential for living most meaningfully — even while dying — exists."
Walk through the front door of the Guest House, as the project’s rambling Victorian home is known, and smell the strong coffee brewing or the homemade chocolate cookies cooling in the kitchen. The cookies aren’t just a nicety. According to Dr. B.J. Miller, the organization’s executive director, piquing the senses is a key strategy to dying well. “No future necessary when you’re in the moment,” he says.
Another death-panelistic article in The New York Times, this one's called "Zen and the Art of Dying Well."

This place sounds exactly like the place that freaked out Frank Gallagher on "Shameless." What episode was that? Anyone know what I'm talking about?

"Once, a long time ago, a rock star was a free-spirited, convention-flouting artist/rebel/hero/Dionysian fertility god..."

"Now, 60 years, give or take, since the phrase came into existence, 'rgreat name) iock star' has made a complete about-face. In its new incarnation, it is more likely to refer to a programmer, salesperson, social-media strategist, business-to-business telemarketer, recruiter, management consultant or celebrity pastry chef than to a person in a band."

So writes Carina Chocano (n a NYT piece titled "How ‘Rock Star’ Became a Business Buzzword."

I don't know how old Chocano is, but I've been around for the entire 60-plus-or-minus years of rock and roll and I can assure you that the term "rock star" never had the golden significance she imagines. The Byrds satirized the idea in 1967:
So you want to be a rock'n'roll star
Then listen now to what I say
Just get an electric guitar
And take some time and learn how to play
And when your hair's combed right and your pants fit tight
It's gonna be all right

Then it's time to go downtown
Where the agent men won't let you down
Sell your soul to the company
Who are waiting there to sell plastic ware
And in a week or two if you make the charts
The girls will tear you apart

What you pay for your riches and fame
Was it all a strange game
You're a little insane
The money that came and the public acclaim
Don't forget what you are
You're a rock'n'roll star
And don't get me started on The Mothers of Invention, "Live at the Fillmore East 1971."

"A Birmingham, Alabama, police detective who was pistol-whipped unconscious said Friday that he hesitated to use force because he didn't want to be accused of needlessly killing an unarmed man."

"'A lot of officers are being too cautious because of what's going on in the media,' said the officer, who asked to remain anonymous for the safety of his family. "I hesitated because I didn't want to be in the media like I am right now.'"

August 14, 2015

"Rather than trying to protect students from words and ideas that they will inevitably encounter, colleges should do all they can to equip students to thrive in a world full of words and ideas that they cannot control."

"One of the great truths taught by Buddhism (and Stoicism, Hinduism, and many other traditions) is that you can never achieve happiness by making the world conform to your desires. But you can master your desires and habits of thought. This, of course, is the goal of cognitive behavioral therapy. With this in mind, here are some steps that might help reverse the tide of bad thinking on campus."

The most interesting paragraph to me in an article in The Atlantic that's getting a lot of attention, "The Coddling of the American Mind" (subtitle: "In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health."), by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.

If you've already been reading and thinking about this article, I wonder if you noticed the Buddhism-Stoicism-Hinduism angle and the "cognitive behavioral therapy." This isn't the usual stuff of American free speech and political debate. It's strangely aligned with the "coddling" that's supposed to be bad, because it circles around inner peace, not getting shaken up and challenged and activated. 

John Kerry in Cuba, raising the flag at the reopening American embassy.

The NYT reports:
Mr. Kerry said at the embassy that while “Cuba’s future is for Cubans to decide” and the choice of how they would be governed was solely their responsibility, the United States “remained convinced that the people of Cuba would be best served by a genuine democracy, where people are free to choose their leaders, express their ideas, and practice their faith; where the commitment to economic and social justice is realized more fully; where institutions are answerable to those they serve; and where civil society is independent and allowed to flourish.”

"Oftentimes when I was sleeping with one of the top women in the world I would say to myself, thinking about me as a boy from Queens, ‘Can you believe what I am getting?'"

#23 on a list of 99 things Trump has said.

ADDED: Men who are using money to trade up sexually are getting women who are interested in that kind of exchange. They can say they are getting "top women" for their money, and the woman can say she's getting a "top man," and it's an even exchange. These people are welcome to each other, and I don't begrudge them whatever happiness they acquire in the deal, but if they want to enter into the realm of public bragging and seek my admiration for the wonderful deal they've made, it's a big, big fail, because it depends on regarding the bragger as having gotten the better side of the bargain and that's a perception that bursts the bubble of happiness, portraying the braggart's partner as the loser, the chump, and not a "top woman" at all (or "top man," if it's the woman who chooses to claim to have won).

Finally, a Sunday talk-show host objects to Donald Trump's phone-in method of half-avoiding the press.

Chris Wallace: "The idea you would do a phoner with a presidential candidate where they have all the control and you have none, where you can’t see them and they may have talking points in from of them... we are not a call in radio show, we are a Sunday talk show and he is a presidential candidate, you do an interview on camera."

