April 30, 2016

"Yes, that’s the (totally classy) cover to the book, which is one of a 2-part volume retailing for $1700.00..."

"Such dear, dear friends. That last shot doesn’t look so much like an airkiss as it does a very slow assault...."

Hey, yeah. It reminds me of this.

Acrostic clue that I don't think began that way.

Tomorrow's NYT acrostic has one clue that reads: "How Abraham Lincoln and Jimi Hendrix died." I'm pretty sure that "Jimi Hendrix" was a last minute substitution.

Here's a piece from 3 days ago in the Wall Street Journal: "What Prince and Abraham Lincoln Have in Common."

Why oust Prince from that clue and replace him with a longer-dead rock-music icon? Spoiler alert. The answer to the clue is: intestate. The NYT is pretty punctilious about the accuracy of puzzle clues, and though no Prince will has surfaced yet, it could happen. And perhaps there is an element of taste. The quote in the solution — again, spoiler alert — comes from "Bring Up the Bodies," and we might not want to think of the recently lost Prince in such graphic terms.

Does the title of "Bring Up the Bodies" refer to buried human bodies?
The title of Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, we learn late in the narrative, is a legal phrase, the command to court officials instructing them to deliver to their trial men who, because they are accused of treason, are regarded as already dead: “The order goes to the Tower, ‘Bring up the bodies.’” But the phrase is suggestive too of the march to death, specifically to the scaffold, that is undertaken by many of the book’s characters. Bring Up the Bodies is a sequel to Mantel’s Booker Prize–winning Wolf Hall and in both novels she ambitiously attempts to reconstruct in fictional but credible form a series of crucial events in English history, specifically here those leading up to the execution of Anne Boleyn....

"In our view, if nine-tenths of all the various culinary preparations and combinations, vegetables, pastry, soups, stews, sweets, baked dishes, salads, things fried in grease, and all the vast array of confections, creams, pies, jellies, &c...."

"... were utterly swept aside from the habitual eating of the people, and a simple meat diet substituted in their place... the result would be greatly, very greatly, in favor of that noble-bodied, pure-blooded, and superior race we have had a leaning toward.... The effect of nearly all of these highly artificial dishes is to stimulate and goad on the appetite, distend the stomach, thin the blood, and prepare the way for some form or other of disease. They do not harden a man in his fibre, nor make him any the better in wholesome flesh—as it is often to be noticed of such articles that the greatest eaters of them are by no means the fattest, but often lean and scraggly.... We have been flooded in America, during the last fifteen or twenty years, with vast numbers of doctors, books, theories, publications, &c., whose general drift, with respect to diet, had been to make people live altogether on dry bread, stewed apples, or similar interesting stuff....  [Especially in New England,] the people are prone to be too intellectual, and to be 'ashamed of the carnal body'—running very much to brains, at the expense of the brawn and muscle of their limbs... Let the main part of the diet be meat, to the exclusion of all else...  for all the northern and eastern states. We say less about hotter climates, because in those regions of perpetual fruits, there are other points to be considered. And it may be as well to add, that by meat diet, we do not mean the eating of meat cooked in grease and saturated therewith—or in any made dishes—but meat simply cooked, broiled, roasted, or the like. This is the natural eating of man and woman...."

Advice on what to eat, from the newly discovered writings of Walt Whitman, "Manly Health and Training, With Off-Hand Hints Toward Their Conditions" (1858).

"It may sound strange that so harmless a liquid as water may require to be guarded against, but it is even so."

"Drenching the stomach with it just before, or during a hearty meal, plays the mischief with the digestions, and in most cases with the personal comfort. And yet it is a common practice.... The drink we recommend, and not too much of that, is water only. By a proper choice of food, much thirst may always be avoided.... As to the appetite for ice-water, for instance, in the hot weather, it is an artificial one; simple cool water, and not too cool, is much more wholesome."

Advice on what to drink, from the newly discovered writings of Walt Whitman, "Manly Health and Training, With Off-Hand Hints Toward Their Conditions."

"We went under a fence and through a fence, and oh, boy, it felt like I was crossing the border, actually."

Said Donald Trump and even though I just got done writing that Donald Trump doesn't use metaphor, I thought he was talking about the way he got into the Republican Party and became its presidential front-runner. But he was talking about how he got to his rally yesterday, when he had to get out of his car and walk across a field and up an embankment — surrounded by Secret Service agents — because of the protesters who foolishly believed they could block access and stop the event and ended up making him look hearty and game.

"I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they speak."

"I’m not going to deal with their temper tantrums or their bullying or their efforts to try to provoke me. He can say whatever he wants to me. I could really care less."

Said Hillary Clinton. Fine. I'll just say:

1. I'm glad she's irritating the people who would like you to know that you're supposed to say "I couldn't care less." I enjoy imagining that the people who say "I could care less" mean to call attention to the smidgen less caring that remains possible.

2. I don't think Donald Trump needs the say-anything permission she gave him: "He can say whatever he wants to me." The key word is "wants." And he does say anything he wants. We're often surprised that he wants to say what he says, but Hillary may have some power to change what he wants to say, if she can figure out how. I assume she'd like her status as a woman to exerts some pressure on what he wants to say.

3. I'm surprised she used the phrase "off the reservation." I know Donald Trump has been attacking "political correctness," but he doesn't gratuitously use figures of speech that relate to groups that have been oppressed in American history. His political incorrectness is plain speech about current problems, not metaphor. For reference, here's an NPR.org piece from 2014 explaining "off the reservation":
In its literal and original sense, as you would expect, the term was used in the 19th century to describe the activities of Native Americans:
"The acting commissioner of Indian affairs to-day received a telegram from Agent Roorke of the Klamath (Oregon) agency, dated July 6, in which he says: 'No Indians are off the reservation without authority. All my Indians are loyal and peaceable, and doing well." (Baltimore Sun, July 11, 1878)

"Secretary Hoke Smith...has requested of the Secretary of War the aid of the United States troops to arrest a band of Navajo Indians living off the reservation near American Valley, New Mexico, who have been killing cattle, etc." (Washington Post, May 23, 1894)

"Apaches off the reservation...killing deer and gathering wild fruits." (New York Times, Sept. 7, 1897)
Many of the news articles that used the term in a literal sense in the past were also expressing undisguised contempt and hatred, or, at best, condescension for Native Americans — "shiftless, untameable...a rampant and intractable enemy to civilization" (New York Times, Oct. 27, 1886)....
 4.  "I have a lot of experience dealing with men..." would be a great intro into Hillary's generally good stance, which is that she's tough and experienced and she's going to just keep barreling ahead toward her longstanding goal. But it made me think of Bill Clinton. He's the man she's had the most experience with. With that in mind, "the way they behave" sent my mind reeling off topic....

"My last name is Zappa; my father was Frank Zappa. But I am not allowed to use the name on its own."

"I’m not allowed to use a picture of him. I’m not allowed to use my own connection with him without some sort of deal to be struck."

