October 20, 2018

At the Game 7 Café...


... talk about anything you want. That picture is from earlier today, when I walked down to State Street, which was teeming with Badger fans and where the weather turned insane — very windy with sleet, ice pellets, and snow. But it's nighttime now, and Game 7 is about to begin. Are you with me???

"These women who act like staying at home, leeching off their husbands or boyfriends, and just cashing the checks is some sort of feminism..."

"... because they’re choosing to live that life. That’s bullshit. I mean, what the f*** are we really talking about here?"

Said Kyrsten Sinema back in 2006. She's now the Democratic Party's nominee to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate.

I haven't been following the Sinema drama, so anything about her is news to me. But I was motivated to read her Wikipedia page because I wanted to know if she had children. If you stay home with children, you probably don't see yourself as "leeching." Some facts:
Sinema married, and later divorced, her BYU classmate Blake Dain.

On November 17, 2013, Sinema completed an Ironman Triathlon in a little more than 15 hours. Sinema was the second active member of Congress—behind Senator Jeff Merkley—to finish a long distance triathlon, and the first to complete an Ironman-branded race. On December 25, 2013, Sinema summited Mount Kilimanjaro.
So, her idea of doing difficult things is way beyond the average person's. But if you're running for office, it's not a good idea to reveal to ordinary people that you basically think they're not working hard enough. The normal bullshit is to butter them up continually, calling them "hard-working" and blaming government and corporations for their insufficiently affluent condition. But Sinema wants to call bullshit on that bullshit. Okay, Sinema. It won't get you into the Senate, I don't think, but it's kind of wonderful, shouted from the top of Mount Kilamanjaro.
Sinema is now the only openly non-theist or atheist member of Congress, although she herself has rejected such labels. She is also the first openly bisexual member of Congress.
Okay with me.

Garnering fans.


I learned a new word (and a new concept):
Kangatarianism is a recent practice of following a diet which excludes meat except kangaroo on environmental and ethical grounds. Several Australian newspapers wrote about the neologism "kangatarianism" in February 2010, describing eating a vegetarian diet with the addition of kangaroo meat as a choice with environmental benefits because indigenous wild kangaroos require no extra land or water for farming and produce little methane (a greenhouse gas), unlike cattle. Advocates of kangatarianism also choose it because Australian kangaroos live natural lives, eat organic food, and are killed "humanely". For similar reasons, Australians have discussed eating only the meat of Australian feral camels ("cameltarianism").
That's from the Wikipedia article, "Kangaroo Meat," which you either know or don't know why I'm reading. For those not yet up to speed: "Chef fired after serving kangaroo meat to Nebraska students" (Fox News):
On Oct. 10, a Potter-Dix Public Schools cafeteria served a chili including a mixture of beef and kangaroo meat, according to the release. Head Cook Kevin Frei told Superintendent Mike Williams that the kangaroo meat was added because “it is a very lean meat.”

While the superintendent stated that he does not believe that the kangaroo meat was unhealthy or dangerous because it met USDA standards for sale, the district vowed to not serve food of this nature again. “If a family wants to eat exotic foods, they can do so on their own time — not at school,” Williams said.... “It is without a doubt not a normal staple of our diet and will not, nor will any other non-staple foods, be a part of the potter-Dix meal program.... I apologize for the anxiety and any harm that this has caused individual students and /or families.”
I agree that parents should always know what animals the school is feeding to their kids, but I don't like the way the solution is always to fire the employee. Why didn't the head cook know how people in his town would react to serving "mystery meat" that turned out to be from an animal people in the area don't normally think about eating? Maybe he is too foolish and reckless for the job, but I feel for him.

What he did is not as bad as putting meat in a dish that people believe is vegetarian or presenting pork as beef or beef as pork. The cook had rational reasons for using kangaroo meat rather than other meats. Kangatarianism makes sense to some people. But if you're a cook in Nebraska — or an anything, anywhere — you can be too rational. You've got to have a feeling for how irrational people react to unusual things.

I have exactly one other association when it comes to kangaroo meat: It's what "This American Life"'s Ira Glass fed to his strange, dangerous dog:
[Our rescue pit bull Piney] needed a strict and disturbingly expensive diet of one protein and one starch for 8–10 months until he would become allergic to it. Then we’d have to switch to another protein-starch.

We’ve gone through a series of food combinations: there was pork and tapioca, then rabbit and sweet potatoes. We would go to the store once a week to pick up 6–8 rabbits and the guy at the store would say, “So, are you havin’ a party?” You don’t want to say, “No, I’m buying eighty dollars’ worth of rabbit for my dog.” You feel like an ass. And it’s weird to be feeding an animal that’s cuter than your pet to your pet. After that we went to bison, which I thought was extinct, and switched to kangaroo about six months ago. There’s a butcher out in Woodside, Queens, that you have to go to for kangaroo....

Who watched the Scott Walker/Tony Evers gubernatorial debate? It conflicted with Game 6 of the NLCS, Brewers vs. Dodgers!

I know, there's always YouTube. You can watch any old debate you failed to see in real time, but it's a test. If you don't watch it in real time, are you really going to get around to it, or will you just scan a few articles?

Like: "Scott Walker and Tony Evers spar over immigration, taxes, health care in first debate" (Milwaukee State Journal)("Walker argued the state's economy, its workforce and its schools benefit when he is in charge.... Evers argued the state has been divided and critically underfunded over the last eight years"), and "Scott Walker, Tony Evers draw stark contrasts, repeat familiar points in first debate" (Capital Times)("Walker made the case that, under his leadership, the state has reached an age of prosperity and that voters should give him a chance to serve a third four-year term.... Evers argued that Walker is a career politician who has driven Wisconsin into an age of polarization and partisan rancor by putting his political interests ahead of the state's.")

But the Brewers were fighting the last of 2 games that will get them to the World Series. At least Scott Walker knew the Wisconsin priorities:

Compare Tony Evers:

Advantage: Walker.

Of course, the Brewers went on to win game 6, 7 to 2: "Energy from fans spurs the Brewers to their first Game 7 since the World Series in 1982." Game 7, tonight, is another home game:

October 19, 2018

At the One-More-Weekend Café...

... you can listen to old records, write the first pages of your book, watch the Brewers game, and talk all night.

Man fell 40 feet into an abandoned gold mine, broke both his legs, and — before getting rescued 48 hours later — had to fight rattlesnakes.

BBC reports.

Nikki Haley has "a shark rhetorical break" from Trump.

Ha ha. That's the typo of the day for me. Clipped from Politico and displayed on Memeorandum:
"Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley insisted Thursday night that 'in America, our political opponents are not evil,' a shark rhetorical break from her boss..."

Politico has corrected the mistake. Now, it's just "a sharp rhetorical break." That's no fun.

I love the idea of "shark rhetoric."

"Da Vinci is believed to have had a condition called intermittent exotropia — commonly referred to as being 'walleyed' — a form of strabismus, eye misalignment..."