My theory on the phone-ins has been it's too hard for Trump to get his hair into viewable condition. These shows are on in the morning and his alternative approach — that ugly "Make America Great Again" hat — is unacceptable.

By the way, wouldn't it be something if, in the end, Scott Walker is the GOP candidate, Joe Biden the Democrat, and Trump runs independently? You could compare the 3 men in their 3 radically different reactions to baldness. Biden, famous for the surgical strike: plugs. Trump, even more famous for the extravagant combover. And Walker, just letting people see that he's going bald.

"Hillary will be totally blackmail-able if elected."

Argues Instapundit's unnamed source (said to be "a journalist"):
1. It’s safe to say that there were things on that server which could cause Hillary tremendous harm politically – which is why she destroyed the evidence that would have been exculpatory if you believed her explanation. In my mind, it’s also why she used a private server to begin with....

4. Hillary Clinton, as both a future Presidential candidate and a sitting Sec. of State would have been one of the Top 100 intelligence targets in the world and probably one of the top 10.

5. It’s thus certain that the Chinese and Russians would each have had a team focused on accessing her communications....
Read the whole thing. My reaction: Once you're actually President, you can use your I-am-the-President tools. What's anyone going to do about it? Impeach you? That's been-there-done-that for Hillary. She could welcome the opportunity to survive a second impeachment crisis in her family. Bring it on!

Why is this journalist unnamed? Is he ashamed of his theory or just not impressive enough for his name to work in promotion of it?

ADDED: Instapundit asks why I'm assuming it's a "he," but he's assuming my use of the male pronoun signifies that I think it's a "he." In fact, I follow the tradition of using "he" when it could be either sex.

Las Vegas in the pouring rain.

It was the heaviest rain of the year, a crazy desert downpour. We were downtown on Fremont Street — the "Fremont Street Experience" — a great vantage point on the rain.

The "naked" man in picture #1 was later observed directing traffic at the intersection by The Golden Nugget where the storm had knocked out the stoplight.

Why Al Gore is an impossible, horrible alternative to Hillary.

Buzzfeed has this, by Andrew Kaczynski: "Al Gore Insiders 'Figuring Out If There’s A Path For Him To Run."
But in recent days, “they’re getting the old gang together,” a senior Democrat told BuzzFeed News. “They’re figuring out if there’s a path financially and politically,” the Democrat said. “It feels more real than it has in the past months.”...

A member of Gore’s inner circle asked to be quoted “pouring lukewarm water” — not, note, cold water — on the chatter. “This is people talking to people, some of whom may or may not have talked to him,” the Gore adviser said....

Gore has had other focuses in recent years. In particular, Gore and a business partner are suing Al Jazeera, which purchased Current TV from him, over $65 million dollars held in escrow during the deal; Gore and his associate contend the money belongs to him. The Qatar-based network acquired Current in early 2013 in a deal reportedly worth $500 million.
We're supposed to figure that mess out in public? Just the fact that he's embroiled in a lawsuit with Al Jazeera seems toxic.
The former vice president has taken a step back from the climate change advocacy groups he helped to found, focusing instead on his business ventures and being a public climate change expert, if not the active lobbyist he once was. 
Imagine this hashed out in the space of a presidential campaign — how the man pushed a cause and then turned it into obscene personal profit. How would that work with the Democrats' economic justice issues?

But Kaczynski doesn't mention what I think makes Gore impossible: women. The Democrats depend on "war on women" and gender justice themes. There's so much invested in the ineffable feeling that this is the party for women. Al Gore lost his wife Tipper — why? And there's that awful accusation of a sexual assault on a masseuse — was that ever resolved? How could Al Gore possibly get into proper women-friendly condition to suddenly throw himself onto the presidential stage?

ADDED: Isn't it obvious? They're going to have to play the Elizabeth card.

Nevada landscape.






All pictures taken yesterday, outside of Las Vegas, on the way to the Valley of Fire. The Valley of Fire is more dramatic than these roadside pics, and I'm saving them for later. I'm in Las Vegas for family reasons, but I'm seeing a few things, including not just the scenic landscape but some Vegas-y shows. You might be interested to know that I saw Murray the Celebrity Magician and the impersonator Gordie Brown.

"Is Hillary Clinton Really in Danger of Losing the Primary?"

Inquires Nate Cohn.

August 13, 2015

"They called me back to testify on the IRS ‘scandal,’ and I too[k] the 5th again because they had been so evil and dishonest in my lawyer’s dealings with them."

Said Lois Lerner, in email.

Blaming the victim: Witnesses say Geno Smith "deserved" the sucker punch that broke his jaw.

Because he "was up in (Enemkpali’s) face and pointed/touched his face."
“That’ll get a man hit every time, especially one that hasn’t earned respect,” a source said.
Ridiculous. You don't get away with socking a guy in the face just because he made you mad and you don't respect him. That's a far cry from self defense.

Smith may well be a nonangel, but that's hardly the issue here.

Has Althouse given up tags?