Under duress from the Zappa Family Trust, after the death of his mother, Dweezil Zappa has to change the name of his decade-old music project from Zappa Plays Zappa to Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa. This isn't just a set of bickering siblings. It's an interesting position within copyright law:
The family trust argues that for a show consisting largely of Frank Zappa’s music, performers cannot rely on the standard performing-rights licenses that music venues typically get from agencies like Ascap or BMI, but instead need special permission from the estate for “grand rights,” a term that usually applies to theatrical presentations....

What makes a piece of music dramatic is not clearly stated in copyright law, but Conrad M. Rippy, a lawyer who has worked in both theater and music, said that it generally needed to meet several criteria. “Is it performed in a place where you generally would perform a theatrical work? Are people wearing costumes? Does it advance a narrative story line?” Mr. Rippy said. “The closer you get to answer those questions ‘Yes,’ the more it looks like that’s a grand right. A tribute band playing a Frank Zappa song in a club meets none of those tests.”

Dweezil Zappa said that while his mother charged him an “exorbitant fee” to use the name Zappa Plays Zappa, he has never paid for a grand rights license....

"I used to write a comedy show. The letters I got were pretty awful — sexist, violent, rude."

"Some of them I still remember word for word. I wrote back to every person and responded very nicely. I asked them if they wanted to write an episode, and I said I would be really happy if they did and I would work with them. It was amazing how my putting a human face on the correspondence changed the tenor of it. Many responded to me. Some apologized. All were sheepish."

That's a letter from SAS in Newton, Massachusetts that the NYT received in response to its article — which we discussed here — about 2 women sportscasters who'd made a video of themselves listening to men reading their hate mail to them.

SAS's response reminds me of an episode of This American Life: "If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS."
So I did what you're not supposed to do. I fed the troll. I wrote about [him on line].

The morning after that post went up, I got an email. "Hey Lindy, I don't know why or even when I started trolling you.... I think my anger towards you stems from your happiness with your own being. It offended me because it served to highlight my unhappiness with my own self....

I'm done being a troll. Again, I apologize. I made a donation in memory to your dad. I wish you the best."
The episode continues with a phone conversation with the apologetic former troll, who says, among other things: "You know, it's like you stand on the desk and you say, I'm Lindy West, and this is what I believe in. Fuck you if you don't agree with me. And even though you don't say those words exactly, I'm like, who is this bitch who thinks she knows everything?"

April 29, 2016

Today at Lake Wingra...

... we saw some sandhill cranes:

Feel free to talk about whatever you want in the comments.

"Manly Health and Training" — a 47,000-word set of essays by Walt Whitman discovered by a grad student searching for Whitman's pseudonyms in a digitized newspaper database.

The University of Houston student, Zachary Turpin, found the pen name "Mose Velsor" in the database for The New-York Daily Tribune on Sept. 11, 1858, referring to something that was about to appear in The New York Atlas. Turpin ordered microfilm of The Atlas (which had not been digitized) from the relevant time period and saw that there were 13 installments: "It took about 24 hours for it to sink in."
“Manly Health,” with its references to “inspiration and respiration” and the importance of “electricity through the frame,” also echoes the language of earlier poems like “Song of Myself” and “I Sing the Body Electric,” recasting their themes in the more concrete spirit of a self-improvement manual....

Whitman’s first installment strikes a vatic, exclamatory note: “Manly health! Is there not a kind of charm — a fascinating magic in the words?” he writes, before outlining the path to “a perfect body, a perfect blood.”

That torrent of advice that follows touches on sex, war, climate, bathing, gymnastics, baseball, footwear, depression, alcohol, shaving and the perils of “too much brain action and fretting,” in sometimes rambling prose....
“One of Whitman’s core beliefs was that the body was the basis of democracy,” [said Ed Folsom, the editor of The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review]. “The series is a hymn to the male body, as well as a guide to taking care of what he saw as the most vital unit of democratic living.”
That's quoted from The New York Times, under the dismayingly lightweight headline "Walt Whitman Promoted a Paleo Diet. Who Knew?"

The Times flags a possible racism issue:
Whitman... includes a racially tinged discussion of the advantages of “our Teutonic ancestors” and other people of the northern climes. “While Whitman doesn’t state openly that a great America is a white America, he does suggest these other races will fall away,” Mr. Turpin said.
There's a hefty excerpt here. I liked: 

A fine animal man!

It's tough to predict what will happen in Indiana — "the toughest factor is the state’s own essential strangeness."

"What do I think, as a native son? I think Trump will do better here than most pundits predict. But I also think those pundits should spend less time talking about Trump and more time trying to understand our complicated, diverse, historically messy (and yet ultimately endearing) 50 states."

Writes Craig Fehrman at FiveThirtyEight.

ADDED: An old post of mine about Indiana: "In which of the states is it easiest to talk to strangers?" 

"Jerry Lewis just turned 90. It isn't trending on Facebook. Or Twitter."

"Because nobody on social media cares about or knows who the hell he is. To people my age, he's known as the guy who monopolized CBS affiliates all Labor Day weekend with his telethons for muscular dystrophy. To my dad's generation, he teamed with Dean Martin to be as big as the Beatles or Elvis.... But what isn't known is his influence in film[m]aking to legends from Spielberg, Tarantino, Eddie Murphy, just to name a few. He influenced me greatly 'look what Jerry Lewis does---he helps these folks out, and its a big person who gives back when they don't have to.' It's a huge reason why I try to get involved and help out as many wonderful non-profits (on a 1/100000th scale) it's important to give back. Its too bad as time goes on, he is slowly being forgotten. Happy 90th birthday, Mr. Lewis!"

Writes Andy Garcia.

It's funny, I read that just after writing a post about John Wayne's upcoming non-milestone birthday and, earlier this morning, having a discussion with Meade about another post — about the movie comedy that will depict Ronald Reagan with Alzheimer's disease — that including the use Jerry Lewis as an example. I was defending comedy that reaches into subjects that are not funny at all, not because I like everyone making light of what is serious, but because I recognize the special genius involved in successful transgression. Not that everyone agrees about what has been successful.

"I don’t know why they hacked my account. I didn’t do nothing to nobody. I’m harmless."

"I’m ready to play football, man. It’s a love for the game. It’s not all about the money."/"Man, it was a mistake. It happened years ago. Somebody hacked my Twitter account, and that’s how it got on there."

Said Laremy Tunsil, who might have been a #1 pick in the NFL draft, but "a bizarre video was posted on his Twitter account minutes before the start of the draft [that] showed a person smoking from a mask equipped with a bong."

"Opposing the John Wayne Day resolution is like opposing apple pie, fireworks, baseball, the Free Enterprise system and the Fourth of July!"

Said California state assemblyman Matthew Harper (a Republican), who "sought to declare May 26, 2016, as John Wayne Day to mark the day the actor was born" and encountered opposition:
He had disturbing views towards race," objected Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, leading off a 20-minute debate. Alejo cited a 1971 interview with Playboy in which Wayne [said] "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people"....

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, cited his comments defending white Europeans' encroachment on American Indians who Wayne once said "were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."
The article — at Fox5ny — nudged me to assume that we were approaching the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Wayne, which skewed me against the Alejo/Gonzalez position. But I caught myself, Googled for info, found out John Wayne was born in 1907, and must come down against Harper. Let it go. The second-most-liked John Wayne quote at Good Reads is: 
"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."
Think about it, Pilgrim.