"... that affects about 4 percent of the U.S. population. Those with exotropia usually end up favoring one eye over the other, which means they are more likely to see the world as if it were, say, painted on a flat canvas. 'When they’re in that condition . . . they’re only seeing the world monocularly, with much reduced depth cues,' the study’s author, Christopher Tyler, a professor at City University of London and researcher at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, told The Washington Post. 'The image they’re seeing is much closer to what they want to paint on the canvas.' ... But in da Vinci’s case, the painter was, at times, able to control his wandering eye, which in turn provided him with an artistic advantage, Tyler said, noting that the ability to switch between the two perspectives meant that da Vinci would 'be very aware of the 3-D and 2-D depth cues and the difference between them.' Tyler, who has studied da Vinci’s life for more than 20 years, said he started noticing the disorder’s telltale sign while examining works by both the artist himself and those done of him. In many cases, 'they had the eyes diverted,' he said. 'This is something I would notice, what I’m attuned to notice,' said Tyler, who specializes in studying binocular vision.... Previous studies analyzing eye alignment in self-portraits have suggested that painters such as Rembrandt, Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso were also strabismic."

From "Leonardo da Vinci’s genius may be rooted in a common eye disorder, new study says" (WaPo).

A Picasso self-portrait:

What has he done to his eyes? Perhaps less than it appears.


My favorite word in this sentence from "Ugly Beauty/Cindy Sherman's New Self-Portraits Are Her First Pure Protagonists: Gloriously, Catastrophically Themselves" (NYT):
After a number of high-profile relationships — with the Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, the artist Richard Prince and a 16-year marriage to the filmmaker Michel Auder that was haunted by his heroin use — she is now single, “except for my bird,” a 28-year-old macaw named Mr. Frieda, a superb mimic in his own right.
And they go tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet...

"Unless the miracle of all miracles happens, I would acknowledge that he’s dead. That’s based on everything — intelligence coming from every side."

Said Trump, interviewed by the NYT in "In Shift on Khashoggi Killing, Trump Edges Closer to Acknowledging a Saudi Role."
Later, before leaving on a trip to Montana, he was asked what the consequences would be if Saudi Arabia’s culpability was established.

“Well, it’ll have to be very severe,” he said. “I mean, it’s bad, bad stuff.”

But it is not at all clear what Mr. Trump has in mind, given the central role that Saudi Arabia plays in the president’s strategy for the Middle East and the web of ties that have developed between the prince and the White House, particularly with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner....

Trump said in the interview it was still “a little bit early” in the process to draw definitive conclusions about who ordered the killing. But he expressed no doubt that the truth would come out soon.... American intelligences agencies... are divided on the degree of responsibility that can be pinned on the prince....

During his conversation with The Times, Mr. Trump was uncharacteristically guarded.... In part, Mr. Trump acknowledged, that caution reflected his recognition that the Khashoggi case now posed a bigger challenge to him than other issues “because it’s taken on a bigger life than it would normally take on.”...

Advertising ineptitude.

A screenshot of something displayed in my Facebook timeline this morning. Glance, then look away, and tell me what you saw:

I saw, "DON'T VOTE."

I had to look a lot more closely to see what that other word was. (Admittedly, I'm going blind.) It felt like, "DON'T VOTE, BRO."

And the bro is looking at me hypnotically. Don't vote.

"In a startling reversal, Mayor Paul Soglin will now seek another four-year term, dramatically shaking up the city elections early next year."

The Capital Times reports on the Madison mayor, who said he was not running for reelection. That happened last July when Soglin was running for governor. But he lost badly in the primary. Soglin had created an opening that encouraged many new people to run for Mayor:
Since mid-summer, seven candidates have filed initial paperwork for the mayoral race: Ald. Maurice Cheeks; former Alds. Brenda Konkel, executive director of the tenant Resource Center, and Satya Rhodes-Conway, who works for the UW-Madison think tank Center on Wisconsin Strategy; Raj Shukla, executive director of the conservation organization River Alliance of Wisconsin; Toriana Pettaway, the city’s racial equity coordinator; Madison firefighter and former School Board member Michael Flores; and comedian Nick Hart.
Now, Soglin says "I made a miscalculation in July. I thought I would not be up for another campaign after the governor’s race. I am." As if it's was always only about his predicted energy level.
In July, Soglin said he believed that between six and eight consecutive years is an appropriate length of time for a mayor to serve, and underscored, “I can assure you there will not be a third sequel.”

“Eight years is a long time,” he said this week. “(But) the last two months, especially the feedback I’ve got in terms of handling the storm, has been very invigorating.”...

Watching scenes in movies and on TV where there are lots of candles next to the bed, do you worry about the bedding catching on fire?

I understand why set designers want to put candles around a bed — to set a mood. But my mood ends up being: Get those candles away from bed.

I've seen the candles-by-the-bed setup many times, but here's where I saw it most recently. As you may know, I'm slowly working my way through a box set of the complete episodes of "Friends," so that's where this comes from. I like this little scene a lot, quite apart from the candles-by-the-bed issue. Phoebe is trying to soothe the lovelorn Monica by doing some absurd ritual of going to your "happy place":

"This week, a friend texted me, 'I feel a panic that won’t stop.' I didn’t have to ask what she meant..."

"... we are, after all, less than three weeks from the midterms. '#MeToo,' I replied. Many women I know — though, of course, not only women — are walking around with a churning knot of terror in their stomachs. The confirmation of the cruel former frat boy Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court brought back the anguish and degradation so many of us felt after the 2016 election. Donald Trump grows more thuggish and mendacious by the day; 'gaslighting,' a term taken from a play about an abusive husband trying to drive his wife insane, has become a byword of our national life."

But who's the other person — the "husband" — trying to drive you insane? It sounds more like some new phenomenon, some kind of gaslighting yourself.

I'm trying to read the new Michelle Goldberg column in the NYT, "A Cure for Political Despair/Join the women trying to save America from Trump," but it's so hysterical and melodramatic. I guess you have to believe you're seriously ill before the proffered "cure" works. I'll bet there's some old play where characters believe some phony panacea worked because the purveyor of the cure began by duping them into thinking that they had a terrible disease. Which is to say: I'm not convinced there is a disease. But Michelle Goldberg sets up her pitch for the cure by asserting that America is full of women who are in a nonstop panic attack and feeling "a churning knot of terror." (What's a "churning knot"? Churning is an agitating movement, but a knot stops movement.)

So women (and some men)(at least those in the vicinity of Michelle Goldberg) are in some sort of horrid psychological state, perhaps because of a few political events (Trump's election, Kavanaugh's confirmation) and perhaps because somebody's trying to drive them crazy. But who?? Goldberg doesn't say. Goldberg vaguely gestures: "'gaslighting... has become a byword of our national life." But gaslighting means that you feel like you're going crazy because someone has a devious intent of making you feel crazy. If anyone is gaslighting here, it's Goldberg and her ilk, insisting that all the women she knows — come, join the group — are permanently panicked and have stomachs in a churning knot of terror.

The churning I'm seeing is an earnest and blandly ordinary effort to generate excitement about the upcoming elections. And after a few paragraphs, Goldberg settles in to this mundane business.
There is, I find, only one thing that soothes my galloping anxiety, and that is talking to women who are actually doing the work of campaigning. The people who are knocking on doors and organizing rallies tend to be much more cheerful and confident than those who spend too much time on Twitter obsessing over each new poll.
That is, now that I've made you gallopingly anxious, activate yourself and campaign for a Democrat. You'll become more cheerful and confident. Ah, yes, after a few more paragraph, she says it explicitly:
So if you, too, are scared, or furious, or despondent, find a Democrat close to you and go canvass for her (or him).... The only way to feel better is to do something to help.
Of course, it's not the only way. The other way is not to gaslight yourself in the first place.

