September 16, 2017

Professor Bret Weinstein settles his case against Evergreen State College for $500,000.

He (and his wife) originally sued for $3.85 million, and he is resigning from the job.

"Cake Is His ‘Art.’ So Can He Deny One to a Gay Couple?"

A fair presentation by Adam Liptak in the NYT of what's at stake in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
Jack Phillips bakes beautiful cakes, and it is not a stretch to call him an artist.... “It’s more than just a cake,” he said at his bakery one recent morning. “It’s a piece of art in so many ways.”

The couple he refused to serve, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, filed civil rights charges. They said they had been demeaned and humiliated as they sought to celebrate their union. “We asked for a cake,” Mr. Craig said. “We didn’t ask for a piece of art or for him to make a statement for us. He simply turned us away because of who we are.”
What is art? Why does it matter? Does artier artisan work get counted as speech?
“Because of my faith, I believe the Bible teaches clearly that it’s a man and a woman,” [said Mr. Phillips]. Making a cake to celebrate something different, he said, “causes me to use the talents that I have to create an artistic expression that violates that faith.”...

“Our story is about us being turned away and discriminated against by a public business,” said Mr. Mullins, 33, an office manager, poet, musician and photographer.

Getting it together.

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I'm up to Step 4 in transforming the rarely used living room into The Music Room.

(Please use this post as an open thread... which means that I must add: Please consider doing any shopping you might have through The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"Although you will spend most of the painful, torturous and stressful two hours it takes to survive mother! trying to figure out what it’s all about..."

"... I advise you to ignore the reviews entirely and make up your own fantasy. One critic says it’s a satire on the chaos the dysfunctional world has been turned into by Donald Trump.... One reviewer says [Jennifer Lawrence] plays the quintessential Earth mother who works feverishly to restore balance to a planet Earth that is being constantly torn apart by wickedness and savagery. I love the review that compares the movie to the 'lancing of a boil.' They all insist mother! is a metaphor for something, although they are not quite sure what it is.... The New York Times critic arrogantly warns in his review: 'Don’t listen to anyone who natters on about how intense or disturbing it is.' Sorry, pal, but [SPOILER ALERT] a mob that burns a screaming baby and its mother alive, then turns cannibal, eats the baby and rips its heart out to flush down the toilet while Patti Smith sings about the end of the world pretty much fits my definition of both 'intense' and 'disturbing.' What’s yours?"

Writes Rex Reed. In addition to a rating of zero stars, Reed opines that “Worst movie of the year” isn't enough and calls it the “Worst movie of the century.” It's just too early in the century to be saying that though, so Reed seems to be of a piece with the culture of hysteria that's giving us movies like this.

"Singing and acting are actually very similar things. Anyone can sing and anyone can be a film actor. All you have to do is learn."

"I learned to sing when I was a child I had a babysitter named Thelma. She was 18, I was six, and I was in love with her. I used to sing her an old Jimmie Rodgers song, 'T for Thelma.' [He sings:] 'T for Texas, T for Tennessee, T for Thelma, that girl made a wreck out of me.' [He smiles:] I was singing the blues when I was six. Kind of sad, eh?"

Blogged here in 2013. He was Harry Dean Stanton, who died yesterday at the age of 91. Here's the NYT obit. Excerpt:
[H]e remained largely unknown to the general public until 1984, when the seemingly impossible, or at least the unexpected, happened: Mr. Stanton, the quintessential supporting player, became a leading man.

That year he starred as a wandering amnesiac reunited with his family in Wim Wenders’s “Paris, Texas,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and as a fast-talking automobile thief training Emilio Estevez in the ways of his world in Alex Cox’s cult comedy “Repo Man.”...

Mr. Stanton was never anonymous again, although he continued to make his contributions almost entirely in supporting roles. He played Molly Ringwald’s underemployed father in the teenage romance “Pretty in Pink” (1986), the apostle Paul in Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988), a private eye in David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart” (1990), a judge in Terry Gilliam’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998), the hero’s ailing brother in Mr. Lynch’s “The Straight Story” (1999), a veteran inmate cheerfully testing the electrocution equipment in “The Green Mile” (1999) and Charlie Sheen’s father in “The Big Bounce” (2004)... [and] Roman Grant, a self-proclaimed prophet with 14 wives, on [HBO's] “Big Love”...

"And lo! There, right infront of us, was the so hyped ‘white giraffe’ of Ishaqbini conservancy!"

"They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence. The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards infront of us while signalling the baby Giraffe to hide behind the bushes..."



Hirola Conservation Programme Director & Founder, Dr. Abdullahi Ali says:
"I am positive these rare giraffes will change the perception of outsiders regarding north eastern Kenya in which many people have negative perceptions. I remember two years while I was in the US someone asked me where do you come from in Kenya and I said Garissa in Eastern Kenya. Her immediate response was that 'there is a lot of nothing there.' Snowy white giraffes and the rare hirola are [of] course not everywhere!"

"Summary of Clay Travis vs CNN."

The heart-shaped boob challenge.

"People are squishing their boobs into hearts, for reasons we don’t entirely understand...."

More examples here.

Jeremy Hillary Boob, Ph.D.



"Jeremy Hillary Boob, Ph.D., is a fictional character appearing in the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine."
Jeremy Hillary Boob was originally named Jeremy Y. du Q. Adams, after Southern Methodist University professor Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams. The character of Jeremy was intended as a parody of public intellectuals and polymaths, most notably theatrical director and doctor, Jonathan Miller, whom story writer Lee Minoff had previously worked with. He is also alleged to have been inspired by Cambridge poet J.H. Prynne.
From 2016: "The Dallas Man Who Inspired Yellow Submarine's Jeremy Hillary Boob Has Died."
“What parents do to kids is awful,” [Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams] said in an interview with the Observer in June, 2015. Back in the '60s, he was going by Jeremy Y. du Q. Adams, which his friend Erich Segal, who invented the character, loved. The character’s name was originally Jeremy Y. du Boob before being changed to Jeremy Hillary Boob....
Apparently, "Hillary" is funnier than "Y. du Q."

Why did Clay Travis say "I believe in the First Amendment and boobs," and what's the best thing Brooke Baldwin could have said in response?

I put the clip up yesterday, and said little other than that Travis clearly meant to say it and had no regret about saying it. I'm interested in figuring out what he was trying to make happen. He's a radio guy. Is he a shock jock? Was it just: Here's my opportunity, I'll get everyone talking about me? Or did he think he could trigger a substantive discussion about freedom of speech or the looks-based success of women in TV journalism?

Brooke Baldwin, the female CNN host, handled the comment by repeatedly asking Travis if he'd really said "boobs," emphasizing her own status "as a woman," giving the other guest (Keith Reed) a chance to speak (but cutting him off 3 times when he was speaking), and then announcing "I'm done, yanking mikes, bye."

Baldwin has a written piece at CNN now, "Speaking like this to women in 2017? No way." She reveals that her own response to was to "let it hang," but her executive producer (a man) started talking to her in her earpiece, and that's why "I just couldn't let this go."
I quickly felt myself turning red -- getting irritated and angry. My mind was racing. My face, I could tell, was incredulous. In the thick of it all, I could see my other guest, Keith Reed, was equally aghast. The newsroom around me fell silent. I was staring into the camera trying to make sense of what was unfolding on live television.... And then I did something I've done only a handful of times in my career. I told the control room to kill his mic and said "bye."
The stages: 1. Disbelief, 2. Anger, 3. End of discussion.

