May 31, 2014

Democracy trumped by big money.

"Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan: Why we're committing $120 million to Bay Area schools."
Almost four years ago we started supporting efforts to improve district schools and expand charter schools in Newark, New Jersey...
To see what happened in Newark, read "Schooled: Cory Booker, Chris Christie, and Mark Zuckerberg had a plan to reform Newark’s schools. They got an education."

They got an education... and presumably they learned something. The local people might not appreciate the imaginative, dreaming experiment performed on their children. There seems to be a subtext that the subjects of the experiment have such bad prospects that it's hard to put them in a worse position.

"Invasive species: envisioning the future of food in America."

A photo series.

Via NPR, which says: "Scientists have said that one way to deal with these creatures is to eat them up. The problem is, they don't seem very appetizing. While some of these critters might be perfectly edible, they can't really compete with hamburgers or cupcakes."

Just make them into hamburgers... and cupcakes.

Frankly, I'm not buying "lemon curd tart in chocolate and earthworm crust, with a crispy earthworm topping."

The "envisioning" really should come in the form of putting things out of our vision, which is what hamburgers are already doing. Grind it up. Make it disappear. You don't think about the insects (and excrement!) that have taken their place inside your food.

Parlors I walk right past without thinking of entering.

Politico: "Parlor game: What's next for Jay Carney?"

The Wall Street Journal says Scott Walker "dodged" its point about settling the John Doe investigation.

Walker said he had no power to settle the federal lawsuit that attacks the investigation because he's not a party to that lawsuit, but...
Sorry, that's disingenuous... Our editorial concerned Mr. Walker's willingness to settle with prosecutors over his role in the state John Doe probe. The worry is that he might settle to help his re-election campaign while throwing his allies over the side.

Such a settlement would make even less sense after the latest judicial order late Friday by federal district Judge Rudolph Randa rebuking John Doe special prosecutor Francis Schmitz. Our editorial had suggested that Mr. Schmitz might be in contempt of Judge Randa's May 8 preliminary injunction against the John Doe by trying to cut a deal with Mr. Walker. Mr. Schmitz followed by asking Judge Randa to "clarify" if the injunction included "all activities related" to the investigation, presumably including any talks with Mr. Walker's lawyers.
ADDED: Here's my post about the older editorial and before Walker made the statement discussed in the new editorial:
[I]t's not as if Walker could settle O'Keefe's claim. But Walker might bind himself not to associate with the Club, when in fact there was a right of association. That is, Walker could unilaterally render the Club's right to associate unusable.

May 30, 2014

Club for Growth sues in Wisconsin state court to force the Government Accountability Board out of the John Doe investigation.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
The lawsuit argues that the involvement of the GAB — a civil enforcement agency — in the criminal John Doe probe has created a "Frankenstein monster" that has deprived O'Keefe of some of his legal rights.

"The result is terrible to behold: a creature that covertly collects sensitive information on political activities that do not — and cannot — constitute a crime, all the while maintaining a nearly impenetrable shield of secrecy," the lawsuit reads....

"Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling does not have the authority to stop a $2 billion sale of his team..."

".. because he has been determined to be mentally unfit to make decisions related to the family trust..."

Now, there's a clever move in a devious game, right?

On theme today — the theme is self-refutation — the name of Obama's new press secretary: Josh Earnest.

So Jay Carney is out, and the new Obama mouthpiece is Josh Earnest. Great name! And that name is on theme today. We were just talking about self-refuting statements... on the occasion of Hillary's "I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans... Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me."

2 Pinocchios for "A ‘happy’ Obamacare infographic designed to be tweeted."

"We realize an infographic has to condense information, but there is a high burden to meet for one designed to be tweeted. In this case, Enroll America grabbed the statistics that cast the Affordable Care Act in the best possible light, even though a huge percentage of the respondents had barely a chance to experience the system and form opinions about it. We highly doubt many people actually read the report before they retweeted the graphic."

"Shinseki resigns after VA scandal."

WaPo headline — apparently true, but not yet supported by the accompanying text, which begins:
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki apologized publicly Friday for what he called an “indefensible” lack of integrity among some senior leaders of the VA health-care system, and he announced several remedial steps, including a process to remove top officials at the troubled VA medical center in Phoenix.

Shinseki gave no indication that he intends to resign, despite growing calls for him to step down because of the scandal.

Hillary self-refutes: "I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans."

"It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me."

From her forthcoming book, previewed in Politico.

By "self-refutes," I mean a statement that asserts something and cancels it out simultaneously. I'm trying to think of some famous examples of this, but failing that, I'll just make up a sentence that demonstrates the kind of statement I'm talking about: I will not indulge in hyperbole as I present myself to you as the most qualified individual who has ever run for the office of President of the United States.

Ah! I thought of a well-known example: any statement that begins with the words "Not to mention." And here's one I found on the internet: "There are no absolute claims."