ADDED: I'm just imagining one of these women coming to my door. I mean, I don't answer the door, because I'm picturing all sorts of characters I don't want to interact with, and now I have one more on my list. It's a woman who's been experiencing nonstop panic who believes the way to deal with her raging insanity is to get out and about knocking on doors. I am never answering the door again. Now, it's not just the kid selling bad peanut brittle and the environmental activist with the clipboard, it's the freaked out lady who thinks talking to me is some kind of cure for the churning stomach knots.

IN THE COMMENTS: Amadeus 48 said...
If I want to panic, I look for that old Blogging Heads episode with Althouse and Michelle Goldberg. Althouse is so sane; Goldberg is so crazy.

Amadeus 48 then came back and said:
OMG! I just watched the later Althouse/Goldberg Blogging Heads from 2010(?).

Althouse, I am in awe. Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" vs. "Dreams from my Father". Goldberg is as light as a feather. All hysteria all the time.

Well done.
Thanks. I just watched some of that. Very amusing from my point of view. Here:

October 18, 2018

At the Mendota Café...


... come in and talk.

"But a remarkable number of stories poured in from men about past misbehavior. The stories covered a wide spectrum of sexual misconduct..."

"... some of it deeply disturbing: There were multiple submissions that discussed participating in gang rapes. In others, men looked back and thought differently on activities that might be considered the everyday realm of high school boys: 'I would walk up to girls in my school and undo their bras. I thought it was funny but they thought it was horrible,' one wrote. 'I felt like I had a right to touch them or undo their bras as a joke and honestly thought it was O.K.' Above all, the submissions were striking for their candor: They were, or at least seemed to be, submitted by men genuinely questioning why they had once conducted themselves in ways of which they now felt ashamed."

From "Eight Stories of Men's Regret" (NYT).

"Lenny Letter, the website and newsletter created by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, will be shutting down on Friday..."

Started in 2015 by the Girls co-creators, Lenny Letter first launched as a weekly email newsletter with advice, essays and product recommendations for millennial women, before expanding to a website. Its mission statement read at the time of its launch: 'Lenny is your over sharing Internet friend who will yell at you about your finances, help you choose a bathing suit, lamp, president … AND tell you what to do if you need an abortion.'... During its tenure, the newsletter grew to more than 500,000 subscribers...."

New York Magazine reports.

How would you know if you were withdrawing from the visual world?

Maybe you'd begin to wear a brimmed hat as you sat in front of the window to write. You'd block half of the view of the leaves and branches you used to love filling your peripheral vision.

On your long walks, you'd always have an audiobook plugged into your ears and preoccupy your mind with the scenes inside a written story instead of looking around at the details of the buildings, the flowers, and the faces of passersby. You wouldn't run into things, you'd still use your eyes to find your way and not make dangerous mistakes, but you'd be inside your head, a sort of wandering phantom, disconnected from the landscape.

You wouldn't carry your camera anymore. You'd have your iPhone to take a picture if the occasion arose, but the occasion would rarely arise. Where years ago you'd have come home from one day with 200 photographs, you'd have 5 on a good day, but more often only one or none.

You find yourself listening to television, not watching. After you heard yourself complain a few times about the annoyance of the "flashing light" of TV, you'd stop saying that, and you'd develop the habit of looking down into a solitaire game on your iPad, not because it could possibly be interesting, but because it was a way of not looking at the moving, glittering screen.

You would turn back on a scenic mountain path because it didn't feel safe and you could accept your partner going up ahead of you and then coming back to tell you how it looked.

You would hesitate to drive, maybe quit altogether, and then even as a passenger feel uneasy looking out onto a dramatic panorama. You'd feel afraid at something you used to love to gaze upon. The whole idea of the pleasure of traveling would dim. What is there, really, to see? Why bother?

When a week's worth of your shirts were hanging to dry on the shower rod, you'd notice that everything was black, gray, or dark grayish blue and you'd think, I didn't do that on purpose. You'd consider shopping for something more interesting but find the prospect of browsing in shops utterly boring.

You might stop reading books on paper and read only on a lit up screen and turn up the brightness and bump up the print size. You might take your morning break from reading and writing, thinking you'll be back later, but then never come back. You'd get caught up in conversations and audiobooks and the sound of the television.

If visual limitation descended upon you slowly, would you know it, or would you adapt, wearing a hat, walking to audiobooks, playing solitaire by the TV, figure you'd grown tired of taking photographs, decide that travel and shopping were lackluster bourgeois pursuits, and so forth?

If so, and then if one day you found out you have cataracts and they can easily do surgery that restores your vision, you would look back on so many things you'd done to compensate for the loss of vision. What was disparate would suddenly cohere: You were withdrawing from the visual world and mentally adjusting. You were losing vision in your eyes and losing vision in your mind. You were going blind and blinding yourself to all the things you were doing to adjust to this encroaching blindness. You were building the inner world for yourself that a blind person needs, but you won't go blind. The surgery is simple. It's even so good that it will let you go without glasses for the first time since you were a child. And knowing that the restoration of vision will take place, suddenly you see coherent meaning in all those adjustments you made, resignedly drifting into the life of a blind person.

"Who’s Winning the Social Media Midterms?"

Asks the NYT.
A New York Times analysis of data from the Facebook and Instagram accounts of hundreds of candidates in next month’s midterm elections reveals that Democrats — and especially Democrats running for House seats — enjoy a sizable national lead in engagement on the two influential platforms....

The data, collected from more than 53,000 posts by more than 1,100 accounts, reflects a month’s worth of social media activity by nearly all of the Republican and Democratic candidates running for House, Senate or governor this year.
Wow. 53,000 posts. It's like the entire history of one lady's Blogspot blog.
The data, which covers 30 days ending Oct. 15, was gathered using a Facebook-owned tool called CrowdTangle. The tool counts the number of times users comment on, react to or share a user’s posts, a measure of popularity known as “total interactions.”
"Interactions." Oh, wait, every comment counts. It's an "interaction." I think I have 53,000 "interactions" in a month just on this blog. But the NYT front pages a study of 53,000 interactions and prods readers to think they're finding out about "who's winning the social media midterms." And it's not just comments, it's every time Facebook folk "comment on, react to or share a user’s posts." The 53,000 includes every click on the "thumb's up" icon. So they counted a lot of trivial things, but let's be clear what they didn't count:
The data includes public posts made by candidates on Facebook and Instagram. It does not include paid ads unless those ads began as organic, non-paid posts that were subsequently “boosted” using Facebook’s advertising tools. It also does not include activity on private accounts, or posts made visible only to specific groups of followers...
When I think of "social media," I think about what ordinary private citizens are sharing. That's excluded here. They began with the candidates' posts and then counted the reactions to those. I don't think they distinguished "liking" from sharing the post with your own group of friends, which would be a much more valuable "interaction."
Political strategists disagree about the importance of social media popularity. Some think it amounts to a kind of real-time voter sentiment index, while others play it down as, at most, one piece of a successful campaign...
Good. I'm glad they don't know. Or... if they did know, would they tell us?