Rewatching the video, what bothers me most is that Baldwin cuts Reed off. He's saying lucid things, responding to Travis appropriately. Anyway, I understand the reaction that Travis wouldn't have gotten on the show in the first place if they'd known he would say that, but I wish that instead of Baldwin's theater of disbelief, anger, and silencing, she'd confronted him with intelligence and strength. Why — if she's good enough to be a CNN host — couldn't she get out a pithy question requiring Travis to connect up his thoughts? I'm thinking of something like: Did you come on my show to play the clown or do "boobs" — as you inelegantly put it — have something to do with your idea of why Curt Schilling got fired and Jamele Hill did not? 

Dominate him. Don't let him melt you!

Baldwin claims that Travis's remark was unexpected, but according to Callum Borchers at WaPo, "Clay Travis used his ‘First Amendment and boobs’ line long before he shocked CNN." Travis was invited on Baldwin's show after he'd written:
I don’t believe Jemele Hill should be fired for tweeting Donald Trump was a white supremacist and for recently saying police officers are modern-day slave catchers. I also don’t believe Curt Schilling should have been fired for what he said about the North Carolina transgender bathroom law or any of the other conservative political positions he’s adopted over the years. That’s because I’m a First Amendment absolutist — the only two things I 100 percent believe in are the First Amendment and boobs — who is also capable of doing something that most in modern media seem incapable of — distinguishing between a person’s public job and their private political beliefs. (Which are also public thanks to modern-day social media.)
Borchers writes:
And that wasn't the first time. Travis wrote in June 2015 that “absolutism on either the right or the left is scary to me — which is why I’m a radical moderate — who believes in only two things absolutely: the First Amendment and boobs."

When Baldwin appeared stunned and disgusted by Travis's quip on Friday, he replied, “I say it live on the radio all the time.”

This is who Travis is. CNN ought to have known what it was getting.
All right then. I assume CNN did know. In which case, the whole hoo-ha is fake news. CNN got its viral clip circulating, and however many people now view Clay Travis as toxic, I'm sure he getting lots of new listeners for his podcast. Let me look for that page. Oh! Here's Travis discussing the incident (warning: big boobs):
So I just went on CNN to discuss the collapse of MSESPN and said I didn’t believe Jemele Hill or Curt Schilling should be fired because I believe completely in only two things that have never let me down — the first amendment and boobs. And when I said that CNN got totally and completely triggered. Seriously, this thing plays out like an SNL skit. The other guy sputters and goes straight into offended pearl clutching mode.
That has an update:
CNN is so offended by my comments that they already asked me to come back on Monday. And, for the record, I will be on Fox News tomorrow night.
In the end, it's all about ratings. That's what they really believe in. Forget all the I-can't-believe-you-said-that-in-this-day-and-age, if it makes us watch, they'll be saying it more. In the end, they'll give the people what we want. Demand in the marketplace of ideas overcomes censorship. And that thought shines a different light on the remark "I believe in the First Amendment and boobs" and transforms it into a proposition I heartily endorse.

ADDED: For reference, here's how CNN — the woman with a man in her earpiece — presents Brooke Baldwin:



IN THE COMMENTS: Quoting me — "Did you come on my show to play the clown or do 'boobs' — as you inelegantly put it — have something to do with your idea of why Curt Schilling got fired and Jamele Hill did not?" — rhhardin says "Boobs are her job so that domination isn't going to work."

I'd never noticed Baldwin until this boobs thing erupted, but now that I've watched the clip embedded above, I see the problem very clearly. Baldwin is disempowered and silenced. She cannot address the issue head on. She's too implicated.

She's got a man talking into her ear. The producer is prodding her to react, but how can she say the interesting, probing thing I'd like to hear? What does she really think about boobs in media? She can't talk about it.

So we get women on TV, and they're pushed to talk about women's issues, but they can't really do it. Their value is appropriated and drained. And the sexist view of women is amplified: She's put in skimpy clothes, sculpted with contouring makeup, and left with nothing to say about sexism except to get flustered and mad, as prompted by a male ventriloquist.

September 15, 2017

At the Mystery of IKEA Café...

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... you'd better get yourself together.

(And shop, if you like, through The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"I believe in only 2 things completely: the First Amendment and boobs."



That's Clay Travis, a Fox Sports radio host, and CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, whose outrage unfolds slowly (with backup from former ESPN Senior Editor Keith Reed).

Travis did not just blurt that out. He seems as though he was absolutely prepared to say that and he repeats it, even as Baldwin carefully works her way to a slight simmer and ends the interview.

In the video, we join the conversation in progress. Reading here (at EW), I think they were talking about Jemele Hill (the ESPN reporter who tweeted that Trump and his supporters are “white supremacists”) and that Travis was on the show to opine that ESPN has become “leftist.”

"My heart is in pieces right now...my soul feels like it's ripping from my chest...this beautiful young man my son Jackson has to endure a constant barrage of derogatory comments and ignorance..."

"... like I've never witnessed. He is called ugly and freak and monster on a daily basis by his peers at school. He talks about suicide... he's not quite 8! He says he has no friends and everyone hates him. Kids throw rocks at him and push him shouting these horrific words... please please take a minute and imagine if this were your child. Take a minute to educate your children about special needs. Talk to them about compassion and love for our fellow man. His condition is called Treacher Collins...."

From the East Idaho News.

"These tiny street art installations..."

"... are easy to miss."

Animated genitalia in a Swedish anti-STDs ad.

I wasn't predisposed to like this, but it made me laugh and want to share it:

Anthony Weiner says he "crushed the aspirations" of Huma Abedin.

In a letter to the judge who will sentence him for transmitting obscene material to a 15-year-old girl: "My continued acting out over years crushed the aspirations of my wife and ruined our marriage."

From his lawyers: "He responded to the victim's request for sexually explicit messages not because she was a teenager but in spite of it.... He responded as a weak man, at the bottom of a self-destructive spiral, and with an addict's self-serving delusion that the communications were all just internet fantasy." Like he's the victim.

The link goes to The Chicago Tribune and is worth clicking to see the photo of Huma and Anthony in court (on Wednesday). She's in profile looking away from him. The expression on her face is somewhere between impassivity and anger. He's turned toward her, but his eyes seem to be aimed somewhere around the back of her head. The expression on his haggard, wrinkled face seems to be in the vicinity of self-pity and some kind of disgust other than self-disgust.

When he says he "crushed the aspirations of my wife," I can't help hypothesizing that he wanted to crush the aspirations of his wife. And while we're on the subject, did Bill Clinton want to crush the aspirations of his wife? Let's be on the lookout for the aspirations-crushing impulse in the husbands of ambitious wives.

"With Cassini running on empty and no gas station for about a billion miles, NASA decided to go out Thelma & Louise-style."

"But rather than careen into a canyon, the plucky probe took a final plunge into the object of its obsession. Just how obsessed? It's* 13-year mission  to explore the strange world of Saturn went on nearly a decade longer than planned. It completed 293 orbits of the planet, snapped 400,000 photos, collected 600 gigabytes of data, discovered at least seven new moons, descending into the famed rings and sent its Huygens lander to a successful 2005 touchdown on the surface of yet another moon, Titan...."

Writes NPR.

_____________________

* Oh, NPR, how far you've plunged. 

The Dean of Harvard Kennedy School tells you you're wrong if you think the title "Visiting Fellow" is an honorific.