And here's something: "Internal Contradiction: Fallacies of Self Refutation." That quotes Aristotle,  — "One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time" — and Thomas Paine:
"But granting the grammatical right, that Moses might speak of himself in the third person, because any man might speak of himself in that manner, it cannot be admitted as a fact in those books, that it is Moses who speaks, without rendering Moses truly ridiculous and absurd: -- for example, Numbers xii. 3: "Now the man Moses was very MEEK, above all the men which were on the face of the earth." If Moses said this of himself, instead of being the meekest of men, he was one of the most vain and arrogant coxcombs; and the advocates for those books may now take which side they please, for both sides are against them: if Moses was not the author, the books are without authority; and if he was the author, the author is without credit, because to boast of meekness is the reverse of meekness, and is a lie in sentiment."
Let us do unto Hillary as Thomas Paine did unto Moses.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paul Zrimsek said:
Bush lied, people [censored]! 

"In New Orleans, major school district closes traditional public schools for good."

"With the start of the next school year, the Recovery School District will be the first in the country made up completely of public charter schools, a milestone for New Orleans and a grand experiment in urban education for the nation."

WaPo reports. 

For contrast, read this New Yorker article by Dale Russakoff: "Schooled: Cory Booker, Chris Christie, and Mark Zuckerberg had a plan to reform Newark’s schools. They got an education." Excerpt:
... Ras Baraka [the principal of Central High School, a city councilman, and post-Booker mayoral candidate] held a press conference in front of Weequahic High School, denouncing the plan as “a dismantling of public education.… It needs to be halted.”...

In late January, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, spoke at a school-board meeting at First Avenue School in Newark. Five hundred people filled the auditorium; another three hundred and fifty listened in the cafeteria, and more than a hundred stood outside, demanding entry. Weingarten pledged the A.F.T.’s support “until this community gets its schools back,” and declared, “The nation is watching Newark.”...

Shavar Jeffries [lawprof and mayoral candidate] believes that the Newark backlash could have been avoided. Too often, he said, “education reform . . . comes across as colonial to people who’ve been here for decades. It’s very missionary, imposed, done to people rather than in coöperation with people.” Some reformers have told him that unions and machine politicians will always dominate turnout in school-board elections and thus control the public schools. He disagrees: “This is a democracy. A majority of people support these ideas. You have to build coalitions and educate and advocate.” As he put it to me at the outset of the reform initiative, “This remains the United States. At some time, you have to persuade people."
That mayoral election took place on May 13th. Baraka beat Jeffries:
Was Ras Baraka’s win a referendum on Cory Booker?...

... Baraka and Booker are polar opposites. Booker is the Ivy-League and Oxford educated, suburban-bred son of IBM executives who brought a deracialized campaign persona, neoliberal policy proposals and tremendous national and international attention to the city. Baraka is the son of the late poet Amiri Baraka who brought his parents progressive, nationalist and activist sensibilities into formal politics. The only things these two men share are a common racial identification and birth year.

"These two amazing young men, Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe, truly could have gone all night."

"Having outlasted 279 of their colleagues, they went toe-to-toe, round after round, demonstrating their facility across every challenge the English language could provide."
There was no reason to go past twenty-two rounds and the limits of the Championship Word List, because neither of these boys was better than the other tonight. Both were outstanding. All that would have happened, had this gone further, was one would have gotten lucky and the other, not—but neither would have been "better" in any meaningful sense.
And: "The competition was against the dictionary, not each other,"  said Sriram, in a nice demonstration of grace and style... to go with the fantastic spelling.

"The Smutty-Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas."

I got a lot out of this NYT Magazine profile of the poet Patricia Lockwood. I'll just give one excerpt, about her father:
Greg Lockwood married Lockwood’s mother, Karen, when they were both teenagers; he had just joined the Navy. Karen was raised Catholic, but Greg was an atheist. During one patrol, on a nuclear submarine off the coast of Norway, he underwent what he later described as “the deepest conversion on record.” He claims it grew out of soul-searching following several personal setbacks, but the family legend ascribes it to the fact that he and the crew on his previous patrol watched “The Exorcist” more than 70 times in 88 days. Whatever the catalyst, Lockwood became a devout Christian. He started a family, attended college and seminary and eventually was ordained as a Lutheran minister. And then one morning in 1985 he “woke up Catholic”; a few years later he became a priest, with the zeal of the twice-converted.

In Lockwood’s telling, her father ruled the home as a loving and idiosyncratic patriarch who wore his cassock in the living room, or else very little — “It was either full regalia or nothing” — watched sword-and-sandal movies obsessively, played blues guitar, ate copious amounts of sausage and fed the family a steady dose of prog rock. 
Also at the link: very quirky sex jokes, like: "Sext: I am a living male turtleneck. You are an art teacher in winter. You put your whole head through me."

"[Obama's] reliance on baseball and football metaphors does reveal him to be an American exceptionalist of sorts. If he weren't, he'd use soccer analogies."

"Football, after all, is the most distinctively American sport; and baseball, although popular in some Asian and Latin American countries, is a close second. To people in most of the world's countries, except Greece, Obama might as well be speaking Greek when he talks about 'singles' and 'doubles' and 'home runs.' Then again, Obama himself got a bit confused. He said he'd 'stick to baseball,' then proceeded to stick to football, or maybe switch to basketball. In the last two sports, teams on offense 'advance the ball'; in baseball, it is the offensive player who advances from one base to the next. 'Put the ball in play' is, however, a baseball term."

Says James Taranto.