Time for MSM at long last to get serious about Hillary Clinton's complicity in rape and sexual harassment.

Why now? Because she's gone out hounding publicity right before the midterm elections and it's the Democratic Party.

I'm reading, in the NYT, "Hillary Clinton’s Master Class in Distraction/Democrats need to be focused on the midterms." by Michelle Cottle. The headline makes no secret of the staunchly partisan reason for pushing back Hillary after giving her a pass all these years.
President Trump being a pig and an alleged sexual predator in no way excuses Bill Clinton from being a pig and an alleged sexual predator. In fact, by declining to re-examine her own husband’s acts, Mrs. Clinton only makes it easier for Mr. Trump’s defenders to ignore the current president’s. (Juanita Broaddrick’s accusation that she was raped by Mr. Clinton in 1978 can be revisited in a recent episode of the Slate podcast “Slow Burn.”)...

[I]t is no secret that Mr. Clinton’s response to sexual scandal was to try to trash the reputations of the women involved. And while the degree to which Mrs. Clinton joined in such efforts may remain in dispute — in the CBS interview, she denies having played any role — her fundamental complicity is beyond reasonable doubt.
You're referred over to Slate for the damning details, and it's significant that Slate is doing this now. But on a fundamental level, nothing new is happening. The top priority is Democratic Party power, and the sexual subordination of women matters when it serves that interest and gets brushed aside when it doesn't.

But why does Democratic Party power matter? The argument I've been hearing is that it matters because of the interests of women! Does that make sense? The interests of women are highlighted or hidden depending on whether it helps the Democratic Party amass power, and we're supposed to care about that party's power because it's for the good of women. It's laughable.

One way to attempt to make sense of it is that there are 2 different big women's issues at play. There are other issues that can be framed as woman-oriented, and just about anything can be reprocessed as gender politics. But there are 2 main issues: sexual subordination (rape, sexual harassment, etc.) and abortion. For as long as I can remember — at least 40 years — the Democratic Party has starkly distinguished itself from the Republican Party by supporting abortion, and — because no party is for rape and sexual harassment — the Democratic Party has given priority to abortion.

That priority was shown most memorably in the ludicrous, horrible case of Nina Burleigh:
In a 1998 essay for Mirabella, Burleigh described an occasion aboard Air Force One when she noticed President Bill Clinton apparently looking at her legs.... Approached by a Washington Post media reporter to discuss the Mirabella article, Burleigh stated, “I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”
I distanced myself from the Democratic Party during the Clinton impeachment, because I saw that the sexual harassment issues that had been so important in the Clarence Thomas hearings were turned into nothing when the party's own man was threatened. It's not a serious issue if it's only used selectively. It would be better to do nothing with it at all than to wheel it out when it works for your side and stow it away again when it doesn't. But if abortion is important enough to you, you might, like Burleigh, think it's worth it to turn sexual harassment and rape into nothing when it works to maintain access to abortion.

But what a kick in the head when it doesn't even work to keep your access to abortion! What if the Democratic Party is losing the midterms because the embodiment of its selective concern about rape and sexual harassment decides to go swanning about on the public stage 3 weeks before Election Day? Time for the liberal media to finally take her to task.

AND: 3 afterthoughts:

1. Male privilege can explain the priority of abortion over sexual harassment and rape. We see these as women's issues, and we might imagine that freedom from sexual harassment and rape is the stronger interest, because many women oppose abortion and only a minority want abortion completely legal. But men have an interest in abortion. Many men urge women to have abortions and pay for women's abortions. The availability of abortion is part of the agenda of sexual freedom. Hugh Hefner was a big supporter of the abortion rights movement. And the expanding definition of rape and increasing vigilance about sexual harassment in the workplace threaten the sexual freedom of men. Ask Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer. Gender politics-propaganda is designed to get women to vote for the party, so it's going to obscure the interests of men. But those interests are there, and they have their effect even — and especially — when they are not talked about.

2. Blowjobs deserve better than Nina Burleigh's famous quote. Her unstated proposition is that blowjobs are indeed jobs — work that you do for some sort of pay or because you owe a debt. It's not a pleasure for you, but a sacrifice. Worse than that, she's expressing the idea that women want something other than sex and they give sex to get those extraneous things. She's saying: Sex is not intrinsically valuable for a woman — it's a form of currency. We can buy what we want with it. In that construct, what's the sense of "buying" abortion rights? If you don't think sex is good in itself, don't have sex, and you won't ever need an abortion... unless you are raped. Which brings us back to the question which is the more important interest: access to abortion or freedom from rape and sexual harassment?

3. When I say that now is the time for liberal media to take Hillary Clinton to task over rape and sexual harassment, you might hear resonance with #TimesUp. I didn't intend that, and I want to stress how wrong it would be to make that connection. "Time's Up" means that in the past it was possible for men to get away with rape and sexual harassment. It was done in private spaces, hidden away, lied about. Women who objected were ignored, paid off,  suppressed. But that's all in the past. We don't do that anymore. That's what "Time's up" means. It's an idealistic assertion that embodies optimism. But when I say, now is the time for liberal media to take rape and sexual harassment seriously, I'm being sarcastic and cynical. I'm not saying the obscuring of the problem is a thing of the past and the future looks bright. I'm talking about party politics in the present, and I think the issue is forefronted in the run-up to the elections now because it seems useful. That's a transient and political motivation. Time isn't up. There's plenty of time in the future to do whatever people think works. I'm not a complete cynic: I'm saying these things harshly and openly because I think it can save people from getting taken in by political propaganda.

October 17, 2018

At the Brewery...

... raise your glass and your game.

"Warren ended up providing one of the clearest examples yet of how Trumpian rhetoric shifts the political conversation."

"The woman who is hoping to become the most progressive Democratic nominee in generations is not merely letting herself get jerked around by a Trumpian taunt. She is also reinforcing one of the most insidious ways in which Americans talk about race: as though it were a measurable biological category, one that, in some cases, can be determined by a single drop of blood. Genetic-test evidence is circular: if everyone who claims to be X has a particular genetic marker, then everyone with the marker is likely to be X. This would be flawed reasoning in any area, but what makes it bad science is that it reinforces the belief in the existence of X—in this case, race as a biological category... Warren... has allowed herself to be dragged into a conversation based on an outdated, harmful concept of racial blood—one that promotes the pernicious idea of biological differences among people—and she has pulled her supporters right along with her."

From "Elizabeth Warren Falls for Trump’s Trap—and Promotes Insidious Ideas About Race and DNA" by Masha Gessen (The New Yorker).

"Hannah Jenkins speaks English in the morning and German in the afternoon. It's not a routine she chose to adopt - but something her brain requires her to do."

"It all started with a cycling accident.... Hannah eventually came to on a busy ward in the Royal Berkshire Hospital with no idea where she was, what had happened or why, in her mind, no-one spoke English. 'I couldn't understand anything,' she says. 'I felt as though I'd woken up in a foreign country and I couldn't understand why people weren't speaking to me in a way that I could understand.'...  [Doctors] contacted her next of kin, her sister Margaret, who asked to speak to Hannah. As Hannah sat in her hospital bed she chatted away on the phone, relieved that she was finally able to communicate with someone. This bemused doctors, because previously she had only uttered the odd, indecipherable word. Hannah had so many questions for Margaret, one of them being why the doctors weren't speaking to her in English. 'They are, Hannah,' her sister replied..."