Perhaps you've noticed the lack of tags lately and wonder if this is some new sleeker version of the blog, less attentive to the secrets of the deep archive.

The answer is no. I'll add the tags when I get back to my desktop computer. Right now, I'm stranded in Lake Las Vegas with only a laptop (and iPad and iPhone) and no mouse, only the built-in trackpad. Just doing the usual cuts and pastes and the links and (hardest!) photo embeds is maxing out my patience.


"Ben Carson defended the use of fetal tissue for medical research..."

"... after a blog published excerpts of a 1992 paper describing work the neurosurgeon-turned-presidential candidate carried out using aborted fetuses."
In an interview with the Washington Post, Carson called the revelation "desperate," and ignorant of the way medical research was carried out.

"You have to look at the intent.... To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it."

"I will die before I get a chance to write one final, perfect end-of-life Tweet. ('Was me!')"

19th on a list of 19 "Things That Will Happen If I Don’t Take My Phone Out Right Now."

"FASHION & STYLE/Ticks: Summer’s Unwanted Guests."

Fashion & style, eh? I guess, in some sense, one "wears" a tick. But how the NYT locate its ticks article in the fashion & style section?
“That’s the cocktail party conversation: ‘Is it brain fog or is it Lyme?’ ” said Ms. Stern, a psychologist. “It has that feeling of an epidemic. It’s so on the forefront of everyone’s thinking.”

Just when you think you have your summer rituals down (preferred toenail shade, weekend house rosé, truly effective sunscreen), there’s suddenly one more, decidedly unpleasant item to add to the list: the tick check....

“I used to tell my children, ‘Grab your ankles,’ ” said Joelle Wyser-Pratte, a financial consultant and veteran of the tick wars with a weekend house in Bedford, N.Y., and three teenagers. “I hope they’re feeling around in there,” she added.

"A Top Thai Tattoo Artist Who Said His Tattoos Conferred Invincibility Has Been Murdered."

"'He has many disciples and followers,' local police colonel Chalaermwuth Wongwiangchan said. 'He has traveled to apply the yant to many celebrities around the country and has also traveled [to meet his customers] abroad.'"

I was inspired to write a poem:
Win them all, you can't.
Even with yant.

Trump stole Walker's Iowa mojo.

Look at that graph!

IN THE COMMENTS: William said:
Look at the artistry with which Trump approaches the problem of thinning hair versus Walker's bland acceptance of his bald spot. Trump will approach America's problems with that same artistry and optimism. Walker will present tonsured budgets and austerity during his watch. America is the land of comb overs.

Mook's memo: Panic!

I mean it says: Don't panic.

But obviously, it means that there already is a lot of panic in the Hillary campaign and a need to get keep the panic from becoming more destructive than the cause for the panic already is.

"The number of future humans who will never exist if humans go extinct is so great that reducing the risk of extinction by 0.00000000000000001 percent can be expected to save 100 billion more lives than, say, preventing the genocide of 1 billion people."

From a Vox article titled "I spent a weekend at Google talking with nerds about charity. I came away … worried."

We're supposed to equate the failure to come into existence with the death of an existing human being? Will Vox sign on to the abortion-is-genocide position?

ADDED: That last question suggests that Vox is signing on with the people its headline calls "nerds." That's an inappropriate suggestion. 

"A warehouse in the Chinese port city of Tianjin erupted in a series of thunderous explosions, killing at least 50 people..."

"... spewing massive fireballs and forcing officials Thursday to face uncomfortable questions about industrial safety standards and possible toxic fallout."
The fiery blasts — powerful enough to register on earthquake monitoring scales and shatter windows several miles away — began in a warehouse storing “dangerous and chemical goods” that had caught on fire shortly before midnight Wednesday, state media reported....

On Thursday morning, reporters were moved away from the explosion zone, and users of Chinese social media networks complained that their posts were being deleted. Some of the posts questioned the number of casualties, while others lamented that Tianjin television stations were playing cartoons and soap operas rather than coverage of the explosion.

One deleted post read: “The explosion in Tianjin shocked the world, but only Tianjin TV did not feel it.”

The DNA tests on Warren G. Harding are in and the truth is out at last.

Love child: yes. "Black blood": no.
The Nan Britton affair was the sensation of its age, a product of the jazz-playing, gin-soaked Roaring Twenties and a pivotal moment in the evolution of the modern White House. It was not the first time a president was accused of an extracurricular love life, but never before had a self-proclaimed presidential mistress gone public with a popular tell-all book. The ensuing furor played out in newspapers, courtrooms and living rooms across the country.
Nan Britton was right.

"And obviously I apologize to Tom Brady for not making him as good-looking as he is."

Courtroom artist bullied. I, for one, protest.