It's not and never has been, according to the "Statement from Dean Elmendorf regarding the invitation to Chelsea Manning to be a Visiting Fellow."
In general across the School, we do not view the title of “Fellow” as conveying a special honor; rather, it is a way to describe some people who spend more than a few hours at the School.... We did not intend to honor her in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds, as we do not honor or endorse any Fellow.
But this strong assertion that "fellow" is not an honorific is not enough. People think it is, and though Elmendorf has told them they are wrong, he apparently can't insist that these wrongheaded people shape up and get it right. He bows to their wrongness:
But I see more clearly now that many people view a Visiting Fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations... Any determination should start with the presumption that more speech is better than less. In retrospect, though, I think my assessment of that balance for Chelsea Manning was wrong. Therefore, we are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a Visiting Fellow—and the perceived honor that it implies to some people—while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum.
In nonacademic contexts, the word "fellow" distinctly refers to a man. Perhaps calling Chelsea Manning a "fellow" seemed discordant for gender-related reasons. I'm noticing it anyway and feel a bit offended that such a masculine word is used (or felt) as an honorific.

Anyway, in the academic context, the OED defines "fellow" as "an honorary title conferred by some universities and colleges upon distinguished graduates or other persons" but also "A holder of a certain type of fixed-term academic position or fellowship, which is typically stipendiary and held on condition of pursuing a specified branch of study." So I think Elmendorf's assertion is believable... or at least I think it would be believable if he'd refrained from withdrawing the title. Why cave in to people who are wrong?

Perhaps Chelsea Manning should not have been invited to speak with the students at all. But the decision there was that intellectual diversity and more speech are good and should be part of the university. If you really believe that, stand on principle, don't make it part of a compromise with something you think is false.

Worse than excluding conservative speakers: "the profound alienation of professors who don’t hold the mainstream political views and are treated as outsiders as a result."

A NYT op-ed by Arthur C. Brooks, who's looking at a book "Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University." From the op-ed:
Generally, [conservative] professors fear they have little hope for advancement to leadership roles. Research backs up this fear, suggesting that intellectual conformity is still a key driver of personal success in academic communities....

Several top-tier private universities — notably Princeton, Harvard, Stanford and Chicago — have made important commitments to protect intellectual diversity on campus. And a new coalition of academics called Heterodox Academy, directed by the New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt, has formed to foster this movement.

Notably, more than 40 percent of the members of Heterodox Academy are liberals or centrists. And this brings me to a point I want to make to progressive academics: It is up to you to make campuses more open to debate and the unconstrained pursuit of truth. This is partly because liberals are in an overwhelming majority on campus. But more important, the task fits perfectly the progressive movement’s ethical patrimony. American liberalism has always insisted it is the duty of the majority to fight for the minority, whether or not it suits one’s own private interests.....
I would expect some progressives to argue that it's fine to make conservatives feel like outsiders because: 1. Conservatives make those in groups that have historically felt like outsiders feel like outsiders, 2. Conservatives can take it, they're not all about feelings, 3. Conservatives should follow their own ideology and take responsibility for their own condition and fight for success, not look for others to blame, and 4. Conservatives actually have weaker minds, deserve their lack of success, and cannot credibly beg for affirmative action.

Bucket news.

1. "An 'improvised explosive device' was detonated on a Tube train in south-west London during Friday's rush hour, Scotland Yard has confirmed... Eighteeen people have been taken to hospital mostly with burn injuries.... Pictures show a white bucket on fire inside a supermarket bag, with wires trailing on to the carriage floor" (BBC).

2. "A Norfolk school that advised teachers to provide buckets for pupils to vomit in during lessons has backtracked, telling parents that 'genuinely unwell' children will receive proper treatment... The bucket guidance surfaced in a document given to teachers at the start of the year at Great Yarmouth Charter academy.... 'We all know children say things like that to get out of work. You never pretend to be ill to get out of work because we expect you to work through it. If you feel sick we will give you a bucket. If you vomit – no problem! You’ve got your bucket. That’s probably all your body wanted – to vomit. If you are really ill we will make sure you get all the attention you need,' the document said'" (The Guardian).

3. "If Roald Dahl had his way, his eponymous 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' hero would have been black, the author's widow revealed. Liccy Dahl said that when her husband first wrote the golden ticket-hunting character of Charlie Bucket in the 1960s, 'he wrote about a little black boy.' 'I don't know why (it was changed). It's a great pity,' Dahl told BBC Radio 4 Wednesday" (NY Daily News).

4. "Prince Harry watched on as school children got soaked during a visit to a conservation project that aims to teach youngsters to value the countryside.... An instructor threw a bucket of water over one shelter as children sat inside it to test whether it was waterproof, and there were shrieks and giggles from the children as water poured through a hole in the roof and drenched them. As children clambered out of the den Harry shook the instructor’s hand and said 'that’s cruel!' One of the children quipped 'we survived'" (Daily Mail).

5. "An ex-fugitive builder who held a complaining labourer in position as his compatriot colleague chopped his ear with a trowel was sued on Thursday.... 'I was working at the ground floor. The colleague was carrying a bucket full of cement from the upper floor. Some of the cement was falling from the bucket onto me. I begged him to carry the bucket with care and walk down slowly. He refused to listen to me. He went up and returned with the builder who immediately seized me. He hit my face with a trowel...'" (The Gulf Today).

6. "[Hillary] Clinton has little doubt that Assange was working with the Russians. 'I think he is part nihilist, part anarchist, part exhibitionist, part opportunist, who is either actually on the payroll of the Kremlin or in some way supporting their propaganda objectives, because of his resentment toward the United States, toward Europe,' she said. 'He’s like a lot of the voices that we’re hearing now, which are expressing appreciation for the macho authoritarianism of a Putin. And they claim to be acting in furtherance of transparency, except they never go after the Kremlin or people on that side of the political ledger.' She said she put Assange and Edward Snowden, who leaked extensive details of N.S.A. surveillance programs, 'in the same bucket—they both end up serving the strategic goals of Putin.' She said that, despite Snowden’s insistence that he remains an independent actor, it was 'no accident he ended up in Moscow'" (The New Yorker).

7."Two Nova Scotians have been charged criminally in unrelated horrific animal death cases — a man who allegedly drowned a litter of kittens in a bucket, and a woman who allegedly left a dog to die in an abandoned car.... 'It's what we refer to as breathlessness — so when an animal is drowned, it's basically the worst sensation you can ever come across is you know you're about to die,' [said Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief provincial inspector for the Nova Scotia SPCA]" (Guelph Today).

8. "How This Woman Retired at Age 32 — and Says You Can Too.... After graduating from the University of Chicago's law school, [Anita Dhake] decided she would work hard until she paid off her debt and saved enough to retire as soon as possible. She did the math, and that meant quitting once she had saved 25 years' worth of living expenses, which she would keep relatively low. She wouldn't have a fancy car or house, but would make up for it with the personal freedom and energy to check off her personal bucket list" (Popsugar).

September 14, 2017

At the Bee Balm Hotel...

DSC04973

... you can talk all night.

And shop all night too, using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"He likes us! He likes me, anyway. Here’s what I told him. I said, Mr. President..."

"... you’re much better off if you can sometimes step right, and sometimes step left. If you have to step just in one direction, you’re boxed. He gets that."

Said Chuck Schumer, heard on C-SPAN in a way that leads to headlines with the phrase "caught on open mic."

1. I hate the spelling "mic" (as previously explained here (and discussed at length in the NYT here)).

2. I think some of this hot-mike stuff is intentional. Seems exciting through.

3. I tend to think Schumer wants us to have this quote. It helps him, right?

"Clinton’s memoir radiates with fury at the forces and the figures ranged against her, but it is also salted with self-searching..."