From "I woke up unable to speak English" (BBC).

An amazingly obsolete observation — made by George Carlin 22 years ago.

(Watch out: he says "fucking.")

Speaking of nostalgia, I'm nostalgic for the time when we had that to be irritated about.

"I'm not enrolled in a tribe, and only tribes determine tribal citizenship. I understand and respect that distinction."

What distinction?

That's Elizabeth Warren in this 5-and-a-half minute video dealing with the white-hot issue of the DNA test that does or doesn't support her statements over the years about her purported Native American ancestry.

I can figure out what distinction she means, but I'm interested in what bad writing reveals: "I'm not enrolled in a tribe, and only tribes determine tribal citizenship. I understand and respect that distinction." No distinction has been articulated. She's just conceded that she's not "Native American" in the sense that matters to the Cherokee Nation, which spoke up about her DNA test yesterday. To them, to be Cherokee is to have political status because the tribe has governmental power and controls its membership. The distinction Warren fails to articulate is between citizenship and genetic ancestry. Why doesn't she make that explicit? Does she think that touting one's genetics sounds wrong (at least to some people)? Does she not want to be confrontational to the Cherokee tribe by saying, yes, I know that tribal citizenship is important to you, and I'm not enrolled and don't qualify to be enrolled by your standards, but I've still got something going for me that I think matters, even though it's not what you think matters?

Why does it matter?! It matters because she talked about it in the past, and whether we believe all the law professors who say in that video that they did not take her supposed minority status into account when they hired her, we do know that she identified herself as Native American to the American Association of Law Schools and that Harvard Law School represented itself as having a Native American professor in its faculty when all it had was her. So the tiny percentage of possibly Native American DNA that Warren has matters only because she's fighting a charge of dishonesty and unfairness. If she had not used a claim of Native American ancestry in the past, she would never point to a DNA test now and say, look, I'm possibly a little tiny minuscule bit Native American. If that was the normal discourse in America, we'd be so bored with it by now.

I got that video at The Washington Post, where it appears with a Dana Milbank column:
Like most in the American melting pot, I’m a mutt: a stew of English and German, western pioneers and sharecroppers, immigrants from the shtetl and a great-great-great-grandfather who died fighting for the Iowa 39th Infantry in the Civil War.

This is why Warren’s DNA stunt was such a blunder: She took Trump’s DNA-test dare and let him divide us — again — by race and ethnicity....
Milbank relies on the same argument Warren uses in her video: Trump is the one using race to divide us. The defense of Trump there is: Trump calls out the dishonest use of race. But Milbank says something I think progressive Democrats like Warren disapprove of, the notion that America is a "melting pot." I think that's regarded as a microaggression.

From the Wikipedia article "Melting Pot":
In the early 20th century... [t]he melting pot was equated with either the acculturation or the total assimilation of European immigrants, and the debate centered on the differences between these two ways of approaching immigration: "Was the idea to melt down the immigrants and then pour the resulting, formless liquid into the preexisting cultural and social molds modeled on Anglo-Protestants like Henry Ford and Woodrow Wilson, or was the idea instead that everyone, Mayflower descendants and Sicilians, Ashkenazi and Slovaks, would act chemically upon each other so that all would be changed, and a new compound would emerge?"
We were talking about the idea of the "melting pot" back in June 2016. I wrote:
[Scott] Adams tries to figure out what Trump could say to undo the "crazy racist" branding. He pictures Trump saying he loves everyone and believes in the "melting pot."

I think what Trump is going to try to do... is argue that the true meaning of "racist" is what Democrats do, which is to openly talk about everyone — and to frame political appeals — in racial terms. What Trump said yesterday — about Elizabeth Warren — was "She made up her heritage which I think is racist. I think she's a racist actually, because what she did was very racist." The idea is: It's racist to exploit race, and they do that all the time. Democrats can be relied on to cite race continually, and Trump will have a lot of "there you go again" opportunities: They're trying to divide us by race to get political power for themselves. I will never do that.

ALSO: Trump might be able to get people to identify with him. He could say: I've been called a racist so unfairly, and it's what they do to you too if you don't stay in line. They've got people so afraid of being called a racist — completely unfairly — that half of the members of my own party are afraid to support me, they're so afraid they might get called a racist. This fear — this race-based fear, because of their racist name-calling — is terrible for America. 

I'm glad I didn't get around to blogging about the Shorewood School District reversing its decision to cancel the high school theater production of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Because now they've reversed the reversal and are back at cancellation.
An email from Shorewood superintendent Bryan Davis said that there would be no public performance of "To Kill A Mockingbird," which was scheduled to be performed at 7 p.m. Wednesday, "due to mental and emotional health of our entire student body related to the production."
There will be a "dress rehearsal" with only the family of the cast and crew in the audience. There will also be a press conference:
"It's going to be an opportunity for us to talk to all press about the context of the play. Also, we're going to have our students from our Youth Rising Up organization, some of those kids that spoke last night (Oct. 16 at the community conversation on race) so they can have their perspective and their voice in the conversation. So we felt that that was important to do," Davis' email said.
"Youth Rising Up" gets priority over Youth Who Worked Hard to Put Together a Play. The play was chosen by the faculty, not the students. The students worked in reliance on the faculty's support. The faculty caved. The learned lines of a classic story will not be heard so that those who've managed to get the performance blocked can once again have "their voice" heard. Why doesn't Youth Rising Up find/write a play that gives their perspective and learn that play and work hard on a production that an audience would show up for? What do they have to say — anything about courage? Because the Shorewood school authorities could use some.

Here's my post from last week reacting to the original cancellation. Excerpt:
Imagine letting students learn all the lines of a play, rehearse their parts, get all nervous and excited about the performance and then just cancelling it on them — cancelling it on them not because of anything they did wrong or anything that was wrong but because other people talked about protesting it. What kind of lesson is the school teaching?! What's the point of working hard and doing something worthwhile that you believe in and build with other people if the authorities won't support you but will take the "safest option" and side with the people who see an opportunity for protest and disruption.

Killing Roseanne "through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show."

Says a statement from Roseanne Barr (and her rabbi, Shmuley Boteach) posted on Facebook. Roseanne got kicked off the show she created and, to go forward without her, was that she died. But, of course, real-life Roseanne isn't dead, and the presumed audience for the Roseanneless "Roseanne" (AKA "The Conners'), probably misses her, and yet they are supposed to absorb the narrative that Roseanne died of drugs.
This was a choice the network did not have to make. Roseanne was the only show on television that directly addressed the deep divisions threatening the very fabric of our society. Specifically, the show promoted the message that love and respect for one another’s personhood should transcend differences in background and ideological discord. The show brought together characters of different political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds in one, unified family, a rarity in modern American entertainment. Above all else, the show celebrated a strong, matriarchal woman in a leading role, something we need more of in our country.