ADDED: Also at that link, I liked this:
Life Imitates the Onion

"Woman a Leading Authority on What Shouldn't Be in Poor People's Grocery Carts"--headline, Onion, May 1

"The Campaign for Junk Food: Michelle Obama on Attempts to Roll Back Healthy Reforms"--headline and subheadline, New York Times, May 29

"And now, with this diploma in hand, most of you will go on to the noblest pursuits, like helping a cable company acquire a telecom company."

"You will defend BP from birds. You will spend hours arguing that the well water was contaminated well before the fracking occurred. One of you will sort out the details of my pre-nup. A dozen of you will help me with my acrimonious divorce. And one of you will fall in love in the process. I'm talking to you, Noah Feldman!"

In case you're wondering what Exene Cervenka thinks of the Santa Barbara murders.

She thinks it's a hoax.

And if you don't know who Exene Cervenka is, that just means you don't know your 80s punk, so don't say "Exene who?" Look into your own soul and ask why you are not more informed about punk rock music.

ADDED: This story made me want to show you something I read yesterday when Meade and I were debating about whether a place was "twee," and it became necessary to narrow down exactly what "twee" is supposed to mean. (Did you know "twee" originated as baby-talking the word "sweet"?) Anyway, this — "Twee time: Can we stop the sweet?" — was written in 2011:
"But twee now is almost a value set," said Lisle Mitnik, guitarist for Very Truly Yours, Chicago's best-known twee offering to the latest resurgence of twee-inflected rock. "It's a rejection of societal pressures, a denial of coolness, punk without anger. It can be precious, but a precious moment can also be beautiful."

Indeed, if there's a reason for our current twee proliferation, it's probably here: When every other innocuous TV show and commercial and pop song and animated movie requires the kind of "edge" once associated with a more cantankerous strain of pop culture, what could be more contrarian than a hand-stitched, sunshiney smile delivered without an ounce of detectable irony?
What was that edge that no longer cuts? What is this sweetness that doesn't cloy?

May 29, 2014

"I've been confused for Anthony Weiner twice now. I don't know how this keeps happening."

Oh, Paul Ryan, please don't put that image in my head.

Have you ever been mistaken for a celebrity (or if you are a celebrity, for some other celebrity)? If so, what do you do? My father used to get mistaken for Frank Sinatra. He gave autographs!

"There’s nothing lesbians hate more than women like me. I know, because back when I was a lesbian..."

"... I hated me. Or at least I empathized with my ex-girlfriend when she talked about hating who I’ve become. Bisexuals, she said, glommed onto lesbians because they feared their fathers, or had been devastated by ex-boyfriends. For them, lesbianism was a vacation from the pressures of heterosexuality. Even feminine lesbians were to be regarded with healthy skepticism. You never knew when one might turn...."

"Nobody is saying 'that news organizations should simply defer to the government when it comes to deciding what the public has a right to know about its secret activities'..."

"... which is how [NYT Public Editor Margaret] Sullivan mischaracterized [Michael] Kinsley’s argument [against Glenn Greewald]. Of course the press can, and should, fight for its rights. But we won’t always win; it would be arrogant to suggest that we always should. The rule of law applies to everybody, even reporters."

RELATED: Snowden did a TV interview last night.
"There are times that what is right is not the same thing as what is legal,” Snowden said. “Sometimes to do what’s right you have to break the law.”...

“Being a patriot doesn’t mean prioritizing service to government above all else,” Snowden told [Brian] Williams. “Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country and knowing when to protect the Constitution against the encroachment of adversaries. Adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries. They can be bad policies.”

"Conservatives stung by talk of John Doe settlement with Scott Walker."

Headline at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Text:
A legal civil war broke out Wednesday among targets of a John Doe probe, as a conservative group sought Wednesday to block prosecutors from having settlement talks with Gov. Scott Walker's campaign.

In a letter sent Wednesday, the Washington, D.C., attorney representing the Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of its directors questioned whether a special prosecutor in the case is negotiating with the GOP governor's campaign to seek concessions that the club might oppose.
Ironic, considering that the probe is over whether the Club coordinated with Walker, but maybe this is a devious ploy to make them look like they don't coordinate!
The club and its treasurer, Eric O'Keefe, filed a federal lawsuit in February against special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and others contending the secret investigation into the 2012 recall campaigns violated their rights to free speech. This month, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa in Milwaukee halted the probe as he considers the group's claims.
I want to see this civil suit go forward. If the prosecutors are violating rights, I want them held to account. And if they're not, I want to hear the federal courts say so. But it's more complicated than that, because it's not as if Walker could settle O'Keefe's claim. But Walker might bind himself not to associate with the Club, when in fact there was a right of association. That is, Walker could unilaterally render the Club's right to associate unusable.
"Let me be perfectly clear: a settlement that seeks, in any fashion, to further the John Doe investigation by violating Mr. O'Keefe's or the Club's speech or associational rights would be a blatant violation of the preliminary injunction," [the Club's lawyer David] Rivkin wrote to Randall Crocker, Schmitz's attorney. "Your client cannot, via settlement or other maneuvers, attempt to circumvent the injunction — at least, he cannot do so without seriously risking a judgment of contempt."
A source with knowledge of the probe confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that other conservatives caught up in the probe are worried that the attorney for the Walker campaign, Steven Biskupic, is not being aggressive enough with prosecutors and not acting in their best interests.
But Biskupic and Walker can't talk to the press and explain any of this because Wisconsin law binds those who know about the John Doe investigation to secrecy... which is pretty frustrating, since on the level of constitutional rights, this is all about freedom of speech.
The Wall Street Journal urged Walker not to engage in any possible settlement talks with prosecutors who "need a face-saving legal exit."