"... grief, bitterness, and fitful attempts to channel and contain that fury. At one point, she writes, 'Breathe out. Scream later,'" writes David Remnick at The New Yorker, with just enough alliteration to make me think it's unintentional. Clinton did an interview with him, and there's even more about breathing:
How did she get from day to day? “Chardonnay helped,” she told me.... She also practiced a form of yoga that involves “alternate-nostril breathing.” That someone might leap on her prescription of white wine and yoga as a parody of blue-state self-care is, in her post-candidate life, irrelevant.
I'm amused both by alternate-nostril breathing and the way Remnick makes a joke about it (as if he's not the one making the joke).
In Clinton’s view, she could never win with people who had been trained to regard her as a high-minded phony.... Clinton has come to believe that there is an overriding reason that she has aroused such resentment: her gender.... Clinton said that she has learned... that “the more successful a man becomes, the more likable he becomes; the more professionally successful a woman becomes, the less likable she becomes.” Her situation, she said, “was Clinton-specific, plus sexism and misogyny.”...

She castigates Trump for inflaming and giving “permission” to misogynists and racists. “Those attitudes have never gone away,” she told me. “But we had successfully—and this is part of the role of civilization—we had rendered them unacceptable: being an overt racist, being an overt misogynist, saying the terrible things that Trump said about immigrants or Muslims. All of that was not political correctness. It was respect. It was tolerance. It was acceptance. But there was a growing resentment, anger, that came to full flower in this election. . . . The Internet has given voice to, and a home for, so many more people. And so with Trump to light the match, from the first day of his campaign to the last, there was a sense of acceptance, liberation, empowerment for these forces.”

"Nevada could become the first state to allow users of recreational marijuana to light up in clubs and lounges..."

"... a state legal body said this week, opening a new front in what is already a booming pot business," The Hill reports.
None of the four other states where marijuana is legal for recreational use — Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon — currently allow so-called pot lounges. All four states restrict marijuana use to private residences. 
That doesn't work too well in a tourist destination. And you can't have the tourists smoking pot in hotel rooms and Airbnbs.
The Nevada legislator who spearheaded much of the legalization movement, state Sen. Tick Segerblom (D), has said... “We’re going to really market this thing around the world”...
Don't worry it's a nickname. His parents didn't name him Tick.

Remember our "tick flick"?



That was back in '09.

By the way, marijuana might help with Lyme disease.

A song about singing off key.

"Desafinado":



There are many, many versions of that song, which has been around since 1959. I embedded that one because no ad came up and because it sounds (and looks) beautiful. I love the idea of a song about singing off key and a beautiful melody expressing being off key (though I don't know enough about music to speak about whether the music actually is off key).

[For English lyrics] You might also like this Julie London version (which plays over photos of the very lovely Julie London, my father's favorite singer):



I went searching for the song — which I remembered by title but couldn't connect to what turned out to be a very familiar melody — because it came up in a book I was reading:

"[I]t sure looks like members of an incoming Republican administration were spied on by a Democratic political operative who happened to find a meeting suspicious."

"Some of us troglodytes might view this kind of thing as an abuse of power. So it’ll be interesting to hear Gowdy and others explain why it wasn’t."

Writes David Harsanyi in "Reminder: Susan Rice Lied About Her Role In The Obama Admin Unmasking Scandal."

“We didn’t have some preconceived idea about crucifying Michelle. But frankly, we knew that anyone could just punch her crime into Google, and Fox News would probably say..."

"... that P.C. liberal Harvard gave 200 grand of funding to a child murderer, who also happened to be a minority. I mean, c’mon."

Said John Stauffer, quoted in "From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones" (NYT). He's one of 2 American studies professor at Harvard, who "flagged Ms. Jones’s file for the admissions dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences... and questioned whether she had minimized her crime 'to the point of misrepresentation.'"

Jones served 20 years in prison for murdering her 4-year-old son.
While top Harvard officials typically rubber-stamp departmental admissions decisions, in this case the university’s leadership — including the president, provost, and deans of the graduate school — reversed one, according to the emails and interviews, out of concern that her background would cause a backlash among rejected applicants, conservative news outlets or parents of students.
Whatever you think of the redemption of murderers and the feelings of rejected applicants, the fear of conservative news outlets — fear of Fox — is incredibly lame.

The admissions dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences refused to be interviewed, and it's a good policy not to talk to the press about students and would-be students. But there was leakage here, and that quote from Stauffer looks just awful — "Fox News... I mean, c'mon." Is that the way insiders at the exquisitely eminent university speak? Ironically, the conservative news outlets should be savaging Harvard for rejecting an applicant out of fear of conservative news outlets.

Or am I falling into a trap laid by the New York Times?

Anyway, read about the history work Michelle Jones did while in prison:
After meticulously logging demographic data from century-old registries from the Indiana Women’s Prison, Ms. Jones made a discovery: There were no prostitutes on the rolls. “Where,” she asked, “were all the ladies?” meaning so-called ladies of the night.

With the help of a state librarian, she and another inmate realized that a Catholic laundry house that opened around that time in Indianapolis was actually a reformatory for “fallen women” — those convicted of sex offenses. Then they found more than 30 similar institutions around the country, akin to the Magdalene Laundries recently unearthed in Ireland.

[T]hey wrote up their findings, published them in an Indiana academic journal, and won the state historical society award. Ms. Jones also presented the paper remotely at multiple academic conferences, and, at others, shared different work about the abuse of early inmates at Indiana Women’s Prison by its Quaker founders.
The top-rated comment at the NYT is:
Ms. Jones fulfilled her sentence and has risen to achieve what society could only hope that other incarcerated individuals achieve. It's ridiculous for some people at Harvard to question if she had disclosed enough about her past and to question if she could handle the pressures of their program. Let Ms. Jones have the opportunity to soar or to fail on her own accord. This question of letting her into the program strikes at the heart of society's false promise agreeing that incarceration rehabilitates. So many prisoners languish inside prison for a set term and then are dumped on the street with $40 and a bus ticket. Ms. Jones is exceptional and should be held as an example of what can be achieved. Society should at the very least honor the commitment that once a sentence is served, society is obligated to make every effort to support prisoners with opportunities for work, education, and mental health services.
The second-highest-rated comment is something I would imagine some of you are about to write in the comments:
This woman killed her four year old son, and the NY Times wants my heart to bleed for HER because she didn't get into her first choice of doctoral programs after serving 40% of the sentence she was given. Nearly every day the Times reminds me of why the Democrats lost the election in 2016.

"‘Tiny Home’: Affordable, Stylish — but a Bit Too Easy to Steal."

NYT headline.
“Who steals a house?” said the home’s owner, Julie Bray. She said she prototyped and built the unit to attract customers to her timber business, and she intended to put it into mass-manufacturing by the end of the year — in part to respond to Australia’s increasingly unaffordable housing market.
I don't know why this is at all surprising. If something valuable is on wheels and unattended, why wouldn't it attract thieves?

I was talking with a friend who was pushing the idea of buying an R-Pod. He loves his, but one of my questions was, once you arrive somewhere and detach it from your car, what keeps it from getting stolen? The answer seemed to have to do with the pervasive goodness of other people in the area where you'd be leaving it. That or some sort of "boot."

"A lot of folks have come out of meetings with Trump thinking they had a deal, only to find they were wrong."

"That may be what happened here, or the Dems may have been trying to spin the press coverage. Stay tuned and don’t believe every headline."

Says Glenn Reynolds.

The link within the post goes to the NPR article, "Trump Denies He Made A Deal With Democrats On DREAMer Protections."