Through humor and a universally relatable main character, the show represented a weekly teaching moment for our nation. Yet it is often following an inexcusable -- but not unforgivable -- mistake that we can discover the most important lesson of all: Forgiveness. After repeated and heartfelt apologies, the network was unwilling to look past a regrettable mistake, thereby denying the twin American values of both repentance and forgiveness. In a hyper-partisan climate, people will sometimes make the mistake of speaking with words that do not truly reflect who they are. However, it is the power of forgiveness that defines our humanity.

Our society needs to heal on many levels. What better way for healing than a shared moment, once a week, where we could have all enjoyed a compelling storyline featuring a witty character – a woman - who America connected with, not in spite of her flaws, but because of them. The cancellation of Roseanne is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive.

"Anne, you are funny. The things that rile you. That's why we love you. But 'dirty?'"

"It was an infraction, for sure, but 'dirty' is reserved for intentionally trying to hurt a player."

Wrote stonethrower (calling me by my first name and spelling it wrong), in the comments to my post on Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, in which I said, about Manny Machado, "Look how dirty he played twice when sliding into second."

After Game 4, last night, I now have Christian Yelich to back me up: "Machado called ‘dirty player’ by Yelich after benches clear" (WaPo):
“He’s a player that has a history of those types of incidents,” Milwaukee slugger Christian Yelich said. “One time is an accident. Repeated over and over and over again, you’re just a dirty player. It’s a dirty play by a dirty player, and that’s what it is. I have a lot of respect for him as a player, but you can’t respect someone who plays the game like that.”...

Just a few weeks before the 26-year-old Machado likely hits the open market as one of the most desirable free agents in baseball, the big-hitting shortstop has become the latest star to tread the well-worn line between fierce competitors and dirty players.....

October 16, 2018

At the Tuesday Night Cafe...

... we’re getting a late start.

"A white woman was fired after getting caught on video blocking a black man from entering his own apartment building and then calling the cops on him..."

The NY Post reports. You've probably already seen this. I didn't get around to blogging it yesterday. I'm just blogging it now because I have a question that I'm not seeing anyone else asking.

I'm familiar with the problem of living in an apartment building with a locking entrance door. You worry that someone who doesn't belong there will use the opportunity of your opening that door to enter the building without a key. But you don't know everyone in the building so you don't know when someone is using this method. Okay. So what do you do? I know what I did. I would check out my surroundings and not go up to the door if someone was near me. I'd wait until I could use my key and get the door to close behind me before anyone else would have the opportunity to follow me in. I'd do the same thing on the way out. Unless I knew a resident coming up to the door, I wouldn't go out in a way that would create an opportunity for someone to go in. This is simple self-protection, and it doesn't require ever confronting anyone or making anyone feel disrespected.

But what's the point of confronting someone after you've created the opportunity for entry without using a key? If you're afraid the person is a criminal, confronting them might increase the chance that the person would attack you. And in the case of the woman in this recent incident, after letting the man in and treating him in a way that you wouldn't treat a good person, why would she get in the elevator with him and go up into a more private space, perhaps even to unlock her door, where she could be the victim of a push-in attack? Her behavior isn't consistent with the suspicion she expresses. If she's really is suspicious that he's a criminal — which is what her words expressed — why didn't she get the hell out of the building?

I know there have been several stories like this lately, and it always seems to be white women. I agree with everyone who thinks that it's horrible to make black people feel they're going to be regarded as intruders when they are doing completely ordinary things, but I would also like to understand what is motivating these white women to become confrontational? It's not consistent with feeling vulnerable and afraid, unless they are also delusional and think police will always instantly appear and save them from the conflict they create.

Fraternizing with the enemy.

Ryan Braun, on base for his team the Brewers, chats with the Dodger defending second base, Manny Machado. Braun, despite playing for Milwaukee, lives in Malibu, and he's inviting Machado to his house: "C’mon bruh! I know your wife’s about that beach life. … You come out this offseason, you gotta come through!"

This was in last night's big championship game, and I don't know if this was some kind of mind game of Braun's or if he's out there to make friends, but I have a particular problem with Machado, which is what I was searching for, not that wife's-about-that-beach-life bullshit.

Here. Look how dirty he played twice when sliding into second:

We play crazy mind games. They grab your leg.

"Cherokee Nation responds to Senator Warren’s DNA test."

From the Cherokee Nation website:
"A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America," Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. "Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage."
ADDED: Trump's tweets on the subject this morning:

1. "Pocahontas (the bad version), sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren, is getting slammed. She took a bogus DNA test and it showed that she may be 1/1024, far less than the average American. Now Cherokee Nation denies her, 'DNA test is useless.' Even they don’t want her. Phony!"

2. "Now that her claims of being of Indian heritage have turned out to be a scam and a lie, Elizabeth Warren should apologize for perpetrating this fraud against the American Public. Harvard called her 'a person of color' (amazing con), and would not have taken her otherwise!"

3. "Thank you to the Cherokee Nation for revealing that Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to as Pocahontas, is a complete and total Fraud!"

"A judge in a California federal court dismissed Clifford’s defamation lawsuit against the president. That lawsuit was always a sideshow."

"It was based on a single Trump tweet, from April 2018, regarding Clifford’s claim that Trump was behind an alleged incident in 2011, when an unknown man threatened Clifford to keep quiet about the tryst she allegedly had with Trump.... Judge Otero said he is concerned that allowing defamation suits like this to proceed against the president 'would significantly hamper the office of the President. Any strongly-worded response by a president to another politician or public figure could constitute an action for defamation. This would deprive this country of the "discourse" common to the political process.'"

From "The Donald 1, Stormy 0" by Jay Michaelson (The Daily Beast).

UPDATE: Horseface!

"Yeah, what's up with the woman?"

I asked, in the comments to yesterday's post about the paintings of convivially partisan Presidents, after bonkti said:
The same woman from slightly different perspectives in the background [in the 2 paintings] suggests adjacent tables at the same event. It seems a relatively inclusive approach, allowing for tables by affinity, as opposed to segregation by tribe.
Today, I'm reading "Trump loved a painting of himself drinking Diet Coke with Abe Lincoln so much, he hung it up in the White House" (Daily News), and I get the artist's answer to my question:
[Andy] Thomas said he did not want the portrait to depict an “all men’s club.” She represents a future female Republican president, he confirmed. 
The woman, seen in both the painting of the GOP Presidents and the painting of the Democratic Presidents, is walking toward the table in each painting.
“It would be pretty intimidating to walk up to that table,” Thomas said. “The woman who would be president would walk right up to that table without hesitation.”
Thomas painted the Democratic Presidents first, then did the GOP Presidents to "try to be as fair as I can." He didn't know his artwork was in the White House until he saw the talk on social media after people spotted it in the background during Trump's interview on "60 Minutes."
“We didn’t even know it was hanging. Darrell [Issa] gave him a gift of one of the editions. Last night when social media started lighting up, that was when we knew it was actually hanging,” Thomas said.... “We are kind of just in awe of all the media attention.” Thomas said. “It’s a real treasure, I’m just happy to make a living.”

"Omit," "skip."

Annotations by Marilyn Monroe, in the margins of a Jewish prayer book, described in the saddest religion story of the day, "Jewish prayer book annotated by Marilyn Monroe, who converted in 1956, could fetch thousands in auction" (WaPo).

October 15, 2018

At the 2-to-0 Cafe...

... keep your spirits up.