For reference, here's the full text of the Playboy interview — PDF. Key passage:

"People who like milk chocolate have slightly different microbes in their intestines than those who prefer their chocolate dark

"... although researchers do not know why. Significant differences in the so-called microbiome are also found in individuals based on whether or not they eat a lot of fiber or take certain medications—such as the diabetes drug metformin, female hormones or antihistamines."

From "Findings from the Gut—New Insights into the Human Microbiome/A preference for dark versus milk chocolate, among other things, shows up in the kinds of healthy germs found in the gut" (in Scientific American).

"State court partly blocks Seattle trash recycling/composting requirements, because of risk of unconstitutional searches."

Eugene Volokh notes the case of Bonesteel v. City of Seattle.
Now you, learned reader, are doubtless wondering, “But what about California v. Greenwood, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that Fourth Amendment protections don’t generally apply to garbage?” And of course you’re right to so wonder; Greenwood concluded that....
Ha ha. I love the rhetorical device — must be a Greek name for it — of heading into something lofty or deep by portraying the reader as someone who's already thinking about it on that level.

Volokh explains Greenwood and proceeds to State v. Boland and makes the inconclusive conclusion of imagining "that searching materials turned over for disposal to determine whether they fit the rules about what qualifies for disposal might be different from searching such materials for evidence of unrelated crimes."

Live-streaming webcam of bald eagles' nest shows the birds arriving with dinner consisting of a cat.

That upset some people.


1. You're watching eagles do what eagles have evolved to do, just normal life.

2. Look to your own nature: Why are you peeping on the private life of animals? If anything's disgusting, you're disgusting for peeping. Turn your squeamish outcry against yourself.

3. It's poetic justice. Cats kill birds. Those who let their pussies run wild should remember that the nonnative species they set loose is ravaging the birds who are trying to get along in what is the ecosystem they earned through long years of evolution. Your feline pets are killing 3.7 billion birds annually. The turnabout seen in the webcam is small recompense for the damage done.

"I saw... that you intend to portray my father in the throes of Alzheimer’s for a comedy that you are also producing."

"Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer’s and other versions of dementia. Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous. Alzheimer’s doesn’t care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker. It steals what is most precious to a human being — memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime that we all come to rely on to hold our place secure in this world and keep us linked to those we have come to know and love. I watched as fear invaded my father’s eyes — this man who was never afraid of anything. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said, 'I don’t know where I am.' I watched helplessly as he reached for memories, for words, that were suddenly out of reach and moving farther away. For ten long years he drifted — past the memories that marked his life, past all that was familiar…and mercifully, finally past the fear.... Perhaps you would like to explain... how this disease is suitable material for a comedy."

Patti Davis writes an open letter to Will Ferrell.

There are many movies — many plot lines — that involve a character with memory loss. Usually, it's more abstract than Alzheimer's — the sort of hit-on-the-head amnesia we've never seen in family or friends. Alzheimer's seems to belong in drama, and the movie business makes things like "Away From Her," "Iris," etc. etc. But why not comedy? Some of the saddest, darkest, most sensitive matters make great comedy. There's no better comic movie than "Dr. Strangelove," which is about all of humanity dying in a nuclear holocaust.

Is there something unforgivably cruel about the comic portrayal of a particular human being who really did suffer through Alzheimer's? But this man was President of the United States. Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy. To be President of the United States is to be President of a place that speaks freely and disrespectfully about anyone who takes on a position of political authority and especially about the President of the United States.

Now, the script had better be good. It can't just be laughing at a person suffering from a disease. Here's a little insight into what it is:
[Beginning at] the start of Reagan’s second term... [t]he movie follows a dementia-addled Reagan as a White House intern tries to convince him that he is an actor playing the president in a movie....

The script was first debuted on the Black List, an annual catalog of top un-produced Hollywood scripts, and it was so popular that a table reading was scheduled last month with actress Lena Dunham, who played Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, along with “Star Trek” actor John Cho.

But, according to YAF program director Amy Lutz, who attended the reading... “Although I was impressed with the talent of the actors participating in the table read and the occasional wit of the script... the entire screenplay is detached from reality.... [The movie portrays Reagan] as a caricature that college professors often paint of him... a bumbling, forgetful man, wrestling in the throes of Alzheimer’s and beholden to ‘devious’ advisors. The screenplay, though written to be a humorous satire, rather makes light of Alzheimer’s and undercuts President Reagan’s accomplishments in his second term."
Some people might prefer a respectful presentation of the grand old President, but surely there is room for a comic exploration of the hypothesis that President Reagan, while still in office, had lost his mental faculties and the people around him were covering for him in terrifyingly absurd ways. Do it well, and it's a great comedy. They'd better believe they are doing it well. The stakes are high because they're appropriating the character of an American hero. We'll see what they do with it.

UPDATE: Will Ferrell has backed out of the project.
A source told us of the Reagan movie, “It wasn’t a complete project because there was no financing, and no director attached. Will considered the movie, but ultimately decided not to do it.”

Reps for Ferrell would not confirm if his decision not to proceed with the “Reagan” movie was a direct result of the outcry from the Reagan family.

Do you have an old movie that you feel you've watched many times...

... and then you channel-surf into into it one day, somewhere past the middle, and you start watching it and realize that all those other times you watched it — except, perhaps, the first — you didn't put up with watching it to the end, so you take advantage of the opportunity to see the part you've rarely seen and it's just way less good than the first part, the part you're familiar with, the part upon which your positive opinion has been based all these years?

That happened to me last night. What movie? I'll just give you a clue. The lead male character was played by an actor who was born in the same year as the actress who played his mother — his pathetically unattractive mother. Not long after that, this actress was offered a part in another movie where she would be playing the mother of a character to be played by Frank Sinatra, and she was 10 years younger than Sinatra. She declined.

April 28, 2016

The "meternity" leave.

It's maternity leave without having a baby — me... -ternity.
Women are bad at putting ourselves first. But when you have a child, you learn how to self-advocate to put the needs of your family first. A well-crafted “meternity” can give you the same skills — and taking one shouldn’t disqualify you from taking maternity leave later.

As for me, I did eventually give notice at my job and take a “meternity” of my own.... Ultimately, what I learned from my own “meternity” leave is that any pressure I felt to stay late at the office wasn’t coming from the parents on staff. It was coming from myself. Coming back to a new position, I realized I didn’t need an “excuse” to leave on time....
That's from Anna Davies, who has a book. Meanwhile, Arianna Huffington, who also has a book, is making herself about sleeping
“I want to rekindle our romance with sleep,” said Ms. Huffington, 65, in a lullaby voice as soothing as her floral perfume. “It’s a central part of life and a gateway to our dreams.”

Tiger nuts, "one of the absolute worst weeds in the world," want to be your new health food.

At NPR, "Loathed By Farmers, Loved By Ancients: The Strange History Of Tiger Nuts."