I'm thinking: Why would the Dems go public saying they had a deal if things were not yet at the stage where Trump would want the deal publicly announced? It's possible that part of what they agreed to was that the Dems would say there was a deal and Trump would deny it. But what's the advantage in that?

It's possible that Trump's idea of what counts as a "deal" is different from the Dems. Trump's tweets on the subject are:

1. "No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote."

2. "The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built," and...

3. "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!"

One could read that to mean there is one term that must be firmed up — the extent of the new border security (it must be "massive"!) — but we've got a deal — with that contingency — to continue DACA and to abandon the big idea of THE WALL across the entire border.

"The dogma lives loudly within you" — Dianne Feinstein's amazing challenge to 7th Circuit nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

I'm writing about this topic for the first time because there's a NYT op-ed by lawprofs Geoffrey R. Stone and Eric J. Segall that I anticipate will get closer to what I'd like to say than what I've seen so far. At the Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Dianne Feinstein said something related to religion — Barrett is Catholic — that was phrased very carefully:
“Whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”
That got a big reaction, including the charge that it violates the constitutional demand that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Is "dogma" a dog whistle, expressive of anti-Catholic bias or does it aptly characterize a person with fixed beliefs that interfere with understanding law in a properly judicial way? As Stone and Segal put it:
Senator Feinstein was not suggesting that Catholics shouldn’t be judges. She was asking whether someone of deep faith and who had previously openly (and in our opinion eloquently) written about the relationship between judging and faith could cast aside her deeply held views when judging. Had Ms. Barrett said that her faith would in fact deeply influence her judging, would the question have been deemed so wrong? We think not.

Likewise, if senators had asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her confirmation hearing if her long history litigating claims of gender discrimination would influence her judging, or if they had asked Chief Justice John Roberts whether his time working in the Bush administration would affect his decision making, no one would have blinked.

Judges regularly decide difficult legal issues in which the law at issue is unclear. In those open spaces, a judge’s personal values and life experiences will inevitably play a role in the outcome of the case. Given that Ms. Barrett had previously explored the relationship between her deeply held religious views and judging, Ms. Feinstein acted well within the bounds of fair questioning to probe deeply on this question.
The main problem with this kind of questioning is that it is so routine and so routinely answered. We're being asked to rely on the decisions that will come from the mind of this nominee. That mind must be tested, and it can't be tested enough. There are all sorts of biases and disabilities within any human mind, and the hearings can do very little to expose the limitations of an intelligent, well-prepared nominee.

To create a special immune, untestable zone is absurd.

A nominee with a mind entirely devoted to religion and intending to use her position as a judge to further the principles of her religion should be voted down just like a candidate who revealed that he'd go by "what decision in a case was most likely to advance the cause of socialism."

I'd like to think that a religious person has a strong moral core that would preclude that kind of dishonesty, but we're not required to give religious nominees a pass and presume they're more honest than nominees who are not religious devotees. That would be religious discrimination!

September 13, 2017

Lolling at the Lakeside Café...

DSC04985

... you can talk about anything.

(And please consider shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"What Happens When a Science Fiction Genius Starts Blogging?"

The New Republic asks (on the occasion of Ursula K. Le Guin's publication of a book collecting selections from her blog):
For Le Guin, imaginative fiction is not “escapist” in the usual, derogatory sense, but in a different, subversive sense: “The direction of escape is toward freedom,” she notes. “So what is ‘escapism’ an accusation of?”

Now, at 87, Le Guin has stopped writing fiction. She continues to blog, and she has found ways to pursue a similar subversive mission in the new medium.

On the blog, Le Guin’s scope is somewhat narrower. A running theme is the life of her cat, Pard. Between each of No Time to Spare’s four topical sections are essays entitled “Annals of Pard.” Devoting such time and interest to the observation of a cat might seem to represent the commonest impulses both of internet culture and old age; but, as always, Le Guin wades into her new genre to deepen and expand it. When Pard brings her a living mouse... and drops it on her bed in the night, her solution is to lock them together in the kitchen until the mouse disappears (whether through elusion or ingestion, she doesn’t know). She reflects on the ethical implications and possible reasons for her resistance to intervention....

“A lot of younger people, seeing the reality of old age as entirely negative, see acceptance of age as negative,” she writes. “Wanting to deal with old people in a positive spirit, they’re led to deny old people their reality. ... ‘You’re only as old as you think you are!’” She scoffs at this attitude and points out its logical and moral problems. Unlike capitalism and patriarchy, the illusion* surrounding old age is that it is an illusion:
Encouragement by denial, however well-meaning, backfires. Fear is seldom wise and never kind. Who is it you’re cheering up, anyhow? Is it really the geezer? To tell me my old age doesn’t exist is to tell me I don’t exist. Erase my age, you erase my life—me.
Age, she insists, makes one a “diminished thing.” Likewise, a blog does not possess the same artistic or persuasive power as a novel; reading about Le Guin’s cat will not change your life, the way that reading about her strange, freer worlds might. Blog posts are short, topical, and often polemical in a narrow way....

But even in a diminished form of writing,** the spirit of Le Guin’s work remains...
Here's the blog No Time to Spare and here's the book "No Time to Spare." (And here is another collection of blog posts, "The Notebooks," by the Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago. Saramago took up blogging when he was in his 80s, and this inspired Le Guin.)
____________________

* Illusion... not to be confused with elusion.

** A diminished form of writing... That makes me feel a little bad, bad enough to play a diminished 7th chord:


"Whenever one wanted to express pain, excitement, anger, or some other strong feeling – there we find, almost exclusively, the diminished seventh chord. So it is in the music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, etc. Even in Wagner’s early works it plays the same role. But soon the role was played out. This uncommon, restless, undependable guest, here today, gone tomorrow, settled down, became a citizen, was retired a philistine. The chord had lost that appeal of novelty, hence, it had lost its sharpness, but also its luster. It had nothing more [to] say to a new era. Thus, it fell from the higher sphere of art music to the lower of music for entertainment. There it remains, as a sentimental expression of sentimental concerns. It became banal and effeminate." — Arnold Schoenberg.

"Sixth Circuit Rejects Law Prof's Claim That 'Satanic' $666 Merit Pay Raise Was Retaliation For His Union Activities."

At TaxProf Blog. Excerpt:
First, there is no material issue of fact as to how [university and law-school dean Craig] Boise reached the $666 figure. After ranking the law school faculty based on objective, self-reported indices of performance, he divided the faculty into three performance tiers: a $5,000 merit-raise tier, a $3,000 merit-raise tier, and a third “catch-all” tier. After distributing the larger merit raises, Boise divided the remaining merit-raise pool among the third-tier faculty members. Evidence in the record supports Boise’s account that, at least initially, third-tier faculty members were supposed to receive $727, a number that has no biblical significance. Only after the merit pool was reduced, and only after Boise made several minor equitable adjustments to the merit-raise distribution, did [Sheldon] Gelman receive a raise of $666. Moreover, the $0 and $666 raises fell on pro-union and antiunion faculty members alike, undermining Gelman’s claim that the raise amount was specifically chosen to send a message to union organizers....
It is pretty annoying to get a third-tier raise and have it be $666. If I were the Dean, I would round that number off unless I wanted to antagonize the people with the worst raises. The top 2 tiers are full of zeroes, making them look neat — tidy sums. The line-up of 6s looks bad, and it seems like a mean joke, even if the Dean came upon it by chance. That doesn't make it a violation of civil rights however.

As to the number 727, it may not have biblical significance, but it does have the pleasant association with the Boeing 727 (and an obscure song by The Box Tops).

Should I get the Hillary Clinton book and search for bloggable nuggets?