Does Trump owe Elizabeth Warren $1 million after she got a DNA test that showed she might be as much as 1/32 Native American?

We're already talking about Warren taking the test, and now I see (at The Hill) "Trump denies offering $1 million for Warren DNA test, even though he did." Here's the video where he's asked about it today and says, "I didn't say that you better read that again."

Okay! I'll take the challenge. I recommend the video, because it's acted out amusingly, very entertaining:

But here's the text, because Trump did say "you better read that again." And reading is great for the kind of textualism that any lawsuit to enforce a contract would have to focus on:
But let's say I'm debating Pocahontas. I promise you I'll do this: I will take, you know those little kits they sell on television... learn your heritage!... And in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she is of Indian heritage because her mother said she has high cheek bones. That;s her only evidence, her mother said we have high cheek bones.
All right, the conditions for accepting the offer by taking the test have not yet arisen. There has been no debate and certainly no proclaiming of Indian heritage in the middle of a debate. I don't think Elizabeth Warren would ever make the relevant proclamation. But she certainly hasn't done it yet.
We will take that little kit -- but we have to do it gently. Because we're in the #MeToo generation, we have to be very gentle. And we will very gently take that kit, and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm, even though it only weighs 2 ounces, and we will say: I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you're an Indian.
So the test to be taken is the one that Trump would toss to Warren in the middle of a debate. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet, and who thinks it ever would happen? Trump isn't going to throw something at Warren during a debate, even gently. It's a comical scenario, and we don't even need to argue with people who might say he really meant it, because it's plainly true that Trump has not yet tossed a DNA test kit at Warren during a presidential debate. She has not taken that test, and that's the only test he spoke of, and it's all purely hypothetical. There's no offer to accept, and what Warren did wasn't what Trump was talking about.

But if somehow a court would say that the test she did (allegedly) take is good enough, there would still be the question whether the result "shows [she's] an Indian." I don't think it does, but can you imagine Warren bringing a lawsuit and trying to convince a court that a DNA test indicating 1/32nd or only 1/1,024th Native American genes "shows you're an Indian"? I think it would be worth it to Trump to pay the $1 million to get her to do that.

So that Leslie Stahl "60 Minutes" interview with Trump was worth something.

We got a look at that painting on the Oval Office wall:

As Indy100 puts it:
The fact that the president of the United States has hung a painting of himself in the White House - originally based on an iconic image of a pack of dogs playing poker - has obviously drawn quite a reaction.
Full image (click to enlarge):

I was all: Who's the guy with his back to us? Maybe that's the artist...

I was noticing the beard. Took me a little while to get it! That's Abe Lincoln!

Who's missing? Don't say Obama, Clinton, Carter... It's all Republicans. They're all there — all the 20th and 21st century Republican Presidents. That's Coolidge in the back on the right, and if you look behind him, you can find Hoover and Harding. And that's Taft behind Ford's right shoulder. I think that might be Grant on the left side — or one of the other bearded Presidents.

I like the way the Presidents have their drinks, and non-drinking Trump and George W. have cola with ice.

Ah, I see here the artist has another painting with the Democratic Presidents:

These are cheesy paintings, made to be a poster, I assume, so it's funny to see it hanging in the Oval Office, but I think it's pretty nice for Trump to want to visualize himself in camaraderie with the other Presidents. Trump has a connection to pop art, to low art, and so that suits him.

Portraits in the White House tend to be sober and reverent depictions of only one person. In our boringly conventional moments, we might picture a President communing with a favorite old President, perhaps talking to it, perhaps kneeling and praying before it. But the President we picture is not Trump.

"Responding to years of derision by President Donald Trump and other critics, Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday released a report on a DNA analysis that provides strong evidence she does, in fact, have Native American heritage."

AP reports.
The analysis on the Massachusetts Democrat was done by Stanford University professor Carlos D. Bustamante. He concluded Warren’s ancestry is mostly European but says “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor.”

Bustamante, a prominent expert in the field of DNA analysis, determined Warren’s pure Native American ancestor appears “in the range of six to 10 generations ago.”

That meshes with an 1894 document the New England Genealogical Society unearthed suggesting Warren’s great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American. That would make Warren 1/32nd Native American.

But if her ancestor is 10 generations back, that could mean she’s just 1/512th Native American, according to the report. That could further excite her critics instead of placating them.
I don't think you should be checking the box and allowing Harvard to claim to have a Native American professor based on 1/32 or 1/512, but I like that Warren has removed the basis for inferring that she won't get the test because she knows she's been lying. On the other hand, we're only hearing about the test after the results are in and the results are of some use to her in quieting those who'd say why doesn't she get a DNA test.

I wish she'd never gotten herself into this predicament, because I think demanding to know someone's race or ethnicity is something we shouldn't see any need for. I'm glad we can stop demanding that of her.

Unless you don't trust Stanford University professor Carlos D. Bustamante and want a second opinion. I wouldn't recommend that.

UPDATE: The text at the AP link is so changed now! It bears almost no resemblance to what I quoted above. So annoying! It begins:

"Hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and a cardigan..."

It's a Miley Cyrus allusion....

I hopped off the plane at LAX/With a dream and my cardigan/Welcome to the land of fame excess/Am I gonna fit in?/Jumped in the cab, here I am for the first time/Look to my right, and I see the Hollywood sign/This is all so crazy/Everybody seems so famous....

What do you think of this "Your coffee deserves better" anti-Scott-Walker issue ad?

My reaction was — and this is an exact transcription of my thoughts — Hey, put the lid on your coffee the right way. What a careless driver! What kind of idiot lets his coffee slop all over the place without noticing that the lid's not on securely? Oh?! Blame the road. Mm-hmm. Blame Walker? Great metaphor. People are not looking out for themselves, they're screwing up, being careless, not taking normal precautions, and they want a governor who'll foolproof the world for us all. Sorry. No. Take personal responsibility. This commercial is making me a right-winger....

"After a successful career as an adviser to and unofficial spokesman for the royal family of Saudi Arabia, [Jamal Khashoggi] had been barred from writing in the kingdom, even on Twitter, by the new crown prince."

"His column in a Saudi-owned Arab newspaper was canceled. His marriage was collapsing. His relatives had been forbidden to travel to pressure him to stop criticizing the kingdom’s rulers. Then, after he arrived in the United States, a wave of arrests put a number of his Saudi friends behind bars, and he made his difficult decision: It was too dangerous to return home anytime soon — and maybe forever. So in the United States, he reinvented himself as a critic, contributing columns to The Washington Post and believing he had found safety in the West.... According to interviews with dozens of people who knew Mr. Khashoggi and his relationship with the Saudi leadership, it was his penchant for writing freely, and his organizing to push for political reform from abroad, that put him on a collision course with the crown prince.... 'Mohammed bin Salman had been paying millions of dollars to create a certain image of himself, and Jamal Khashoggi was destroying all of it with just a few words,' said Mr. Tamimi, the friend. 'The crown prince must have been furious.'"

From "For Khashoggi, a Tangled Mix of Royal Service and Islamist Sympathies" (NYT).


"[Beto O'Rourke] had Joe Kennedy down here campaigning with him. And Joe Kennedy was driving him around. I have to admit, it may be the first time in history anyone's ever asked a Kennedy to drive."