"Mr. Walker is facing a rough re-election fight this year, and perhaps he and his lawyers want to remove any chance of a September or October legal surprise," the editorial reads. "Mr. Walker might think he can help himself with a settlement, but he'd be letting down his allies if he did so in a way that lets the bogus theory of illegal coordination survive....Mr. Walker is a hero to many for his fight against public unions, but he will tarnish that image if he sells out the cause for some short-term re-election reassurance."

Rick Esenberg, an attorney and president of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said he was skeptical that the Walker campaign was entertaining making significant concessions to prosecutors. Any talks would likely stem from prosecutors seeking a way to save face after the difficult rulings by Randa and Peterson, he said.
I certainly hope Esenberg is right about that.

"Meet the Men Who Drink Breast Milk."

Uh... no.
Anthony, who lives in Queens, is an athlete, and he has a secret fuel for keeping his stamina up. A friend suggested he try it; a lot of guys he’s met at different gyms use it.

“It gives me incredible energy I don’t get from other food and drinks,” he said. Typically, he buys it online for about $2.50 an ounce....

Jason Nash, a 55-year-old father of four, started drinking breast milk after the birth of his first child. "It occurred to me that breast milk could be just as healthy and tasteful for adults as infants,” Nash said. “I believe it has kept me from getting sick all these years.” His wife isn’t thrilled, but doesn’t mind as long as the milk comes from a safe source. For other men (not least those in adult-nursing relationships), breast milk is a kink. “All I’ll say is it’s a fetish for me,” wrote another man, whose post on Only the Breast identified him as a "nice, harmless man in New Jersey seeking breast milk from healthy, non-smoking mom.”
Commerce!

"When you eat a significant amount of ice, your body burns energy to melt it."

"Eating ice should, by the logic of this diet, also provide some level of satiety, if only so far as it physically fills space in the stomach and mouth."
At some point beyond [a] liter, too much ice can be a problem. In the case of one obese person who attempted to eat seven quarts of ice per day, [Dr. Brian] Weiner says, "Not surprisingly, this person suffered an uncomfortable feeling of coldness." In his professional opinion, that much ice per day would, for most people, be a "toxic dose." He recommends avoiding eating much more than the Slurpee-tested one liter of ice daily, "to avoid hypothermia or unusual cooling of the body. ... Some organs do not work optimally when the body temperature drops too much."...

Physics writer Andrew Jones offers more skeptical calculations as to the caloric benefits of the ice diet, determining that eating a kilogram of ice would burn 117 calories. "To reach the 3,500 calories required to lose a pound of weight, it would be necessary to consume about 30 kilograms [66 pounds] of ice," Jones writes. "Not exactly the most efficient diet plan." That means, if you ate a liter of ice every day, you would lose about a pound of weight every month, all other things in life being equal. That's not bad. And all other things wouldn't be equal. Everything in your life would be different because you would be eating a liter of ice every day.
That's in The Atlantic. You might remember my writing about ice and weight loss last January:
I've long thought that to burn more calories you ought to drink more ice water (which would include tap water on a day like today).... [I]sn't it obvious that your body is going to have to expend calories to warm up anything cold you put in. Now, I'm distracted by the thought of a lucrative business manufacturing smooth metal devices that fit comfortably into various bodily orifices. You chill them to some perfectly comfortably cool, safe temperature,  then insert them until they warm up. Calories burned....

I'm concerned that there's a blubber-up reaction to cold in the long term. Fat protects you from the cold.  Take a look at the walrus. Nature did not evolve us to freeze to death (or to starve from over-burning our fat reserves). Our ancestors survived cold and privation to give us bodies that make us drift toward resemblance to the walrus.

Michelle Obama says: Sound science says: Buy your own potatoes!

Now, some of you libertarians might think people ought to buy their own food, but there are government feeding programs, and once there are, the government gets to dictate what food it's going to pay for.

I guess we could go down a legal sidetrack and brainstorm about possible rights that could be violated in the government's decisionmaking about which food you can buy on a program like Women, Infants and Children (WIC). I'm really not going to get diverted on the sub-sidetrack over the sex discrimination implied by the name of that program, but I can imagine an Equal Protection violation if the government's list of permissible foods were devised with the intent to make life more difficult for those of a particular race or ethnic group, but it would be a stretch to see the disinclusion of potatoes this way.

Michelle Obama — stressing "sound science" — calls attention to a bill in Congress that would "override science by mandating that white potatoes be included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars." Did you know that, currently, enrollees in this feeding program couldn't use the money to buy potatoes? What's wrong with potatoes?
Now, there is nothing wrong with potatoes. The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes....
You've already had enough potatoes! That's written in the present tense, so: You are having enough potatoes, right now. But what about future potatoes? Apparently, enrollees are already buying enough of their own potatoes, using their own money. How does Michelle Obama know this about people? She's dedicated to "sound science," but has science established that people in WIC have enough potatoes?