ADDED: I wrote this post late at night (though not as late as it looks — I'm in the Pacific Time Zone and the blog set to Central Time). Let me explain my position. I don't mind the mockery. Have your fun. It's like the "Ecce Homo" retouching, perhaps. What I really object to is the apology. I wish the artist had stood her ground. She's knuckled under to pressure, but I wish she had stood by her work and her stature as an artist and said: "You people are in thrall to you idea of the 'pretty boy,' but I was there. I saw the man in person and not on the football field where he's in control and in his glory. I saw him in a context that you haven't seen. I was not there to show you the mental picture you already have, the controlled media image of a 'pretty boy.' I saw his character. I saw his soul. And if you laugh, it is your own shallowness you hear. I am an artist, and I showed you the truth. This is how Tom Brady really looks.

August 12, 2015

"According to several app makers and media companies, many of the world’s video consumers don’t seem to think vertical videos are wrong — in fact, a lot of us prefer them."

"There is a simple explanation for the dawning preference. According to the venture capitalist Mary Meeker, we now collectively spend about 30 percent of our screen time with devices that are best held vertically, like smartphones and tablets. That time spent is growing quickly, and on tall screens, vertical videos simply look and work better than those shot 'correctly.'... If you peruse some of YouTube’s vertical videos on your phone — say, a video of an inflatable Minion rolling down a street in Dublin, or of a man with a spinal cord injury taking a few halting steps after being fitted with a mechanical exoskeleton — the argument that vertical videos are unsuited for showcasing most events falls apart."

From "Vertical Video on the Small Screen? Not a Crime."

At the Las Vegas Café...

... you must think I'm crazy!

"She was feeling no pain, literally. She was interacting with the audience in almost a—well, it wasn’t almost, it was, it was..."

"... a sexual banter back and forth. They were calling up to her, they wanted her, and she wanted them. At one point in time she says, 'Yeah, I’ll take you on. One at a time. One at a time.' That was part of who she was."

From an article about newly found photographs of Janis Joplin's last concert.

"The women 'live-tweeting' their periods to campaign against Trump."

BBC reports.

The hashtag: #periodsarenotaninsult

I'm seeing the new slang term: Donald. As in: I have my Donald.

"There are, after all, a few problems with Trump’s argument that he was just, in the Wall Street Journal’s memorable phrase, using 'facial hemorrhages as a metaphor for anger.'"

"One can begin with the obvious: more of Kelly’s body was implicated than was Wallace’s, and Trump has a long history of slurs aimed at women’s anatomy, which was what Kelly was asking him about. But stranger still is the idea that there was any anger to describe, literally or metaphorically. 'Look, she asked me a very nasty question. I have nothing against Megyn Kelly, but she asked me a very, very nasty question,' Trump said. She was 'very inappropriate,' and 'very angry.' And yet, in the video, she is calm, and never stops smiling. She did not, it is true, surrender or laugh appreciatively when he interrupted her to make a joke about how he thought another woman was ugly. Is that what an angry woman looks like from the Republican debate stage?"

From "How Trump Survived the Megyn Kelly Blowup," by Amy Davidson in The New Yorker.

It's a horrible day for Hillary Clinton. Any chance we'll hear from her?

Bernie Sanders is beating her by 7 points in New Hampshire, according to a new poll.

And the email problem is roiling ominously.

But I can't picture her saying anything other than that it doesn't matter and look at those terrible Republicans.

"There are only five candidates with a plausible path to the Republican nomination..."

"... two sitting senators ( Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz), two sitting governors ( Scott Walker and John Kasich), and a former governor ( Jeb Bush). They represent a choice among very different persons, but also—and more fundamentally—between competing strategies for the future of the Republican Party."

Says William A. Galston at the WSJ.

Althouse flies.

I almost never do this.


Got here yesterday:


The "weedery." It's like a winery.

You're supposed to want to visit marijuana greenhouses in Colorado. That's the tourism business the NYT is giving publicity to.

August 11, 2015

I'm sitting next to a player piano that's playing crappily.

How does that even happen?

Is it playing back the last set played by the actual lounge pianist who last sat here? Is that how player pianos work these digital days?

Bristol Palin would like to school Erick Erickson...

... for his faux outrage at Trump's supposed sexism.

Faux, because he employed sexism against Sarah Palin and because he cheerled Trump's attack on Rosie.

"With one punch, Ikemefuna Enemkpali transformed himself from a little known third-string linebacker into a figure of infamy for the Jets."

"Enemkpali, 24, broke quarterback Geno Smith’s jaw on Tuesday morning with what Coach Todd Bowles called a “sucker punch.” He was immediately released."

"I do whine because I want to win and I'm not happy about not winning and I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win."

Said Donald Trump this morning.

Sorry for all the Trump stuff this morning. I'm trying to ignore the man, so could someone else in the world please be interesting? Or... no... that's a bad idea. Thank God for the boringness that allows Donald Trump to be the most interesting thing in the world.

"Trump is not a candidate, he's making an infomercial for a yet-to-be fully develped political reality show."