Ted Cruz makes a Mary Jo Kopechne joke, quoted in "Kennedyesque? Texans get close-up comparison as Beto O'Rourke stumps with Joe Kennedy III" (Dallas Morning News).
In Corpus, O'Rourke began by asking Kennedy to play chauffeur and as he often does, letting viewers come along for the ride via Facebook Live. They bantered. O'Rourke teased Kennedy for being unable to figure out the windshield wipers as a brief downpour hit....

Asked in McAllen about Cruz's jab, Kennedy said... "My family — I'm proud of the contribution that they have made to this country and the sacrifice that they have made to this country.... My uncle fought his entire life to try make sure that everybody got access to health care...
Everybody?  Everybody except that one person.
... because of the challenges that he saw with his own son almost losing his life to cancer as a boy. And you have a senator [Cruz] that shut down the federal government to try to deny millions of people access to health care. Texas obviously has a choice to make."
IN THE COMMENTS: wendybar said:
Well, Beto is like Ted Kennedy. He drove drunk got in an accident and left the scene. He really COULD be the next Kennedy.

October 14, 2018

At the Mossy Ridge Café...


... stretch out on the velvety green carpet and chat all night.

Bitter ant.

Here's a product you might need if you, like me, eat crumbly food while keyboarding. I just bought that, as the K key is getting balky on the keyboard I bought just last June, when the U key completely failed. At the time, I said, "The old keyboard lasted a long time and, like the keyboard before it, went bad with the failure of one or 2 keys. I'm not disappointed at the failure, really. I use my keyboards for hours a day, day after day, and they last for years. How many hours. I think they go bad after, perhaps, 5,000 hours. That's good enough."

This new keyboard is only 4 months old, and that's not good enough. Though I must admit, I've been eating more bread because I invented a new diet, 3 half-sandwiches a day, which is my standard diet on normal days. Of course, I type while eating. I can hardly eat without typing. A difficult but effective diet for me would be: No keyboard near food.

So I'm hoping the compressed air will do enough to save the baby keyboard. Meanwhile, look at the Amazon page:

"Contains bitter ant." I'm thinking I'd be bitter too, trapped in a can of compressed air. It seems unfair to the ant, to call him bitter, considering the circumstances. Anyway, a bitter ant in a can of compressed air. Makes me think of the moth larvae in tequila.

But what's in the can is not a tiny living being, trapped and aptly cynical. It should be one word: bitterant.
Gas dusters often use a bitterant to discourage inhalant abuse, although this can cause problems for legitimate users. The bitterant not only leaves a bitter flavor in the air, but also leaves a bitter residue on objects, like screens and keyboards, that may transfer to hands and cause problems (such as when eating).
Such as when eating! Son of a bitch!

"Unlike silly songs for children by, say, Raffi, or maudlin songs for parents like Dylan’s 'Forever Young' or Cat Stevens’s 'Father and Son'—two ballads eager to preserve their singers’ sons in amber..."

"... [Paul] Simon had genuinely intergenerational appeal. He shared with us young passengers the joyful and terrible news of adulthood with patty-cake rhymes ('mama pajama,' 'drop off the key, Lee') and jaunty rhythms, scored by a panoply of ludicrous and wonderful-sounding instruments—from the hooting cuíca in 'Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard' to the triumphant parade drums of 'The Obvious Child.'"

From "Paul Simon: Fathers, Sons, Troubled Water" by Daniel Drake (NYRB).

It's interesting, the music a parent shares with a child and imagines suits the child's interests and needs.

I agree that Dylan's "Forever Young" and Cat Stevens's "Father and Son" are not good children's music. And maybe the even both deserve the adjective "maudlin." Especially the Dylan song, which is one of the Dylan songs I dislike. Now, "Father and Son" — that's a great song. Love it. (And commenters: Don't revisit the old topic of Cat Stevens's religion. I will consider it a threadjack and delete.)

No, that's not maudlin at all. It's incredibly brilliant. But not a children's song. Maybe good for a teenage boy and his father, but it's hard to imagine any father and son who could both identify with it and enjoy it together.

"I am sure that during this century, people will discover how to modify both intelligence and instincts such as aggression."

"Laws will probably be passed against genetic engineering with humans. But some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as memory, resistance to disease and length of life.... Once such superhumans appear, there will be significant political problems with unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete... Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate."

Wrote Stephen Hawking.

"If you can think back through the mists of Trump time, before Kanye and Khashoggi and even Kavanaugh..."

I'm trying to read the new Andrew Sullivan column in New York Magazine and I'm stuck less than half way through the first sentence.

First, a sort of weird admiration... Oh, yeah, KKK. I hadn't noticed. All those Ks. Is there something about K that gets attention?

But... the Ks go together, and yet Khashoggi was — wasn't he'd? — tortured and murdered, so he's not a proper subject for tossing in with a superficial amusement about letters.

And... come to think of it, Kavanaugh wasn't a subject for amusement.

And... if the only one we're laughing at is Kanye, that's trite. Laughing at Kanye. And why are we laughing at him? It better not be a special way to laugh at black people. No, no, no... who would that even be — a white Kanye? According to SNL, the white Kanye is Donald Trump (in the deranged mind of Donald Trump).

There's much more to the Andrew Sullivan column. I think he begins with that "If you can think back through the mists of Trump time" because he's aware that, writing only once a week, he's presenting items that readers, used to following the news on a daily basis, might find stale, and he's encouraging us to feel that he will make it worth it to look back into the bygone days of last week.

"Oh my God, it's Black Me!"

Whiteness, in the NYT.

I was interested to read the NYT op-ed, "Harvard and the Myth of the Interchangeable Asian/We’re mistaken for each other, but we’re not mistaken about ourselves" by Lisa Ko (a novelist), but that headline does not prepare the reader for the tone of the article, which is creepily presumptuous of the reader's readiness to think of "whiteness" as an entity.

Ko writes:
For many children of immigrants... our origin stories have centered on our relationships to whiteness and class assimilation....

We can choose, falsely, to believe that if we try hard enough, we’ll be accepted by whiteness and gain its privileges, at the expense of other people of color — the myth of exceptionalism. Or we can work to be in solidarity across racial, ethnic and class differences, to refuse to be used to uphold white supremacy....

As America moves away from whiteness as its norm, it’s crucial to imagine, and fulfill, our own radical futures.
Accepted by whiteness? Not accepted as white, but accepted by whiteness. Like Whiteness is an embodied and empowered entity. I'm willing to believe that's how some people who feel subordinated picture race, but I'm disturbed that the NYT has published an op-ed that expects its readers to go along with what is either a delusion or a unexamined literary trope.

Who was holding the chainsaw?

"Tennessee father run over by lawn mower after trying to attack son with chainsaw."

A miswritten Daily New headline. The father was wielding the chainsaw, attempting (allegedly) to murder his son. The headline makes it sound as though the son had the chainsaw and the lawnmower was a free agent. In fact, the son had the lawnmower and used it in (alleged) self-defense.

Since the father is the one with the injuries, how do they know which one was the attacker?

What would you choose if forced to fight and could pick either the lawnmower or the chainsaw?

ADDED: Meade says the only reason that article was published was to say, look at these people, they're deplorables. In that view, I should not have blogged this.

More blood.

Amazon link: here.