Should I get the Hillary Clinton book and search for bloggable nuggets?
 
pollcode.com free polls

A judge cannot wear a "Make America Great Again" hat — whether he means it jokingly or seriously and whether or not people misread his intentions.

The NYT reports:
[Justice Bernd Zabel of the Ontario Court of Justice] wore a “Make America Great Again” cap into court the morning after Donald J. Trump’s election victory last year....

The four-member [disciplinary] council... rejected Justice Zabel’s explanation that the campaign hat and comments he made about Mr. Trump in court were just jokes about an unexpected election result...

“What would a reasonable member of the public think upon seeing Justice Zabel enter the courtroom wearing Trump’s signature red ‘MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN’ hat and state that he did so ‘in celebration of an historic event?’ ” the review body wrote. “In our view, and indeed as Justice Zabel himself now acknowledges, a reasonable member of the public would think that Justice Zabel was making a political statement and endorsing Donald Trump’s campaign.”
The judge will nevertheless remain on the bench, after a 30-day suspension without pay. (He's been on suspension with pay since late last year.)

I don't see how a judge could think it proper to appear in court wearing words expressing anything at all. But even if you restrict the offense to making political statements, to joke about supporting a political candidate is a political statement and ambiguous political statements are still political statements. The argument that everyone knows it's a joke is based on the premise that people would assume that the judge couldn't possibly be pro-Trump. That's a more disturbing message, a message that of course we all think alike and you're an outsider if you disagree.

"I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us."

"The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure."

Wrote Oscar Wilde, in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1890).

"@HillaryClinton thinks the lesson of Orwell's 1984 is that you should trust experts, leaders and the press."

September 12, 2017

Backyard sprinkler rainbow with a complete arch.



Created and captured by Meade.

"No question at all she lost because she was a woman."/"She didn't lose because she is a woman. She lost because of the woman she is."

Those are the first- and second-highest-rated comments on the Washington Post piece by David Weigel "Clinton’s account of how she was ‘shivved’ in the 2016 presidential election."

Goodbye to Edith Windsor.

"Edith Windsor, the gay-rights activist whose landmark Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and granted same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time and rights to myriad federal benefits, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 88.... Four decades after the Stonewall Inn uprising fueled the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in America, Ms. Windsor, the widow of a woman with whom she had lived much of her life, became the lead plaintiff in what is widely regarded as the second most important Supreme Court ruling in the national battle over same-sex marriage rights."

From the NYT obituary.

ADDED: In 2013, I blogged about the great New Yorker article, "How Edith Windsor fell in love, got married, and won a landmark case for gay marriage."
It begins:
"Fuck the Supreme Court!” Edith Windsor said, one hideously hot morning in June, when she’d had just about enough. Then she sighed and mumbled, “Oh, I don’t mean that.” What she really meant was that she was hot, she was tired of waiting, and, most of all, she was tired of being told what to do. “I’m feeling very manhandled!” she said.

It was Windsor’s eighty-fourth birthday, and she was spending it staring at a laptop screen as information from scotusblog.com flashed by in a typeface too small for her to read comfortably. Four years earlier, Windsor’s partner of more than forty years, Thea Spyer, died, leaving Windsor her sole heir. The two were legally married in Canada, in 2007, but, because of the Defense of Marriage Act, Windsor was not eligible for the exemption on estate tax that applies to husbands and wives. She had to pay $363,053 in taxes to the federal government, and $275,528 to New York State, and she did not think that was fair.
There's some excellent material about lawyering, including getting the right plaintiff as the face of the issue. One "experienced movement attorney" explains that "Women are better than men" and "post-sexual is better than young." Windsor was not just female and presumably "aged out of carnality," but, we're told, didn't "look gay."
Her pink lipstick and pearls would make it easier, [her lawyer Roberta] Kaplan knew, for people across the country to feel that they understood her, that she embodied values they could relate to.
Some movement lawyer types thought Windsor was the wrong plaintiff because she was too rich, and her legal problem was a problem of a rich person. Who owes $600,000 in taxes? What kind of civil rights movement forefronts suffering of that kind?
"There were these calls," Kaplan said. "These people from Lambda were like, 'We really think that bankruptcy is the perfect venue to challenge DOMA,' because they had a bankruptcy case they wanted to bring. Finally, I couldn't stand it. I said, 'Really?  I don't want to be disrespectful or classist, but do you really think that people who couldn't pay their personal debts are the best people to bring the claim?"...

Kaplan was convinced that Americans dislike taxes even more than they dislike the rich...

At the Koi Kafé...

DSC04955

... it's an open thread.

Consider supporting this blog through the simple device of doing your Amazon shopping through The Althouse Portal.

The hand of the Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park has been painted red.

And, on its plinth, there is, spray-painted, "Hate will not be tolerated/#somethingscoming."

Did "60 Minutes" heighten the color on Steve Bannon to make him "look like a bleary-eyed drunk"?

That's what a photographer named Peter Duke purports to show here:



The video has gotten enough attention to get this push-back at HuffPo: "No, ‘60 Minutes’ Didn’t Purposely Make Steve Bannon Look Like A ‘Bleary-Eyed Drunk’/News experts rejected the color-coordinated conspiracy theory."

The video lays out the evidence very persuasively, I think. So what's the refutation at HuffPo?

1. A “60 Minutes” spokesman says: “It’s nonsense.”

2. A journalism professor says: “The tendency [of heightened color saturation] is to make people look better... When I saw the interview, I actually thought he looked better. They smoothed over his skin.”

And that's it!* I think HuffPo is conceding that the color was heightened, and the "No" in the headline relates only to the inference about why it was heightened. What do you think? The video makes it clear that the color saturation on Bannon was much higher than on the interviewer (Charlie Rose). If it's just to make people look better, why isn't it the same for both men? And how could you possibly think the dark red lines on Bannon's eyelids look good?

___________________

* There is a third thing that I could put on that list. HuffPo tells us that Peter Duke's online portfolio of photographs includes some pro-Trump material. Should that count? I wonder what are the politics of the “60 Minutes” spokesman and the journalism professor. We're not told.

___________________

ADDED: Clicking around in Duke's online portfolio, I see that he's amused by abusive email he's received as a result of a NYT article about him: "The Annie Leibovitz of the Alt-Right." Excerpt:
“I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but a lot of people don’t read,” [Duke] told me over beers and pasta. “They look at the pictures.” He’s somewhat mystical on the topic of images; he believes that his photographs operate on a hypnotic level, an idea he picked up from Scott Adams, the creator of “Dilbert,” who predicted that Trump would win the election over a year in advance and has been cashing in on his bet ever since...

Duke believes in the primacy of visual culture, and most right-wing figures, he says, don’t take enough care to make themselves look good. Newt Gingrich, he tells me, is “disheveled”; Steve Bannon is a “schlub”; Trump’s hair is “problematic.” At the same time, he thinks left-leaning media outlets — which is to say, just about anything other than Breitbart News and The Drudge Report — go out of their way to present the right in a negative way. Recently, he drew my attention to New York magazine’s March cover story on Kellyanne Conway. Though he hadn’t read the article, Duke was bothered by Martin Schoeller’s clinically lit portrait, “the equivalent of being rendered by a fax machine,” he griped in an email....

"If Mnuchin actually cared about accurately depicting American values on our currency there would be no need to now 'consider' Tubman’s face on the $20 bill."

"Instead we would discuss how we could elevate even more abolitionists, racial equality advocates, suffragettes and civil rights champions on our money."

Writes Barrett Holmes Pitner in The Daily Beast.

"Why Hurricane Irma wasn’t far worse, and how close it came to catastrophe."