"One pair of [separated-at-birth] twins both suffered crippling migraines, owned dogs that they had named Toy, married women named Linda..."

"... and had sons named James Allan (although one spelled the middle name with a single 'l'). Another pair—one brought up Jewish, in Trinidad, and the other Catholic, in Nazi Germany, where he joined the Hitler Youth—wore blue shirts with epaulets and four pockets, and shared peculiar obsessive behaviors, such as flushing the toilet before using it. Both had invented fake sneezes to diffuse tense moments. Two sisters—separated long before the development of language—had invented the same word to describe the way they scrunched up their noses: 'squidging.' Another pair confessed that they had been haunted by nightmares of being suffocated by various metallic objects—doorknobs, fishhooks, and the like."

From "Same but Different/How epigenetics can blur the line between nature and nurture," by Siddhartha Mukerjee in The New Yorker.

"In the southeastern Chinese city of Quanzhou, a well-known Buddhist monk named Fu Hou has been mummified and encased in gold leaf."

"[T]he monk's body was washed, treated by two mummification experts, and sealed inside a large pottery jar in a sitting position... The monk's body was then sterilized and painted. The final step – gilding with gold leaf – started on March 16...."

The cardinal's nest.


Photo by Meade, who did not disturb the mother bird.

View of the eggs here.

"On Wednesday afternoon, professors at George Mason University protested the recent renaming of the law school after the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia."

"At a meeting full of angry student activists, the school’s faculty senate voted 21-13 to reopen the naming process."
The vote took issue with Scalia’s “numerous public offensive comments” about black people, women, and LBGT individuals, as well as his role in “the polarized climate in this country.” The professors also opposed the $30 million in donations from the Charles Koch Foundation and an anonymous donor that came along with the renaming, money that is supposed to be used for injecting economic analyses into interpretation of pollution laws.

Ted Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh," said John Boehner.

"I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life."

ADDED: He also said: "Don’t be shocked … if two weeks before the convention, here comes Joe Biden parachuting in and Barack Obama fanning the flames to make it all happen."

"There are few sights more disconcerting during a Supreme Court argument than smart justices playing dumb."

Linda Greenhouse expresses dismay over the Justices' [feigned] difficulty over the "lawfully present"/"legally present" distinction in immigration law.

"She is a woman, she is playing the woman card left and right. Frankly, if she didn’t, she would do very poorly."

"If she were a man and she was the way she is, she would get virtually no votes," said Donald Trump about, obviously, Hillary Clinton.

Now, of course, ironically, Trump — whose very name suggests a card game — is playing the woman card. He's playing the woman card on her, even as she, of course, plays the woman card over and over. He's trying to get the power out of the card, by making the playing of the card have the meaning: This is the only card I've got.

The question is whether this is a good move for Trump. I'm seeing some columns playing with Trump's statement — is there, literally, a card? But it might be a good move. He's setting it up so that every time she tries to excite us with the idea that we could have the supposedly great thrill of the first woman President, he'll be positioned to say: There she goes again — it's all she's got. Or he won't even have to say it. We'll think it.

Here's the joke Hillary's people wrote for her in response: "Mr. Trump accused me of playing the 'woman card.' Well, if fighting for women's health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the 'woman card,' then deal me in." Interesting key word: deal. That's the key word of Trump's campaign and Trump's life.

I must say that — whatever happens in this crazy Trump v. Clinton phase of the game — I think that in the long historical run, the women's hand will win the political game, and the interests of women in getting secure economic support from the government will prevail. In fact, I will not be surprised to see Trump undercut Hillary in the Women card game.

"Men get mean comments, too, but I think the context of it is quite different for women."

"It’s not just, like, 'You’re an idiot, and I’m mad at you for your opinion.' It’s: 'I hate you because you are in a space that I don’t want you in. I come to sports to get away from women. Why don’t you take your top off and just make me lunch?'"

From a NYT article "Female Journalists Fight Venom by Facing It on Camera," which features a video by radio sports commentators Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain, who sit and listen as mean comments are read to them. The readers of the comments are men, and something that's oddly unspoken is the assumption that the mean comments come from men.

The quote above is from Spain, and the writer of the article — Juliet Macur, herself a sports journalist — says something similar: "Men got mean notes, too, I was told. But as far as I can tell, none of the notes my male colleagues have ever received are laced with sexual connotations."

Could you be a little scientific about this?! Count something systematically, perhaps? I cannot believe that the hate comments sent to men are free of sexual material. (And I also don't believe the hate comes only from men.)

The writer considers the possibility of ignoring the ugliness that arrives through social media but says that's difficult because part of the sportswriter job now is to do social media and do it well and Twitter can be "a hostile place" where cruel assholes "can hide in anonymity and strike in a millisecond."

That seems to be a foundation for a legal argument, that when the employer makes social media — establishing a presence on Twitter, etc. — part of the job, there's a disparate impact on female employees and the employer should be held responsible for the sex discrimination.

April 27, 2016

"Paranoia strikes deep. Into your mind it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid...."

Thanks to Paul for linking to that in the comments to my "Feel the Berm" post.

ADDED: How did they film that?

Here's the video of Trump's foreign policy speech, the one that Cruz stepped on with his Fiorina's-my-VP announcement.

Classes just ended for the semester, and it's raining here in Wisconsin, where I'm nursing a bruised (broken?) rib after my feel-the-berm experience last Sunday, so I'm just going to settle in and watch Trump read the teleprompter. I watched a few minutes of it live. Got distracted by the hand gestures. It was like he was signing "L" and "O" repeatedly — LOL.

Here's the full transcript of the speech.

"The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed ready to side with Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia who was convicted of public corruption and faces two years in prison."

"Justices across the ideological spectrum said the laws under which he had been convicted gave prosecutors too much power to say that routine political favors amounted to corruption," writes Adam Liptak in the NYT.
“It puts at risk behavior that is common,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer. “That is a recipe for giving the Justice Department and prosecutors enormous power over elected officials.”

Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, was prosecuted on charges that he had used his office to help a businessman, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., who had showered the governor and his wife with luxury products, loans and vacations worth more than $175,000. The gifts themselves were legal, and the question in the case was whether they were part of a corrupt bargain in which Mr. McDonnell reciprocated by using the power of his office to help Mr. Williams....

Michael R. Dreeben, a lawyer for the federal government, said... a narrow definition was “a recipe for corruption” that would “send a terrible message to citizens.”

Justice Breyer responded that “I’m not in the business of sending messages in a case like this,” adding, “I’m in the business of trying to figure out the structure of the government.”

"Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, desperate to alter the course of a presidential primary fight... will announce Wednesday afternoon that Carly Fiorina will be his running mate if he wins the Republican nomination..."

"The move, a day after Mr. Trump scored unexpectedly wide victory margins in sweeping five East Coast states, amounts to the grandest diversionary tactic a presidential candidate can stage...."

ADDED: In choosing Fiorina, Cruz throws away a key argument that should be usable against Trump — that a career in business is inadequate preparation for the presidency.

"The Stop Trump movement is a flailing exercise in self-indulgence that cannot get its act together, let alone chart a path to victory."