I guess the point is that since people seem to like potatoes, they must be willing to shell out their own scarce money to get potatoes, and whatever they get is enough, since she thinks kids are fat. But "sound science" can't say that all kids are fat! She admits only one in 3 children is fat. She doesn't mention the kids who are skinny, and they can be picky eaters. Potatoes might be something their mom (or dad!) thinks are pretty crucial. But the age-old problem of fattening skinny kids is below the political radar and thus not part of that body of wisdom Michelle Obama calls "sound science."

Her focus is on "many women and children," and I suppose that when the government is spending its own money — the money of the taxpayers — it can decide to focus on the fat and not the skinny... though it does seem odd to have a feeding program and to regard its enrollees as overweight, but that is the situation here. When the government spends money to solve a problem, as long as it's not violating rights, it gets to say what the problem is, and — sound science or not — "The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes..."
... and not enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need. That’s why the Institute of Medicine — the nonpartisan, scientific body that advises on the standards for WIC — has said that potatoes should not be part of the WIC program.
Here, we see the popular political idea that sound science is what some set of scientists says. I haven't read the Institute's report, but that sentence doesn't say the Institute said that potatoes aren't nutritious, which would be a scientific claim that could be falsified. That sentence only says the Institute nixed potatoes for the program, which sounds like a naked political judgement.

In opposition to this judgment of scientists, Michelle Obama sets "some members of the House of Representatives" — she refrains from calling them Republicans — who are threatening to let WIC money be used to buy potatoes:
Right now, the House of Representatives is considering a bill to override science by mandating that white potatoes be included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars. 
How would including potatoes on the list "override science"?! For someone preening about adherence to "sound science," how can she assert that potatoes on the list would "override science"? You know, I think I'm speaking scientifically here: You can't override science. Yeah, I know, she means the bill overrides the opinion expressed by the set of scientists whose political judgment Congress is considering overriding with its political judgment on the question of what foods parents can choose to buy with government subsidy.
Our children deserve so much better than this.
I agree!
As parents, we always put our children’s interests first... And when we make decisions about our kids’ health, we rely on doctors and experts who can give us accurate information based on sound science. Our leaders in Washington should do the same.
I agree, and "Our leaders in Washington" include you, and you haven't bothered to present accurate information based on sound science about the nutritional value of potatoes. You've simply said that an Institute supports your policy choice.

The linked op-ed appears in The New York Times, where the second-most-favorited comment is:
If Mrs. Obama had come out in favor of junk food, the goddamn Republicans would be in favor of fruits and vegetables. They care only about the politics of destruction. They are traitors.
Science!

May 28, 2014

"For a purported breakthrough with such grand plans for reshaping the food industry, I found Soylent to be a punishingly boring, joyless product."

"From the plain white packaging to the purposefully bland, barely sweet flavor to the motel-carpet beige hue of the drink itself, everything about Soylent screams function, not fun. It may offer complete nourishment, but only at the expense of the aesthetic and emotional pleasures many of us crave in food."

I've already blogged about this topic here, linking to a much more detailed New Yorker article, but this new article, in the NYT, has some good photos and a funny video of people doing a taste test.

Obama at West Point: a "philosophical speech,” not a “commander-in-chief speaking to his troops.”

"And you heard the reception. I mean, it was pretty icy."

ADDED: That quote, from a CNN commentator is getting a lot of play, especially the word "icy." The transcript won't tell us about the reception, but does let us check the "philosophical" characterization. This is a graduation speech, and one of the first things he says, citing his status as commander-in-chief, is:
To the entire class, let me reassure you in these final hours at West Point, as commander in chief, I hereby absolve all cadets who are on restriction for minor conduct offenses. (Laughter, applause.) Let me just say that nobody ever did that for me when I was in school....
Why is he seeking camaraderie with offenders? I wouldn't characterize that as "philosophical." It's more lamely trying to be cool. But it does get philosophical. Skipping way down, let me pull out this:

"Lumber Union Protectionists Incited SWAT Raid On My Factory."

"Says Gibson Guitar CEO."
... Gibson’s very success made it a fat target for federal prosecutors, whom Juszkiewicz alleges were operating at the behest of lumber unions and environmental pressure groups seeking to kill the market for lumber imports....

Two months before the raid, lobbyists slipped some arcane supply-chain reporting provisions into an extension of the Lacey Act of 1900 that changed the technical definition of “fingerboard blanks,” which are legal to import.

With no clear legal standards, a sealed warrant the company has not been allowed to see too this day, no formal charges filed, and the threat of a prison term hanging over any executive who does not take “due care” to abide by this absurdly vague law, Gibson settled.

"In an opinion filled with chilling, repeated references to being within shooting or grenade-throwing distance of the president..."

"... the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that the Secret Service did not engage in unconstitutional censorship when its agents moved protesters out of range of a president as he dined on an outdoor restaurant patio."

"An Artist Explores the Complicated Relationship Between Women and Food."

"In a series that has taken over seven years to produce, [Lee] Price features herself as the subject (with the exception of two images, one with her mother, one with a friend) gorging on bags of Cheetos, boxes of sweets, and pints of ice cream in very solitary, almost obscure locations including one’s bed or bathroom (think Lena Dunham eating a cupcake in the bathtub a la Girls season two). Unlike Dunham’s performance, however, Price’s paintings are neither derived from nor aimed at producing humor. They’re based on very real eating disorders (which Price herself has suffered from in the past), and explore the obsession—and sometimes compulsive relationship—many women have with food."