That headline at The Washington Post makes me think about all the headlines, as the hurricane was approaching, about how the hurricane is worse because of climate change. If it wasn't worse, was that because the earlier talk about the effect of climate change was exaggerated?

The only mention of climate change in the article is in the blurb about the author: "Jason [Samenow] is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government."

The article is about luck and happenstance — "shifts and wobbles." And I can't help feeling suspicious that if the hurricane had bounced into more damaging locations, it would be framed in terms of climate change.

Philadelphia Police: "Hmm. No, We don't know where all of these gnats came from, either."

And the police make the obvious joke so you don't have to: "However, we, for one, welcome our new insect overlords."

Isn't that why we have police, to make obvious jokes so you don't have to?

Or... are the police properly pushing Philadelphians to see that you shouldn't call the police about the sudden presence of numerous gnats?

Here's the Know Your Meme article on "I, For One, Welcome Our New Insect Overlords." The line, famous from "The Simpsons," originally appeared (verbatim, spoken by Joan Collins) in a 1977 version of the H.G. Wells stoy "Empire of the Ants." Here's a hilarious trailer for that, well worth watching even though it does not include the Joan Collins line:



I really enjoyed seeing the old-time monster-movie effects. It made me think of Frank Zappa's paean to cheap special effects, "Cheepnis":



The jelly & paint on the 40 watt bulb/They use when the slime droozle off/The rumples & the wrinkles in the cardboard rock....

Is this NYT video an advertisement for iPhone?

It doesn't say it is, and when I played it, I had to first watch what was plainly an ad and that was for another brand of "smart phone"*:



I enjoyed the video. iPhones — with some help from other smart phones? — have "destroyed" a lot of things and it gets funny as the list gets longer. Obvious things on the list: cameras, calendars, address books, maps, clocks (counted twice as alarm clocks and watches). Less obvious things: postcards, photo albums, compasses, levels. Less clearly destroyed things: taxis (but not hotels**). And the less tangible things that relate to human nature are kept upbeat: "small talk" and "shame and humility" (but not dinner conversation, civility, situational awareness, and attention span). In the psychological category, the closest they get to conceding a negative — as the music continues its peppy, happy beat — is "work/life balance" and "anonymity."

So... I enjoyed the video, though I'd probably prefer simply reading the list of things (as I've put it in the previous paragraph), but I was offended by what feels like a hybridization of advertising and journalism, I loathe the music's nudging to find the "destruction" terribly fun, and I hate the triumphant shallowness (unless I do my own work to see it as sarcasm and critique).

_______________________

* I put "smart phone" in quotes because it sounds as cutesy and dumb as "snail mail" to me, perhaps because I've always — as long as there have been iPhones — had an iPhone. And I rewatched the video, and the ad seems to be not for another brand of smart phone but for something like "the smart behind every smartphone." The name on this product is Qualcomm, and I still don't know why I should care about that and not just whatever the new iPhone is going to be.

** Because hotels are big advertisers in the NYT but taxis are not?

September 11, 2017

At the Twilight Dreams Café...



... I hope you have some peaceful thoughts at the end of the weekend's storm, on the anniversary of the whirlwind.

(The image is by Arthur Rackham, “Twilight Dreams,” 1913.)

I really just wanted to know if Whole Foods has ciabatta today. They don't always have it.

I'm not confusing it with art, but I am a little confused about finding the answer to my question on the internet. I mean, my search found me this:
That's from "All The Houses: A Novel," by Karen Olsson.

Flooding in Havana, after Irma.

"He told us his daughter had said his feet were smelly . . . But he didn’t want to know how bad the odor was because he would feel hurt."

"That’s why we developed this cute robot."

"Has the 'new normal' of the Trump age been causing you to take time out of your day to stare wistfully out a window, muttering audibly over a glass of wine?"

"Did you know you can support The Nation with that vino?"

This came in the email today:



Do you realize how unusual that is — advertising an alcohol beverage as a way to deal with unhappiness or any sort of problem? Can you think of any other time you've seen that? Normally, alcohol is advertised as aesthetically pleasing — delicious and beautifully packaged — or as an accompaniment to joyful activities. If the mood-altering power is referenced at all, it is in the context of making good times even better.

In the aftermath of the storm....



... please feel free to talk about anything.

(The image is "Lake in Scotland after a Storm" (from 1875–78, by Gustave Doré).)

"Here in Colombia and in the world, millions of people are still being sold as slaves."

"They either beg for some expressions of humanity, moments of tenderness, or they flee by sea or land because they have lost everything, primarily their dignity and their rights."

Said Pope Francis.

"Ten members of ‘lost’ Amazon tribe are ‘killed, chopped up and thrown in river by gold miners hellbent on seizing their land.'"

"A complaint has been filed with prosecutors in South America after the alleged killers went into a bar and bragged about what they had done," the UK Sun reports.

Here's the NYT report. Excerpt:
“If the investigation confirms the reports, it will be yet another genocidal massacre resulting directly from the Brazilian government’s failure to protect isolated tribes — something that is guaranteed in the Constitution,” said Sarah Shenker, a senior campaigner with the rights group....

“When their land is protected, they thrive,” said Ms. Shenker... “When their land is invaded, they can be wiped out.”

"As an experiment, I phoned a few friends and asked: what does your mom call your dad? The answers I got were things like ‘are you listening,’ ‘listen,’ or ‘father of Ronak’ (the child’s name).'"

From "A woman interviewed 100 convicted rapists in India. This is what she learned" (WaPo). The quote is from Madhumita Pandey, the woman who did the interviewing. The quote refers to the assertion that, in India, "Many women won’t even use their husbands’ first names."
“Men are learning to have false ideas about masculinity, and women are also learning to be submissive. It is happening in the same household, Pandey said. “Everyone’s out to make it look like there’s something inherently wrong with [rapists]. But they are a part of our own society. They are not aliens who’ve been brought in from another world.”

Pandey said that hearing some of the rapists talk reminded her of commonly held beliefs that were often parroted even in her own household. “After you speak to [the rapists], it shocks you — these men have the power to make you feel sorry for them. As a woman that’s not how you expect to feel. I would almost forget that these men have been convicted of raping a woman. In my experience a lot of these men don’t realize that what they've done is rape. They don't understand what consent is. Then you ask yourself, is it just these men? Or is the vast majority of men?”

"Another 9/11 Anniversary... Amid Hurricane Irma."

Today is 9/11, and we've come to expect solemn remembrance of the horrible destruction that took place 16 years ago, but there's ongoing real-life destruction in the news. Hurricane Irma has sole possession of the headlines this morning. I looked for stories that combine the news of the hurricane with remembrance of 9/11 and found very little. There's "Wife of 9/11 victim to mark day with hurricane relief" at The Boston Herald. That's small and tasteful. At The New Yorker, there's a different kind of effort to attach the 2 stories, "Another 9/11 Anniversary at Guantánamo, Amid Hurricane Irma" (by Amy Davidson Sorkin).
[A] measure of the futility of the legal response to the attacks is that there will soon enough be young military officers, at least eligible to serve as the equivalent of jurors on the military commission, who were also born after 9/11....

Meanwhile, the base made it through Irma relatively well, with downed power lines but few signs of damage, Rosenberg reported. There were, she noted, a few wet spots in the courtroom ceiling, which would need new tiles. The next time hurricane winds shift to Guantánamo, it might be better prepared. And the 9/11 trial, with its maddening mix of tragedy and absurdity, and its too-delayed promise of justice, might even be under way.

Before the play: A view from the second row.