"At some point, when he thinks he's sufficiently milked the press and the public, his campaign will transition into that reality program, which he will then sell to Fox and which Meghan Kelly will host. He'll never run as a third party candidate because that would tick off at least a third to one-half of his intended audience demographic, plus, he will need to have this program up and running during the heat of the 2016 campaign to keep the buzz going. You heard it here first."

Said jaydub, yesterday in the comments on the "Dawn walk thoughts" post.

"PPP's newest Iowa poll finds Donald Trump leading the Republican field in [Iowa] even after a weekend of controversy."

"Even" is an opinionated and — I would say — wrong word.

"He's at 19% to 12% for Ben Carson and Scott Walker, 11% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Carly Fiorina, 9% for Ted Cruz, and 6% for Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio."

"Trump, who is the front runner, will not apologize. And I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism."

"So I'll continue doing my job without fear or favor."

Said Megyn Kelly, on her show last night, taking the least time possible to kick Donald Trump to the side. Watch the clip, because her good humor and style shine.

For some reason — and for the first time — she reminded me of Katharine Hepburn. Maybe it's a new pattern of contouring makeup, but I think it's more likely the psychological boost.

"State by State, Democratic Party Is Erasing Ties to Jefferson and Jackson."

"Political candidates and activists across the country have flocked to annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners, where speeches are given, money is raised, and the party celebrates its past and its future."
But these time-honored rituals are colliding with a modern Democratic Party more energized by a desire for racial and gender inclusion than reverence for history. And state by state, Democratic activists are removing the names of Jefferson and Jackson from party gatherings, saying the two men no longer represent what it means to be a Democrat.... 

"A French Couple’s Love for the American West Ends in Tragedy."

The NYT reports.
[I]t was at the White Sands National Monument of New Mexico... that [David and Ornella] Steiners’ new trip took a terrible turn.... Their 9-year-old son, Enzo, was the only one to survive, found alive by park rangers.... [T]wo empty 20-ounce water bottles were found with the bodies but that the boy told investigators the bottles were full when the family started the hike.

“The father and mother would take one drink while they made the child take two swallows of water,” Sheriff House said...

"For some reason, I'm dedicating my pre-6-a.m. writing to arguing with chickelit."

I write, just now, deep in the comments thread for "What if the only people who took advantage of an unlimited leave policy were women?"

1. "'2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 is as good a retort as any to the "question" posited by Althouse.'" [Link to St. Paul's epistle added.] "Surely, Paul considered taking care of the household and the children within it as work! You think the reference to 'work' means holding down an income-producing job in the modern sense? That would be a nutty thing to believe."

2. "'Ritmo goes full Titus.'" [Reacting to this.] "No, Titus in his fullness would break free of whatever political obsession had its grip on the thread and give us real relief. You need a wild sense of fun and abandon to begin to replicate Titus."

"What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google."

"This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity).  Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed."

Enthuses Larry Page.

The link on Calico goes to: 
We’re tackling aging, one of life’s greatest mysteries.

Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan. We will use that knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives. Executing on this mission will require an unprecedented level of interdisciplinary effort and a long-term focus for which funding is already in place.
Interesting word selection, Executing. This better not be the death panels sneaking in. Buzzphrases to watch out for: 1. controlling lifespan, 2. longer and healthier. You may look at "longer and healthier" and focus on longer, but I see longer linked to healthier and feel that there is some unknown algorithm wherein the desirability of length relates to a degree of healthiness. 

Don't let your enthusiasm outrun your skepticism.

August 10, 2015

"What if the only people who took advantage of an unlimited leave policy were women?"

"What if those women were mommy-tracked away from the most intense, remunerative parts of a business, toward more marginal, lower-paying positions? The truth is that this already happens in many businesses. Unlimited does not mean 'consequence-free,' after all. No, for more generous parental-leave policies to really tackle the broader problem of women seeing their paychecks shrink and careers derailed by having a child during their peak earning years, norms need to change, too. Men do not just need more generous paternity policies. They need to use them.... That is just not the case right now.... So, how to get men to take some time off?..."

From "Lean Out, Dads."

"'Abortions are yucky... But after that response, there is a shrugging of the shoulders.' After all, a lot of life is yucky."

The last line of a New York Magazine article by Rebecca Traister titled "The Big Secret of Abortion: Women Already Know How It Works."

"It wasn’t until he examined the frogs under a microscope that he discovered that the spines on their upper lips were covered in poison glands."

"'It took me a long time to realize that the pain had a relationship with the intense and careless collection of these animals hitting the palm of my hands,' he said. When the frog head-butted him, it envenomed him too."

"When I was 5, we went to visit my great-grandfather’s grave in Brooklyn during the spring Qingming festival, when Taoists honor their dead with ancestral grave sweeping."

"In keeping with custom, we burned incense and joss-paper ingots so my bok-gung could have ghost money to spend in heaven."
But because no one ever explained what the worship meant — indeed, what death was — what defined the experience for me was not the story of what we were doing and why we were doing it. It was fear....

"NYPD cops fed up with vagrants making life miserable in the city are taking matters into their own hands..."