Self-portraits displaying the artist's mental problems, you know, like Van Gogh with his bandaged ear...



... if Van Gogh had included the severed ear in the painting.

"It gives us comfort to be able to say, 'He had Asperger’s, that’s why he did it...'"

"... 'I don’t have Asperger’s, therefore I am unlikely to be in this situation.'"

Maya Angelou, the poet who puzzlingly punctuated Bill Clinton's first auguration with references to dried dinosaur and mastodon shit...



... has passed.
She was 86.

Here's the full text of the poem, "On the Pulse of Morning,"" which begins: "A Rock, A River, A Tree/Hosts to species long since departed/Marked the mastodon/The dinosaur, who left dried tokens/Of their sojourn here/On our planet floor...." What that meant about Bill Clinton, we are left to interpret.

ADDED: I loved "I Know Why the Caged Bird Laughs."

AND: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

"Anything further father?"

The funniest Zeppo line:



Reflected upon this morning after Meade proofread the previous post — with the line "in his impoverished mind, he couldn't get any farther than that" — and engaged me in a long debate about the further/farther distinction.

"Do you know what the ‘Hunger Games’ movies are about?... It’s teenagers killing other teenagers."

Said Rush Limbaugh, quoted in Politico, "Rush ties killings to 'Hunger Games.'" The father of the Santa Barbara murderer was an assistant director on that movie, so what does that mean?
“Why not blame Hollywood movies here? Oh, we can never, ever go there...” [Rush] said, sarcastically.
The "sarcastically" is helpful, because people who don't listen to the show really do have trouble understanding what Rush is trying to say... especially if they are anti-Rush, and the fact is that Rush loves to rope in his antagonists and laugh at the way they don't get him. Listeners — and I am one — are encouraged to think of ourselves as in-the-know insiders. We get it.

I don't think you have to be that smart to get it if you listen and hear the performance of the words, especially if you're on Rush's side, and this interplay between Rush lovers and haters creates energy that Rush endlessly recycles and amplifies. It's a very popular and high-profile show, and yet, listening, you feel included in a pretty friendly little circle. It's magic. A different kind of magic than movies, and so it's interesting to get the radio man's take on Hollywood.

But Politico moves on to something a WaPo columnist wrote and the reaction it got from 2 Hollywoodland critters:
“How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like “Neighbors” and feel, as [suspect Elliot] Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure”?” [Ann] Hornaday wrote over the weekend. “How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them.”

Both [Seth] Rogen and Apatow slammed Hornaday and called the critic misinformed, with Apatow adding that she “milked tragedy.”
Here's the transcript of the Rush show segment, "The Left Takes Another Human Tragedy and Converts It Into a Political Issue." Excerpt:
I can't tell you the number of guys I knew growing up that were bragging about all the sex they were having and it was simply a dream.  They wanted everybody to think it, but they couldn't get past first base any better than this kid could.  And the ones who weren't talking about it were the ones that you learned later on that were the studs. And they weren't talking about it because of manners, self-respect, respect for the girls involved, who knows what.
Of course, movies are that teenboy dream, the bragging of sexually unattractive males like Apatow and Rogen who — via Hollywood — get into a position to make the dream look real through the magic of cinema. Unlike the consumers of the cinema, the filmmakers acquire the money to make the dream real in their lives, even as Rush, through his radio magic, has acquired the money to get him the women he could only dream of in high school.

Rodger was the rich kid who reasoned that since he already had the money, he should already be the man to whom women yield. They didn't, and in his impoverished mind, he couldn't get any farther than that. He had to walk out of the rom-com showing on screen 1 in the multiplex and into the slasher film on screen 2.

May 27, 2014

"Obviously, we now know that the sky doesn’t fall when gays get married... At the same time, there is some truth to the conservative claim..."

"... that gay marriage is changing, not just expanding, marriage.  According to a 2013 study, about half of gay marriages surveyed (admittedly, the study was conducted in San Francisco) were not strictly monogamous. This fact is well-known in the gay community—indeed, we assume it’s more like three-quarters. But it’s been fascinating to see how my straight friends react to it. Some feel they’ve been duped: They were fighting for marriage equality, not marriage redefinition. Others feel downright envious, as if gays are getting a better deal, one that wouldn’t work for straight couples. Maybe they’re right; women are from Venus, after all. Right?"

From a piece by Jay Michaelson in The Daily Beast titled "Were Christians Right About Gay Marriage All Along?"

"Schlock, at its finest, is where bad taste becomes great art."

"Schlock is music that subjugates all other values to brute emotional impact; it aims to overwhelm, to body-slam the senses, to deliver catharsis like a linebacker delivers a clothesline tackle. The qualities traditionally prized by music critics and other listeners of discerning taste — sophistication, subtlety, wit, irony, originality, 'experimentation'— have no place in schlock. Schlock is extravagant, grandiose, sentimental, with an unshakable faith in the crudest melodrama, the biggest statements, the most timeworn tropes and most overwrought gestures. Put another way: Schlock is Rodgers and Hammerstein, not Rodgers and Hart. It’s 'Climb Ev’ry Mountain' and 'You’ll Never Walk Alone,' not 'Manhattan' and 'My Funny Valentine.'"