"The movement’s most delusional champions imagined for a brief moment—around the time of the Wisconsin primary—that they could get things going for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the only Republican contender who is less appealing than Trump. Cruz won Wisconsin, but then started on a losing streak that began with a miserable third-place finish in New York—behind not just Trump but also Ohio Governor John Kasich. Now Cruz has lost five more states.... The movement’s anointed one, Ted Cruz, was not just losing. In at least three of the states, the Texan was running behind Kasich.... The Republican Party is melting down, not because of Trump or because of the Stop Trump challenge but because the whole mess is so dispiriting."

Writes John Nichols in The Nation.

"We're going to be working very closely with our friends in the Muslim world, which are all at risk for violent attacks.... This has to be a two-way street. They must also be good to us. It's no longer one way, it's two way."

Said Donald Trump in his big, scripted foreign-policy speech just now.

"Am I actually seeing vaginas here, am I a pervert? I’m either a pervert or this woman was a pervert."

Said the schoolteacher, drumming up interest in art by describing how someone viewing a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe might have felt. Allison Wint got fired for using the word "vagina" without prior approval as supposedly required by Harper Creek Middle School policy... though other teachers seem to be saying that what the policy requires is approval "before discussing reproductive health," and obviously the question of what a painting looks like is not about reproductive health.

I'd like to know the entire context, and so far I'm critical of the school for firing this woman, but I do have a few problems with what she said: 1. Please maintain the vulva/vagina distinction (especially if you want to rely on the claim that you were using anatomical terminology). 2. O'Keeffe paintings looking like genitalia is trite and probably too cheap of a way to try to get adolescents interested in art, and 3. Don't use the word "pervert" to describe people who are interested in looking at the details of genitalia! "Pervert" is the real bad word here. My dictionary — the OED — defines it as "A person whose sexual behaviour or inclinations are regarded as abnormal and unacceptable" and gives as the earliest historic use of the word — I'm not kidding — "The virulent fagotty-minded pervert Scheffler" (from 1856, R. A. Vaughan, Hours with Mystics).

Donald Trump did not just win in all of the 5 states yesterday. He won in every county in each of the 5 states.

The Hill reports.

ADDED: Trump also outperformed the Real Clear Politics poll average in each of the 5 states.

AND: The NYT's poll analyst Nate Cohn observes that his "demographic-based models systematically underestimated Mr. Trump’s performance."
Mr. Trump’s overperformance was broad — spanning nearly every kind of county across all of the states in play.

That raises the possibility of a broad shift in Mr. Trump’s favor over the last month....
And, just when Indiana was getting important, "He might not even need Indiana if he maintains the loyalty of the unbound delegates who said they would vote for the winner of their district in Pennsylvania, or simply if he wins big in California. And after Tuesday night, a big win in California looks quite possible."

Do you think Trump can't get elected because he's got such high unfavorability ratings and no one ever gets elected with negatives like that?

I've become bored at the sight of another column on that subject. You think Trump's speech is bad? How about the overwhelming badness of the speech about Trump? This one idea has been stated and stated so many times: Trump can't be popular because he's so unpopular. In the end he'll have to lose, because at some point all that unpopularity is going to have to catch up with and overtake the popularity.

Scott Adams rips into "The Unfavorability Illusion":
Literally everything about Trump’s campaign has violated form. He has no government experience, he isn’t polite, he hasn’t mastered the policy details, he isn’t taking money from big donors, and on and on. Yet he is poised to take the Republican nomination.

So none of the old rules apply to Trump.... No traditional politician could overcome a 70% unfavorability rating at this stage of the election cycle. But Trump isn’t a traditional politician.... Trump has special tools....
There follows a 13-point list of things Trump could do to win. You might think: That's a lot of points, but I think there's something we could call The List Illusion. The fact that there is a list with a 13 points gives the impression that there must 13 separate, distinctive things of relatively equivalent weight. But, come on. That's so many points. It's kind of a con within the dispelling of an illusion about a con. There's stuff like:
8. Trump has already improved his haircut. The color is no longer orange and the cut is much better. Humans are visual creatures, and that old haircut probably accounted for about 10 points of his 70% unfavorable rating....

12. Trump can push “love” over hate. As I predicted some time ago, he is already saying love, love, love. This persuasion will take lots of time and repetition to have an impact, but Trump has time, and he controls the rate of repetition.
Scott Adams can't lose. It's 1. funny and 2. interesting and 3. weird and 4. readable and 5. different and 6. Trump-related and 7. often presented in the form of a list and 8. he's bald and 9. we pre-love him for "Dilbert" and 10. he says love and 11. he's always telling us that it's for entertainment purposes only and 12. he's always already entertaining us and 13. 13 is a good number.

Man in Brooklyn gets sucker-punched by a guy who says: "This is because you look exactly like Shia LaBeouf!"

"I didn't even see the guy. I just see his fist coming towards me. It knocked me, and while I was falling down the stairs, all I hear was, 'This is because you look exactly like Shia LaBeouf!'"

WaPo columnist Kathleen Parker, trying her best to exemplify elitism, writes a column titled "Plato would be horrified by Trump’s rise."

Here. A commenter has an apt response:
As if Parker knows or cares anything about Plato. And as if her readers don't know and care even less. Plato was horrified by democracy itself. He thought the best form of government was one in which there's a dictator who's a philosopher. I'm supposed to care about what would horrify Plato?
I'm sure there's a Greek word for the rhetorical device of adopting the guise of someone else to deliver an opinion of one's own. It's a classic of religionists — who seem to know what God/Jesus/Muhammad thinks of what you are doing — and mothers — who've historically resorted to the terrifying news that your father wouldn't like that.

The column, by the way, was originally developed for a lecture she gave at the University of Virginia School of Law. She exhibits pride this provenance, but I can't imagine using the law school classroom to lambaste a particular political candidate.

April 26, 2016

Hillary and Trump win everything tonight.

There. That's all you need to know. You don't have to dwell on it. Tonight is simple.

COMPLICATION: Bernie takes Rhode Island and Connecticut is still not called.

$800 million of ISIS money...

... bombed to smithereens.

Meade titled the first picture "Feel the Berm."


That made a special impact on me.

Additional obstacles in my way, seen clearly now:


"Prince’s sister has said the superstar musician had no known will..."

"... and that she has filed paperwork asking a Minneapolis court appoint a special administrator to oversee his estate."
[Tyka] Nelson says in her filing that an emergency exists because immediate action is necessary to manage Prince’s business interests. She’s asked that Bremer Trust, a corporate trust company, be named administrator.

Donald Trump calls Lena Dunham "a B-actor" with "no mojo."

He was reacting to her tweeting that if he got elected, she'd move to Canada, so under the circumstances he wasn't being mean. Not too mean, anyway. And he was notably non-sexist. He said "actor" (not "actress," not that I think "actress" is bad) and he said "mojo" (a term for "sex appeal" or prowess in general that, if anything, skews male).