"... by snapping photos of quality-of-life scofflaws and posting them online."
The Sergeants Benevolent Association is spearheading the effort, emailing a letter to members Monday urging them and their families and friends to take pictures to document the decline of the city.

“As you travel about the city of New York, please utilize your smartphones to photograph the homeless lying in our streets, aggressive panhandlers, people urinating in public or engaging in open-air drug activity, and quality-of-life offenses of every type,” says the letter from SBA President Ed Mullins, a major critic of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"Here in this corner of the Iberian Peninsula, the business of selling abandoned villages has even become something of a policy tool."

"One mayor is trying to give away an abandoned village in his district for free, so long as 'buyers' promise to restore it and add back value – ideally drawing young people while they do so."
If Galicia cannot turn back its demographic trends, says Xoaquin Fernandez Leiceaga, a former lawmaker and professor of economics at the University of Santiago de Compostela, parts of it could quickly turn into wildland. “Already villages of Galicia are being overrun by weeds and bushes,” he says.
But there is more at stake than policy and economy: identity. In an interview on the coast, far from the rural interior, Mr. Fernandez Leiceaga says that nearly all Gallegos have a piece of land handed down from their parents – himself included – and that Gallegos idealize their rural heritage. “We still have a rural mindset,” he says. Yet, “it is a world that is disappearing, with nothing to substitute it.”

"EPA Says It Released 3 Million Gallons Of Contaminated Water Into River."

"Scientists say it's the largest untreated mine drainage in the state, and problematic concentrations of zinc, copper, cadmium, iron, lead, manganese and aluminum are choking off the Upper Animas River's ecosystem."

I respond to comments to yesterday's evening's post "I walked down to State Street to get a cup of coffee and ran into a gay pride parade."

Chuck said: "Professor Althouse, having lived briefly in your lovely neighborhood myself, I happen to know that for you to 'walk down to State Street for a cup of coffee,' you'd have had to bypass three or four other pretty wonderful coffee shops. Are you being coy about why you walked at least two miles, the better part of an hour, to the scene of the Gay Pride Parade at the very moment it was starting?"

I like to go for walks, and I usually motivate myself by setting a destination and a reward, like ice cream at the Union Terrace or coffee at Colectivo on Monroe Street. There's a new Colectivo on State Street, and I decided to go there again and make it a longer walk. On the way I stopped at the Chazen Museum...


... and I arrived on State Street just as the paraders were amassing in the staging area. I walked up a couple blocks, positioned myself on a corner and waited a mere 5 minutes before the parade began. Got my planned coffee about 20 minutes later.

Humperdink said: "Yep, throw your sexuality in my face (and others) again and again and again. That'll win us over."

Their sexuality is firmly entrenched on the other side of your face, in your head. No sexuality was thrown in anyone's face. In fact, the parade was completely unsexy. There were people in matching T-shirts indicating membership in some good-doing group. There were hockey players. The dressed-up folks looked rather bored. Some tamely danced. The liveliest float was the one for the Methodist church — not included in the edit — with a little band playing "When the Saints Go Marching In." There were a couple vote-for-me politicians at the front of the parade, right after the lead-off motorcyclists. Near the back of the parade — what symbolism! — was a "black lives matter" group and a Latino group. Seriously, it was the polar opposite of in-your-face sexuality.

David said: "Overwhelmingly white, as usual in Smugsville...."

It's Madison. And my iPhone ran out of space before the "black lives matter" group arrived.

Curious George said: "Hey was that justice fora day JoAnne 'I won' Kloppenberg at :05? I think it was. Same 'Deer in the headlight' stare. I'm guessing she got lost and decided to follow the shiny things."

That was, indeed, JoAnne Kloppenburg. She's running for Supreme Court Justice again. I don't know why politicians are put at the front of a parade like this. It bugged me, especially since the "black lives matter" political cause was relegated to the back.

JZ said: "Gay seems like the wrong word to me...."

That has got to be the tritest observation on the subject. Maybe if you'd said that 40 years ago, it would be fresh.

lgv said: "Why are they proud. They say they were born that way. It's like being proud of being left handed. One can be proud of their accomplishments, but I'm not sure that being proud of something you cannot control, like genetics, is illogical. Anyone's pride is not worthy of a parade to advertise it, either."

I didn't see the word "pride" anywhere or hear anyone proclaiming pride. I used the term "gay pride" because it's traditional, originating, I assume, in a desire to cancel the shame that had been culturally imposed. Now that the culture has changed, the word is perhaps a relic that could be discarded, but it's not yet the case that everyone who finds himself to be gay is free of shame, and there's something to be said for tradition.

Renee said: "Honestly, it wasn't that bad. No corporate sponsors. Just people who come in support ina peaceful manner."

Maybe you were distracted by the cute Pomeranian, but the man on the other end of the leash was holding one end of a sign that read: "American Family Insurance/Proud Sponsor."

walter said: "[T]hey clearly need to get the word out if Ann encountered it through happenstance. So why not join the parade, Ann?"