From a long New York Magazine article by Jody Rosen titled "In Defense of Schlock Music: Why Journey, Billy Joel, and Lionel Richie Are Better Than You Think."

And here's the companion piece, "From Journey to Beyoncé: The 150 Greatest Schlock Songs Ever." #2 is "Purple Rain." "We Are the Champions" is #59. "Without You" is #100.

"You won’t believe this (or maybe you will). The LA Times claims that Scooter Libby 'leaked' the name of Valerie Plame."

"As we all know the leak came from Richard Armitage. I wonder how a mistake like that got by all those editors and fact checkers. The reference was in [an] article about the White House blowing the identity of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan."

"Could there have been room for a simple misunderstanding, rather than that Abramson deliberately misled Baquet or Sulzberger?"

"It would make no sense, Abramson’s friends say, for her to send Baquet to lunch with Gibson without having told Baquet about the job offer. (In either scenario, a close friend of hers added, 'it’s just plain ridiculous that she should be fired for not telling a subordinate about a job offer to another subordinate.') To accept that Baquet first heard about the job offer from Gibson at lunch is to assume that Abramson, who has been amply criticized this week for her blunt, confrontational approach toward Times employees, would recoil from confronting Baquet."

More details from Ken Auletta on the firing of Jill Abramson.

"An IQ score is an approximation, not a final and infallible assessment of intellectual functioning...."

"Intellectual disability is a condition, not a number... This is not to say that an IQ test score is unhelpful. It is of considerable significance, as the medical community recognizes. But in using these scores to assess a defendant’s eligibility for the death penalty, a State must afford these test scores the same studied skepticism that those who design and use the tests do, and understand that an IQ test score represents a range rather than a fixed number."

Wrote Justice Kennedy for a majority of the Supreme Court, in today's new case Hall v. Florida, rejecting Florida's use of the IQ of 70 as a rigid cut-off for who is "intellectually disabled" and thus not subject to the death penalty under the Court's 8th and 14th Amendment doctrine. Hall had scored 71. Hall will now have a chance to present other evidence of his disability.
Persons facing that most severe sanction must have a fair opportunity to show that the Constitution prohibits their execution. Florida’s law contravenes our Nation’s commitment to dignity and its duty to teach human decency as the mark of a civilized world. The States are laboratories for experimentation, but those experiments may not deny the basic dignity the Constitution protects.
This was a 5-4 decision, and the 4 Justices in dissent are the ones those who follow the Court will guess. The dissenting opinion is written by Justice Alito, who says:
Because I find no consensus among the States, I would not independently assess the method that Florida has adopted for determining intellectual disability....

We have been presented with no solid evidence that the longstanding reliance on multiple IQ test scores as a measure of intellectual functioning is so unreasonable or outside the ordinary as to be unconstitutional....

What if the community stages a conversation about race and it's the black man who ends up anguishing that he's said the wrong thing?

It happened in Madison. The moderator asked what gets in the way of an honest conversation about race, and Everett Mitchell opened up:
“I’ll be honest,” Mitchell began. “I think what gets in my way sometimes is my own fear and that I don’t trust white people. I don’t trust white women and actually I’m afraid. I was telling one of my friends the other day that … I won’t even allow myself to be in the same office with a white woman without the door open … where somebody can see me.... My greatest fear sometimes is to be seen as something even though I am not that at all.... That I am a brutal, black rapist, out of control, angry... That if I am passionate, I am angry. That if I raise my voice (it means) I am about to hurt you.”
That's the quote that made the news reports, and Mitchell seems to feel burned by the whole thing, because now people think "that I walk around all day mistrusting white people, and that I don’t want to be around white women, and I don’t want to be in the same place with white women."

"The unfiltered misogyny of Elliot Rodger is extreme, but it’s an indicator of the hatred that remains a stubborn part of our society’s fabric."

"No, #NotAllMen are like Elliot Rodger. But #YesAllWomen reveal the little pieces of him we encounter every single day."

Petula Dvorak weaves an awful lot of themes together. You can tell she knows they don't really fit neatly, but she can't resist doing it anyway. Rodger was a crazy murderer, but somehow his words are an indicator of what we are.

A madman murdered, but — look! — it spawned hashtag activity on Twitter. I can't believe this dead murderer is the lens through which we ought to look at ourselves.

You know, people are reading his 137-page manifesto, taking it seriously as an object of study. We didn't do that with the Unabomber's 35,000-word manifesto...
One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism, so a discussion of the psychology of leftism can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of modern society in general....

When we speak of leftists in this article we have in mind mainly socialists, collectivists, “politically correct” types, feminists, gay and disability activists, animal rights activists and the like. But not everyone who is associated with one of these movements is a leftist. What we are trying to get at in discussing leftism is not so much movement or an ideology as a psychological type, or rather a collection of related types....

The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism we call “feelings of inferiority” and “oversocialization.” Feelings of inferiority are characteristic of modern leftism as a whole, while oversocialization is characteristic only of a certain segment of modern leftism; but this segment is highly influential....
Oh, hell. If that came out today, we would be taking it seriously.

"Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam has been fired from the annotation service after posting appalling comments on the memoir of mass murderer Elliot Rodger..."

"In now-removed annotations on the site on the sick 141-page manifesto, Moghadam added a tasteless series of comments, including 'beautifully written' and also 'MY GUESS: his sister is smokin hot.'"