And I'm sure I've made this point before, but why does anyone think leaving the country is a strong statement of opposition to a particular President? Only you are leaving the country. The country is stuck with this President you think is so terrible. Isn't your objection to what this person will do to the country as opposed to you personally? What is accomplished by your departure? It seems to me that you're only serving your own interest in escape from what you don't like to experience, but the experience of someone being the President is, for most of us, only reading and hearing about it, and the news will still reach you in Canada. It's just so self-involved and self-coddling and upper-middle-class entitled, but perhaps that's the character she plays on Twitter and it's supposed to sound lame and confused, like the character she plays on "Girls."

Trump's joking continued: "Now I have to get elected because I'll be doing a great service to our country. Now it's much more important. In fact, I'll immediately get off this call and start campaigning right now." Now, now, now.

"Coke heads! What're ya gonna do? Gotta love Bernie Boy. He's crazeeee...."

"God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod: The Art of Loving Correction for Christian Parents."

One of many books the librarians of Awful Library Books have targeted for deaccessioning. And:
Sometimes it’s the subject matter that seems absurd. Of “Wax in Our World,” a nonfiction book for young adults, Kelly said, “Who came into a publisher’s office and said, you know, the kids really need a book about wax?”
The idea is to free up space by removing books that are actually bad rather than going by how often the book has been checked out. Many great books are rarely checked out, but you should want them on the shelves.

AND: Though I laughed hysterically reading that bit about wax, I sobered up and read the Wikipedia article on wax and think it is a great topic for a young adult book. It could spark interest in chemistry and manufacturing. Kids are familiar with beeswax and ear wax and candles and crayons. What makes wax wax? What is wax useful for? There are wax museums — why wax? — and lava lamps. There's the lost-wax method of casting sculpture. There's sealing wax and ancient wax writing tablets. There's waxed paper and wax shoe polish. There's the wax put around cheeses. You might excite some girls (and boys) about chemistry with the wax that's in lipstick and mascara. There's the wax you put on skis and snowboards. There's the wax used in making designs on batik fabric and on Easter eggs. And it's good for jokes:
Wagstaff's Receptionist: The Dean is furious! He's waxing wroth!
Professor Wagstaff: Is Roth out there, too? Tell Roth to wax the Dean for awhile.

Listen to Debbie Wasserman Schultz splutter when questioned about why she called the FBI investigation into Hillary's email "ludicrous."

Here's the transcript:

"It is wholly unacceptable to haul children away from school in handcuffs for a charge that does not actually exist."

"The growing trend of criminalizing students — particularly students of color — within our educational system must stop," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the A.C.L.U. in Tennessee, after 10 children under the age of 12 were arrested in Murfreesboro in a reaction to a YouTube video showing them (allegedly them) in a YouTube video bullying a little boy.
“We have built our lives trying not to get in trouble,” [said the father of 3 of the arrested children]. “We don’t drink, don’t do drugs. We have lived and tried to live as blasé as possible, never trying to do more than we need to do, and we raise our kids to be model citizens so they don’t get in trouble. It is disheartening to us that our kids have to go through this.” 
Here's the video.

"This week on the music charts, Prince is No. 1. And No. 2, and No. 6, and on and on."

#1 is "The Very Best of Prince" — which is understandable. And the #6 one is another compilation ("The Hits: The B-Sides"). So what's the album of all the albums? "Purple Rain" — at #2.

If you want to buy albums, what should you get? My son John wrote this:
I can't recommend highly enough, listening to Prince's albums from 1982 to 1988: 1999, Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, Parade, Sign o' the Times, and Lovesexy. Of course, he made tons of other great music, but that string of albums in the '80s is truly mind-blowing. There's so much material on there that's at least as good as the hits.
Personally, I was extremely bonded to 1999, Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, and Sign o' the Times.

"Beyoncé’s latest track is a spirited feminist anthem that sharply strikes at the patriarchy beginning with the opening verse, 'Ladies, don’t ever let your man tell you what to do'..."

"'... before offering potent validation to her predominantly female listeners by stating that "High-quality streaming audio was made for queens like you,"' wrote New Yorker music critic Carrie Battan in a review of the new track...."

From "Beyoncé Quickly Releases New Song About How Buying Tidal Subscription Most Empowering Thing A Woman Can Do" in The Onion, which takes off on the same New Yorker piece I was making fun of yesterday.

"Donald Trump is bristling at efforts to implement a more conventional presidential campaign strategy..."

"... and has expressed misgivings about the political guru behind them, Paul Manafort, for overstepping his bounds, multiple sources close to the campaign tell POLITICO."
Trump became upset late last week when he learned from media reports that Manafort privately told Republican leaders that the billionaire reality TV star was “projecting an image” for voters and would begin toning down his rhetoric, according to the sources....

“I think it pisses him off that [Manafort] was getting free television by going on the shows and now Paul Manafort is out there resurrecting his career,” said one campaign operative. Citing Manafort’s advocacy within the campaign for an expensive advertising push in upcoming states, the operative said Trump is “saying I can get on every show I want for free and you're telling me not to do that and that I should pay for my advertising? That doesn't pass the smell test to me.”...

On Monday, as [Trump] again mocked the idea of behaving in a more “presidential” manner at two rallies in Pennsylvania, Trump called John Kasich a “slob” after calling attention to his penchant for eating too much on the campaign trail and blasted him and Cruz, whom he called “an ass,” for “colluding” to stop him — every broadside delivered in his trademark vernacular and an implicit rebuke to those handlers looking to rein him in.
Elsewhere in Politico: "9 photos of John Kasich eating on the campaign trail."
“He has a news conference all the time when he's eating. I have never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion,” Trump said, imitating the noshing. “This guy takes a pancake and he's shoving it in his mouth. It’s disgusting.” While Trump has managed to avoid the cameras during mealtime, Kasich has broken bread with them, as readers can see from these flavorful shots from the campaign trail.
Isn't Kasich trying to make up for that one time he got caught on camera eating pizza with a fork? He's trying to look "disgusting" — i.e., like a man of the people, chomping hard into hand-held stuff — isn't he?

Food-eating used to be a cliché campaign photo-op. Bob Dylan sang about it in 1963:
Now, the man on the stand he wants my vote
He’s a-runnin’ for office on the ballot note
He’s out there preachin’ in front of the steeple
Tellin’ me he loves all kinds-a people
(He’s eatin’ bagels
He’s eatin’ pizza
He’s eatin’ chitlins
He’s eatin’ bullshit!)

"Just a quick optics thing: You will look happy."

Says Huma Abedin and "I can't believe I gave the press the finger" says Anthony Weiner... in the very entertaining trailer for the move "Weiner":

April 25, 2016

"2016 MLB Predictions/Each team’s rating and its chances of advancing to the playoffs."

At FiveThirtyEight. 

The Kasich-Cruz deal: "Mr. Kasich won’t compete in Indiana; Mr. Cruz won’t compete in New Mexico and Oregon."

"When you consider the delegate rules of these states, it’s an arrangement that could give the non-Trump candidates a much better chance of denying Mr. Trump the nomination," muses Nate Cohn at the NYT.
[T]he whole Republican contest could come down to Indiana. The state has 57 pledged delegates, and it awards those delegates on a winner-take-all basis statewide and by congressional district. As a result, the difference between a narrow win and a loss is huge for Mr. Trump. If he wins statewide — even by a point — it will be fairly easy for him to reach 1,237 delegates with a victory in California, which on paper is probably an easier state for him than Indiana.