I'm not good at keeping track of Madison events. I just stumble into them sometimes. People who care about events check Facebook and Isthmus and whatever. I prefer places on normal days. I can't imagine actually being one of the paraders... in any parade. 

Dawn walk thoughts.

1. It looked like this...


... as the sun rose over Milio's sandwich shop.

2. For perhaps the first time in nearly 12 years, I woke up, read the internet (part of it anyway) and instead of feeling like blogging anything, went out for a walk.

3. I hate the news right now. Everyone seems to think the thing to talk about is Donald Trump, which strikes me as profoundly stupid. I watched 5-and-a-half Sunday morning talk shows yesterday, and I heard the same thing over and over. Trump has lost some unregainable portion of the women. He can never get them back, but he could never have won anyway, and really what he is is America's expression of anger. We're an angry, angry America, and this lout is, apparently, an embodiment of our collective id.

4. That's id, not ID. You need an ID to vote, but bring your id.
The id (Latin for "it") is the unorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human's basic, instinctual drives. Id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. It is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives. The id contains the libido, which is the primary source of instinctual force that is unresponsive to the demands of reality. The id acts according to the "pleasure principle"—the psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse—defined as seeking to avoid pain or unpleasure (not 'displeasure') aroused by increases in instinctual tension. According to Freud the id is unconscious by definition:

"It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality... We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations. ... It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle."
5.  "I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing" is the epitaph the writer Guy De Maupassant wrote for himself. He looked like this when he was 7:

6. I think young people take all those selfies to say I am young and beautiful and I'm here. That's fine. Older people look askance at selfies because that's no longer what they have to say. On my travels — mostly mere walks — I take pictures of the sunrise over Milio's or the flowers by the sidewalk and these aren't so different from the young person's selfies. I am old, life is beautiful, and I'm here

August 9, 2015

I walked down to State Street to get a cup of coffee and ran into a gay pride parade.

Today, in Madison, Wisconsin:

"Whenever women touch anything they clearly make it better than we do as guys."

Said John Kasich, ridiculously, this morning on Jake Tapper's CNN show ("State of the Union").

He was blabbing and avoiding the question asked.

The question — I am not kidding — was whether Donald Trump was talking about Megyn Kelly's period when he said "blood coming out of her wherever." Ironically, in trying to avoid having to talk about female genitalia, Kasich had us — I don't know about you — thinking about male genitalia.

Whenever women touch anything they clearly make it better than we do as guys.

Well, that's how the conversation went at Meadhouse, but even if you don't go there — and aren't you an upstanding citizen if you don't? — the line is absurd. He's running for President. Is he pushing for Hillary Clinton? She's a woman. By his lights, we ought to want her hands on the levers of power.

Yes, there's also Carly Fiorina. By the way, she was on Tapper's show too, and she was also asked the question whether Trump was talking about Megyn Kelly's period. Fiorina's answer was great, talking about her own experience with men who've criticized her with references to her period, but I'm going to wait for the transcript to give you the full quote.

ADDED: Here's the transcript. Fiorina first gave a very short answer: The comments were "completely inappropriate and offensive." Tapper pushed her with: "But do you think that Trump's remarks were sexist? Do you think he was specifically referring to Megyn Kelly -- I can't believe I'm even saying this -- having her period?" At that point, she said:
You know, look -- you know, look, I can -- I started out as a secretary. And, as I made my way up in the business world, a male-dominated business world, I have had lots of men imply that I was unfit for decision-making because maybe I was having my period. So I will say it, OK? When I started this campaign, I was asked on a national television show whether a woman's hormones prevented her from serving in the Oval Office. My response was, can we think of a single instance in which a man's hormones might have clouded his judgment?
Tapper said "I can." Fiorina continued:
The truth -- yes, me, too, maybe in the Oval Office.... The point is, women understood that comment. And, yes, it is offensive.

The morning was overcast, no sun in sight, and people were drawn to the sun of the flowers.

Yesterday, at Pope Farm Conservatory:




"The Most Embarrassing '90s Beauty Trends."

I'm only linking to this so I can say that the trick is to notice what you are doing now that's embarrassing. Everyone can laugh at what was done 10, 20, or 30 years ago. But you should know that someone in the future is laughing at you and ask why.

"Once a marker of a business with suspicious tax practices, the phrase 'cash only' has come to signify hipster entrepreneurialism at places like Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel in Midtown Manhattan or the Emerson Bar in Brooklyn."

"... Many of the new alternative currencies have the look and feel of the regular legal tender accepted at such places. Most include anticounterfeiting measures like holograms and serial numbers. But they are more eye-catching. At the Effra Social, a Brixton pub, Ewan Graham, 31, an architect, was impressed upon examining one of the district’s special pound notes for the first time. 'I’d be more inclined to save money if it all looked like that,' he said. The back of the note displayed a Karl Marx quote about capital and its 'occult ability to add value to itself.' The £10 note, meanwhile, pictured David Bowie, a Brixton native (stardust, or other powdery substance, not included). It’s easy to imagine such notes being fetishized as audiophiles do vinyl...."