IMG_1489

Meade and I drove out to Spring Green last night to see the American Players Theater production of "A View From the Bridge." Here's what the Wall Street Journal theater critic, Terry Teachout, wrote about it a few days ago. Teachout called APT "America's finest classical theater festival, unrivaled for the unfailing excellence of its productions." Teachout hated a 2015 Broadway production of "A View From the Bridge" "flatulent exercise in Eurotrashy gimmickry" and this APT production "a masterpiece of sustained tension" and "of the two best Miller revivals I've ever seen."*
Every aspect of [Tim] Ocel's production is distinguished, not least Takeshi Kata's set, a near-abstract assemblage of wooden warehouse pallets that is appropriately stark and austere. But it is [Jim DeVita, a 23-year company veteran,] who catapults it into the stratosphere. Unless you frequent Spring Green, you probably aren't aware that he is one of America's leading classical actors. Until now, though, I'd never seen him in a purely naturalistic role, and I confess to being just a bit surprised to discover that he can change hats with complete ease. His performance as Eddie Carbone, the hardworking, easy-to-anger Brooklyn longshoreman who harbors an illicit passion for his innocent young niece (Melisa Pereyra), is replete with the same force and focus that he brings to Shakespeare. Had Robert DeNiro chosen to be a classical stage actor instead of a movie star, he might well have given a performance as good as this one.
My picture shows the set before the audience was completely seated. The resonance between the stacks of pallets and the woman's dress is serendipity. We loved the whole cast. I wish APT would put out video clips. I wish I could show you a few random delightful things so you could see that it's not the great fall of the ordinary man Eddie Carbone. If there were clips available, I'd show you Will Mobley (as Rodolpho, one of the 2 newly arrived illegal immigrants who stir the plot) singing "Paper Doll" and entrancing the young niece while giving Eddie the "heebie-jeebies." The play isn't just about Eddie's sexual attraction to his niece (Catherine). It's also about Eddie's intense homophobia toward Rodolpho. As Eddie puts it, "he ain't right."

And I'd like a clip of the discussion of sardines (which the immigrants, Rodolpho and Marco had fished for, back in Italy (the year is 1955)):

September 10, 2017

At the Little Red Café...



... what have you got in that basket?

The image of Little Red Riding Hood is from Carl Larsson, 1881. See the previous post to know why I'd wandered onto that Wikipedia page. If you're going to say anything Hillary-Clinton-related, please go to that post and knock yourself out. This is, with that one restriction, an open thread.

And what a big portal I have here, at Amazon.

Hillary Clinton is sorry she gave Donald Trump "a political gift of any kind," but she doesn't think her "basket of deplorables" idea "was determinative."

Hillary Clinton skipped along — “CBS Sunday Morning" today (reported in HuffPo) — with what I call her basket of nondeterminatives.


Illustration by Arthur Rackham (from 1908).

"There is still an understandable fear of LSD, and it is unlikely to migrate from Silicon Valley to America’s more conservative regions anytime soon."

"But in a country which is awash with drugs, microdosing with an illicit substance may not seem so outlandish, particularly among the middle-classes. Already many Americans are happy to medicalise productivity. In 2011 3.5m children were prescribed drugs to treat attention disorders, up from 2.5m in 2003, and these drugs are widely used off prescription to enhance performance at work. By one estimate, 12% of the population takes an antidepressant. Americans also try to eliminate pain, mental or otherwise, by other means; the opioid epidemic has partly been caused by massive over-prescription of painkillers. Compared with these, LSD – which is almost impossible to overdose on – may no longer seem so threatening. It may help people tune in, but it no longer has the reputation of making them drop out."

From "TURN ON, TUNE IN, DROP BY THE OFFICE/The Silicon Valley avant-garde have turned to LSD in a bid to increase their productivity. Emma Hogan meets the people breakfasting on acid," by Emma Hogan (The Economist).

That reminds me: We've been watching the 6-part Amazon video series "Long Strange Trip," which is about (obviously) The Grateful Dead. I'm only halfway through it, but episode 1 — "It's Alive" — is very much about LSD. The filmmakers make it sound as though the whole idea of the band grows out of LSD, including the idea that it's not work. It's all fun.

"'I need help. I just murdered four people,' Orion Krause, 22, told Walter and Thelka Alcocer Friday night after he showed up on their back porch..."

"Walter Alcocer led Krause — who was 'completely naked — no socks, no shoes, nothing' — to a chair next to his swimming pool. He sat down and said, 'I need my sleeping pills.'"

"Steve Bannon is a pussy. Steve Bannon is a little wannabe writer who would do anything in the world to have had a script made in Hollywood."

"He wrote one of the worst scripts I’ve ever read—and I’ve read it. His fake Shakespeare-rap script about the L.A. riots. Oh, you’ve gotta read it! It’s just fuckin’ terrible...."

Said George Clooney.

The thing we've gotta read is "The Thing I Am." According to Bannon's co-writer, Julia Jones, it's "a rap film [based on Shakespeare’s Coriolanus] set in South Central during the L.A. riots." Here, experience a table read of the proposed film.

Clooney continues: "Here’s the truth: if Steve Bannon had Hollywood say, ‘Oh, this is really great, and a really good script,’ and had they made his movie, he’d still be in Hollywood writing his fuckin’ movies and kissing my ass to be in one of his fuckin’ films! That’s who he is. That’s the reality. Someone in Hollywood should’ve given him a script—or approved one of his scripts—just to keep him out of the right wing."

The world is full of would-be artists. Famously, Hitler was one. But there's no way to cherry-pick the Hitlers and mini-Hitlers and hand them artistic success to keep them from deploying their visions outside of the imagination-land of art.


(Downloaded from "Was Hitler's art work good?" where you can see more of the painting that if only people might have seen fit to love at the time, so much suffering could have been averted.)

Woman driving a minivan with the stickers “Hillary 2016,” “coexist,” “Not My President Or Yours Either,” and “stop bigotry” slams it into another car...

... after the driver of that car makes an "L" (for loser) sign at her, which she responds to by giving him the finger, and he responds to by pointing a Smith & Wesson .380-caliber handgun at her. She told the police she got "scared and jerked the steering wheel, which caused her to lose control of the vehicle," and he told the police he thought he “made a bad choice” but the bumper stickers were “stupid.”

This happened in Missouri. The man was arrested for unlawful use of a weapon. The woman was not arrested for hitting him with her car.

"I Ran Digital For A 2016 Presidential Campaign. Here's What Russia Might Have Got For $100,000."

"Even the pros struggle to know how far messages travel when Facebook is paid to promote them — but Russia's $100,000 could have reached millions."

That's by Kevin Bingle at Buzzfeed. He's "an Ohio-based, Republican political digital consultant who managed digital operations for Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign."

1. Kasich lost, and a Kasich supporter might be quite hostile to Trump.

2. The idea is that $100,000 spent on Facebook can be effective, but it depends on whether the dynamics of virality kick in.

3. How worried should we be about the power of ideas to take on life and command attention? Why not feel great about the way all ideas can now compete in the marketplace of ideas? The main answer seems to be that bad ideas, exaggerations, and outright lies can be viral.
One post I saw on Facebook, months after Gov. Kasich had left the race, declared that “John Kasich Left the GOP!” It had nearly 40,000 shares. Aside from the fact that this is an absurd claim, the reach of that one post sent shivers down my spine. That was the day I realized how widespread this had become.
4. But isn't this the story of humanity: The rise and fall of bad and good ideas, including the idea that the spread of ideas is frightening and destructive and the idea that people can be trusted to sort out good and bad ideas for themselves?