The most recent polls show Mr. Trump leading in Indiana with around 40 percent of the vote. That’s a number low enough for him to be vulnerable, but Mr. Kasich has been at 19 percent in an average of the same surveys — giving Mr. Cruz a very narrow path to victory.
So... Kasich is stepping aside, but that doesn't prevent Hoosiers from voting for him, if he's their style. Meanwhile, is Cruz boosted by this deal? It seems to me that it makes him look like a deal maker, which changes his brand. His brand is principle and ideology. Not only is deal-maker not Cruz's brand, it's Trump's brand.

AND: "Ted Cruz-John Kasich Alliance Against Donald Trump Quickly Weakens":
Mr. Cruz trumpeted what he called the “big news” in Indiana, a state that appears pivotal to stopping Mr. Trump from winning a majority of delegates. “John Kasich has decided to pull out of Indiana to give us a head-to-head contest with Donald Trump,” the Texas senator said.

But at his own campaign stop in Philadelphia on Monday, Mr. Kasich tamped down Mr. Cruz’s triumphalism. Voters in Indiana, Mr. Kasich said, “ought to vote for me,” even if he would not be campaigning publicly there. He added, “I don’t see this as any big deal.”
So he's not good at deals. Don't tout the deal before it's locked down. Cruz seems to have offended Kasich somehow. Deal-maker is not his forte.

ALSO: A dialogue at FiveThirtyEight, "Will The Kasich-Cruz Alliance Work?" Excerpt:
natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): My question is whether you guys are looking at this too much in a vacuum. Yes, if you combined Cruz’s and Kasich’s support, Trump would probably lose Indiana. But as I wrote this weekend, the most important development of the past couple of weeks might be that Trump is successfully persuading Republicans that “the system is rigged,” or at least that he’s clearly going to win the plurality so they might as well get this over with.

clare.malone: Are you wondering if the sheeple are going to follow this directive, Nate?

natesilver: I think some of Kasich’s voters will follow it, yes. But I also think it could give Trump a good talking point and persuade some undecided Republicans to go with Trump.
I agree. It reinforces Trump's narrative.

Found in our little yard...


... a cardinal's eggs!

Finding and photographing by Meade.

IN THE COMMENTS: Quaestor said: "Wasn't there an egg on the sidewalk some years ago that we debated the identity of?"

Yes! Here: "Breakage." It looked like this:


Not the same. Blue with spots, but different.

What is in the 28 suppressed pages of the 9/11 report?

Chuck Todd asked former Senator Bob Graham (co-chair of that congressional inquiry):
SEN. BOB GRAHAM: Chuck, to me, the most important unanswered question of 9/11 is did these 19 people conduct this very sophisticated plot alone, or were they supported? I think it's implausible to think that people who couldn't speak English, had never been in the United States before, as a group were not well-educated could have done that. So who was the most likely entity to have provided them that support? And I think all the evidence points to Saudi Arabia. We know that Saudi Arabia started Al Qaeda. It was a creation of Saudi-- of Saudi Arabia..

CHUCK TODD: And when you say Saudi Arabia, are you saying the government? Or are you saying wealthy individuals who happen to be Saudi Arabian?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: That is a very murky line. Saudi Arabia has made it murky by its own legal action. Whenever a U.S. group sues a Saudi Arabian entity, whether it's a bank, a foundation, a charity, immediately, the defense of sovereign immunity is raised. The Saudis don't recognize the difference between a royal decision and a societal decision in the same way that other countries might. So I think it covers a broad range, from the highest ranks of the kingdom through these, what would be private entities.
And: "The Obama administration will likely soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11...."

The NYT frets about "street behavior" in San Francisco.

This is an odd report: "San Francisco Torn as Some See ‘Street Behavior’ Worsen." Much of it is told from the point of view of a woman named Judith Calson who looks out her window on Lombard Street and sees thieves smashing car windows*:
“The problem with auto break-ins is that they happen so quickly, just a few seconds,” [said Albie Esparza, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department]. “Before anyone can do anything about it, they are long gone.”...

Police are barred by city ordinance from installing surveillance cameras that are commonly found in other cities...

On Wednesday, another car was broken into below her window. A woman who was dropping off her daughter at a day care center had parked for 10 minutes and returned to find her window smashed and her purse gone.

“It’s just insane,” Ms. Calson said. “On and on and on it goes.”
I'm for surveillance cameras and criminal law enforcement and no thievery, but come on people, don't leave a purse visible in an unattended car. Maybe the police should bait some cars with purses containing a tracking device. (In Sacramento, there's a successful bait bike program.)

*   Presumably not with a baseball bat wearing a canary-yellow dress.

"Beyoncé... walks through the street smashing car windows with a baseball bat, wearing a fluffy canary-yellow dress."

Writes Carrie Battan in The New Yorker, which isn't as punctilious about grammar as it once was.

Beyoncé smashes car windows with a baseball bat, wearing a fluffy canary-yellow dress. Why the bat had to wear a dress, I'll never know.

I haven't watched the new Beyoncé video and I have a low tolerance for Battan's effusive, messy prose. But I do see that Beyoncé's car destruction expresses her anger about her husband's cheating on her, and then in the end, they reconcile: "'My torturer became my remedy,' she says, 'so we’re gonna heal.'" What happened to the old "feminist" label? According to Battan:
Last time around, Beyoncé announced herself to the world as a feminist. This time, she takes that label, turns it inward and intensifies it. “Lemonade” declares that misogyny is at its most potent and complex within the bonds of love.
Takes that label, turns it inward and intensifies it... So embracing your "torturer" is the new, inward, intensified feminism?

ADDED: Mollie Hemingway writes:
One of the lines in the album is “He only want me when I’m not on there / He better call Becky with the good hair.” So cut to the next morning when the very woman rumored to have been Jay Z’s mistress posts on Instagram that she has “good hair don’t care.” Queen Bey’s devoted fans immediately took after Rachel Roy — and, for good measure, celebrity chef Rachel Ray as well.

April 24, 2016

At the Rueful Café...


... there's nothing to regret.

(The photo, taken yesterday, shows the rue anemone blooming on Picnic Point.)

"Pirate Party’s leader detained in Germany for citing poem about Erdogan."

That's a real headline. There is a Pirate Party in Germany. The head of its Berlin branch — the delightfully named Bruno Kramm — was in fact arrested. "Citing" is a bit confusing. Kramm was caught talking about and quoting some of the poem by the German comedian Jan Boehmermann that mocked the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and he was doing that in front of the Turkish embassy in Berlin as part of a rally. Like Boehmermann, Kramm was arrested under the provision of the German criminal code that prohibits insulting "organs and representatives of foreign states."

As one activist put it, the police had warned them against "performing critical dialectical analysis of the Boehmermann’s poem."

"These are neat? I guess? In that someone made effort and put something that I can kind of identify with on the web."