And it's easy to imagine suspicious tax practices... even by "hipsters"!

The article — in the NYT — is "Do You Have Change for a Bowie? The Advent of Artisanal Cash."

Donald Trump, Scott Walker, and the notion of gutting a woman.

I was surprised to see:
Donald Trump and his allies have escalated a feud with Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly, with top deputy Michael Cohen retweeting a tweet from an account named “surfersfortrump” that said, “#boycottmegynkelly @realDonaldTrump we can gut her.”
Those of us who have been following Scott Walker are very familiar with his frequent citation of one of the threats he received during the Wisconsin protests, directed at his wife Tonette, saying he wanted to "gut her like a deer."

"I enjoy Trump’s hyperbolic, un-P.C. flights because there are too few operatic characters in the world."

"I think of him as a Toon. He’s just drawn that way. And his Frank Sinatra lingo about women aside, he always treated me courteously and professionally."

Me = Maureen Dowd.
Back in 1999, when he was flirting with a presidential run, I asked the ladies’ man how he would do with the women’s vote.

“I might do badly,” he said with a smile. “They know me better than anybody else. Women are much tougher and more calculating than men. I relate better to women.”

"Let others feel bad about their chicken wings — and their bottoms, their necks and their multitude of creases and wrinkles."

"I’m too old for this. I spent years, starting before I was a teenager, feeling insecure about my looks," writes Dominique Browning in a NYT op-ed titled "I’m Too Old for This."

I'm not sure how old Browning is. There's just the line "Only when you hit 60 can you begin to say, with great aplomb: 'I’m too old for this'" that indicates she's over 60. I'm over 60, and I'm kind of thinking I'm too old for this kind of women's-magazine writing about how much or little attention women should pay to how they look. So why am I blogging about this? Only because I forgot what body part "chicken wings" is supposed to refer to, and I just wanted to share that absurd experience with you. I tried Googling, and in between the recipes and the hopeless entry in Urban Dictionary — "Why is it that 99% of the people who submit definitions to this site think we're interested in their made up 'sexual' words or terms?" — I gave up.

ADDED: The first commenter, Carol, informs me that "chicken wings" refers to women's upper arms. With that additional info, I was able to Google and find "Amazing Arm Workouts for Women (See Ya, Chicken Wings)." That's in Cosmopolitan, a magazine I used to read every month back in the 1970s, when I had a job that required me to all the women's magazines every month. I got more than I could ever want of women's-magazine writing back that, fortunately in a context where I was not only paid to do it, but where I got to hang out all day with 2 other young women who were up for whatever jokes and other critique this reading material inspired.

Black Lives Matter protesters shut down a Bernie Sanders speech in Seattle.

He'd just buttered up Seattle by calling it "one of the most progressive cities in the United States of America," when 2 ladies "walked onstage and grabbed the microphone":
“If you do not listen … your event will be shut down,” one of the protesters told organizers, who offered to let them speak after Sanders. After a back and forth with the screaming protesters, organizers relented and said the demonstrators could go first.

Some in the largely white audience booed and chanted for protesters to let the senator talk. A few yelled for police to make arrests.

Marissa Johnson, one of the protesters, shot back, “I was going to tell Bernie how racist this city is, filled with its progressives, but you did it for me,” accusing the audience of “white supremacist liberalism.” She cited Seattle’s own police problems, including an ongoing Justice Department consent decree over use of force.

The activists demanded 4½ minutes of silence in memory of Brown, to symbolize the 4½ hours his body lay on a Ferguson street. While rally organizers raised their hands in support, some in the crowd yelled profanities.

After the few minutes of silence...
Silence + profanities ≠ silence.
... the protesters said they wanted to confront Sanders for failing to address their concerns when he was similarly interrupted at a town hall for liberal activists in Phoenix last month. Johnson beckoned Sanders to stand closer as she spoke — he refused.
Bernie Sanders didn't want to stand too close to Marissa Johnson, which she just might consider evidence of how racist he is... like all those other white progressives who think so well of themselves. And so Bernie couldn't get close to the microphone, and Bernie gave up trying and left — in a white Jeep — to go to the Comet Tavern where people had paid $200 to $1,000 to hear Bernie proclaim that "When we stand together, when black and white stand together, when gay and straight stand together, when women and men stand together... when we stand together, there is nothing, nothing, that we cannot accomplish."

When we stand together? When do we do that? It's safe to say that "when we stand together, there is nothing, nothing, that we cannot accomplish," because we never do stand together. Sanders wouldn't stand with Marissa Johnson when she beckoned him to stand with her, and that's just a minute particle of our overall refusal to stand together.

But in this hypothetical nation that Sanders envisions, the one in which we do all stand together, there'd be a hell of a lot of things we wouldn't be able to accomplish.