Says a Metafilter participant, reacting to "Extremely Accurate Charts for Book Nerds." The commenter continues:
[T]he older I get, the less I identify with books being cool for their own sake. This may be a function of hyperabundance, both of texts of any sort (Kindle, magazines, www, &c.) and of actual books--books, which are harder and harder to unload at used bookstores or even Goodwill because of that same hyperabundance. I live in a small place, our home library has something close to a book-in, book-out policy.

I love to read, I can't not read, but I guess I don't care as much about the substrate as I used to.

"10 Reasons Falling For Shameless Click Bait Makes You A Bad Mother."

A 2013 Onion slideshow — funny enough... but you shouldn't click — that I ran across while casually researching the theory that the day is going to come when people will have acquired a robust resistance to clickbait.

I devised this theory after encountering (just now, in my Facebook feed) "Donald Trump gets into Twitter war with Modern Family writer—is obliterated" — which goes to a Daily Kos article from last summer that ends with "A reader brought to my attention that this twitter battle happened 2 years ago!"

My comment at Facebook:
Should we be promoting stories with clickbait headlines like "is obliterated"? Also, that's some ugly eliminationisticness, "obliterated." If we're supposed to loathe Trump for his brutish language, are we not hypocritical to jump at "obliterated"?
I'm quoting myself here because I like to use my civility bullshit tag.

"Watch: Frank Kaminsky scores 15 points in first NBA Playoffs start."

"Charlotte Hornets forward and former University of Wisconsin standout Frank Kaminsky III scored 15 points in his first career start in the NBA Playoffs to help Charlotte to a 96-80 win over the Miami Heat on Saturday."

"Paradoxically, Justice Antonin Scalia..." — I'm not seeing the paradox.

From "Pseudoscience in the Witness Box/The FBI faked an entire field of forensic science," by Dahlia Lithwick:
Paradoxically, Justice Antonin Scalia has emerged as a vocal early skeptic about the risk of taint in the work of crime labs, even though he contended in 2006 that, “It should be noted at the outset that the dissent does not discuss a single case—not one—in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred in recent years, we would not have to hunt for it; the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops by the abolition lobby.” It is clearer now than ever that crime labs and prosecutors’ officers do make mistakes, shameful, devastating mistakes, and that they don’t usually distinguish between capital and noncapital cases when they do so.
What's the paradox? It sounds coherent to me — concern about evidence and the proper role of the court.

By the way, the original meaning of "paradox," now obsolete, was "A statement or tenet contrary to received opinion or belief, esp. one that is difficult to believe" (OED). The current meaning is "an apparently absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition, or a strongly counter-intuitive one, which investigation, analysis, or explanation may nevertheless prove to be well-founded or true" or "A proposition or statement that is (taken to be) actually self-contradictory, absurd, or intrinsically unreasonable." So, Scalia's 2 positions may be paradoxical to those who don't immediately see the coherence, as I did. Lithwick may have a point of view and assume the reader shares it, which makes "Paradoxically" an exciting segue rather than what it felt like to me — distracting nodding at the we-loathe-Scalia crowd.

"... and a white man does not bring much 'wow' factor for Democrats these days."

From a NYT article titled "Who Might Hillary Clinton's Running Mate Be if She's the Nominee?," under the "Why he might not be the best choice" heading for Tim Kaine:
Mr. Kaine might be too moderate for the activist base, and a white man does not bring much 'wow' factor for Democrats these days. He might also be too obvious a pick to make a splash, and his support for trade deals could hurt the ticket, as well. 

I would like government that doesn't wow. I'd prefer to get my wows from things other than government officials.

In the larger scheme of things, life is better when government does nothing that makes you say "wow."

And I look forward to the day when the fact that someone doing something is a woman or a nonwhite person is no reason to say "wow."

And who says "wow" seriously anymore? Isn't "wow" much more likely to be said sarcastically? I have the feeling that if I just write "wow" in a few more sentences, you will perceive "wow" as an entirely idiotic word that can never be used — including in that pushback way that's popular amongst the censorious scolds. Wow... as in: I cannot believe you said that rather ordinary thing you just said. I've about had it with "wow."

I lived through the old hippie days when the range of vocabulary got very narrow and "wow" was one of the few remaining words. Steve Jobs, down to his last 2 words, said, "Oh, wow." In fact, 3 of his last 6 words were "wow" (the other 3 were "oh").

But we're not dying yet, not most of us anyway, and we need to keep our wits about us, and that means resisting the "wow."

Don't say "wow," and don't look for the "wow." We don't need "wow" in our politicians. Leave "wow" to the pop stars...
You never saw it coming 'cause I make no claims 'til now
You can call it the unexpected or you can call it... wow!
You can call it call it... wow!
You can call it call it call it... wow!
You can call it the unexpected or you can call it call it call it call it...
Gimme a minute.
Let me get myself together.
I'm never really out of control.
Really, I'm so much better.
Maybe it's your eyes, your stare lookin' like...
Lookin' like you wanna go somewhere.
You wanna go somewhere?
Yesterday, we were walking out on Picnic Point with our borrowed dog Zeus, and we crossed paths with a couple with a little toddler who was so interested in the dog that she started following us. We turned back and interacted with the parents and talked about "our" dog and their child's interest in dogs. English was not their first language, and the man, talking to the child about the dog, made the sound a dog makes not the way we do — not "bow wow" — but "how how."

And I'm thinking, you politicians, I don't want wow. I want how.

Did the NYT intentionally make this article — guilt-tripping readers for traveling by plane instead of cars — unsearchable on its website?

Lying in bed, browsing on my iPhone, I encountered a NYT article — with the innocuous, soothing title "How to Travel the Earth And Protect It, Too" — that went surprisingly strongly in the direction of condemning all air travel. I've added the boldface:
Simply going on a trip makes you something of a carbon hog... [W]e have bypassed the thicket of greenwashing prevalent in travel marketing, and instead asked experts at leading environmental groups how they approach travel....

Where to go.... The environmental purists’ answer is that it’s ideal to go nowhere.... The second-best thing to staying home... is venturing just a few hours away...

How to get there. Getting to and from your destination will almost certainly account for the biggest carbon chunk of your entire vacation, especially if you fly far away....

Driving will usually be better than flying, particularly if there is more than one person in the car, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit organization that helped uncover the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Planes burn an enormous amount of fuel, especially during takeoff and landing.

Thus, according to the council’s analysis, which covered trips of 300 to 500 miles, an S.U.V. with two or more people is better, carbon wise, than flying....

If you’re traveling beyond 500 miles, you will most likely fly, which is an extremely carbon-intense activity. An economy-class round-trip flight between New York and Paris, for example, can generate one or more metric tons of carbon emissions (depending on the calculator), whereas a resident of the United States generates annual carbon emissions of 17 metric tons on average....
That's some strong anti-flying information, the strongest I can remember seeing in the NYT. I was eager to blog that. Switching to my desktop computer, I went to the NYT website and did a search and then another and another, using some of the obvious keywords: carbon hog, greenwashing, enormous. The search engine treats the article as nonexistent. Did the NYT do that intentionally?