How easy it is these days to lose a top-level job for saying the wrong thing!

What I don't understand is... this is a site that's mostly about rap lyrics, right? Rap lyrics are full of transgressive statements about violence and the sexual objectification of women. Why was it this easy to fatally cross the line over there?

Tom Lehman, one of the co-founders of Rap Genius, writes:
However, Mahbod Moghadam, one of my co-founders, annotated the piece with annotations that not only didn’t attempt to enhance anyone’s understanding of the text, but went beyond that into gleeful insensitivity and misogyny. All of which is contrary to everything we’re trying to accomplish at Rap Genius.

Were Mahbod’s annotations posted by a Rap Genius moderator, that person would cease to be an effective community leader and would have to step down.
I guess the point is: There's a text, originated elsewhere, that may be offensive, but the site is about annotating that text, and there's a moderated community of annotators, following the standards of annotation, and the same rules apply to everybody.

The NYT informs us that Madison residents thought Madison's World’s Largest Brat Fest was insufficiently liberal for Madison.

The article is called "A City Split Over the Mixture of Church and Sausage."

I love this quote from Lisa Subeck (referred to as a member of "the City Council," which, if you're going to used capital letters is called the "Common Council"):
"My reaction was, this doesn’t have a very Madison feel to it... It really will turn many people off." With Mr. Lenz appearing as a speaker, she said, 'you really have to think, this isn’t reflective of our values."
Lenz = Bob Lenz, a motivational speaker, with "ties to anti-abortion groups, particularly one called Save the Storks, which parks buses in front of abortion clinics and offers ultrasounds to pregnant women."

Lenz, we're told, was disinvited after a Wisconsin State Journal article — "In the Spirit: Brat Fest takes a big turn toward religion this year," highlighting a plan for a morning worship service and a stage devoted to Christian rock music — caused some locals to complain and threaten a boycott.

At that point, the religionists looked excluded and unwelcome instead of the other way around.

Does the NYT rehabilitate the pride of the locals who ended up looking hostile to religion? Incredibly... I mean, predictably... Scott Walker gets blamed:
Perhaps nerves are still a little frayed here, three years after angry protests over a collective-bargaining law shook the Capitol, and the failed attempt to recall Gov. Scott Walker the year after that.

Some longtime residents said they missed the time when Wisconsin seemed more politically easygoing, a place where voters kept a Republican governor, Tommy G. Thompson, in office from 1987 to 2001.
Please. Madison was always liberal, even when Wisconsin elected Tommy Thompson.

Sorry I didn't notice this Madison-centric story until I read about it in The New York Times. I thought I opened up the local news sites nearly every day. (I guess my aversion is more severe than I realize.) And I should have seen David Blaska's "Boycott Bratfest? Another progressive assault on free speech."

And the NYT missed (or choose to ignore) past lefty protests against the Bratfest that were based on the brats themselves. Local news from 2011:
... Bratfest -- the traditional Goliath known as World's Largest -- is beset on three sides by little Davids trying to make the case that a Johnsonville brat is as good as a couple bucks in Governor Walker's pocket: the People's Bratfest, Wurst Times, and Alt Bratfest.

A peat bog the size of England...

... just discovered in Congo.

How do things this size go undiscovered for so long?
"It's remarkable that there are parts of the planet that are still uncharted territory.... Few people venture into these swamps as they are quite difficult places to move around in and work in."
It took satellite photography to get a clue this thing existed.

May 26, 2014

The new bee and reality.

The new bee...

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... hasn't bumbled yet. The allium is...

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... peaking, as the late May sun forces us to see the reality, which is that the Pennisetum that crashed like grass surf away from the allium and onto the sidewalk last summer did not survive the winter that dragged Madison out of Zone 5...

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... and Meade uproots and upends the dead things and works the ground into a condition called "chocolate cake."

Why do so many "rescue" dogs come from the South?

There are lots more abandoned dogs in the South and lots more prospective adopters in the North.
People don’t love their pets any more or less because they live in one geographic region or another. But kill rates spike in high poverty areas with limited access to affordable veterinary services for spaying and neutering. In the rural South, unsterilized dogs are often allowed to roam outdoors. Many counties have weak or unenforced leash laws. Shelters in such areas are overrun, with kill rates ranging from 50 to 95 percent. Even where adoptions are encouraged, low population density makes them rare.

Many of the dogs that are routinely euthanized in Southern states — healthy Labs, hounds, shepherds and others, including puppies of various breeds — are in high demand in the Northeast....
In the dog park here in Madison, we see many beautiful dogs — Meade blogs his photographs of them here — and you might think that people are going to posh breeders and spending thousands of dollars to get such animals. But time and again we hear that these are rescue dogs... from the South.

The White House inadvertently exposes the name of the CIA’s top officer in Kabul.

"The disclosure marked a rare instance in which a CIA officer working overseas had his cover — the secrecy meant to protect his actual identity — pierced by his own government."
The only other recent case came under significantly different circumstances, when former CIA operative Valerie Plame was exposed as officials of the George W. Bush administration sought to discredit her husband, a former ambassador and fierce critic of the decision to invade Iraq.
Valerie Plame was exposed. Nice use of the passive voice there by The Washington Post! As the top comment over there says:
So... Bush never actually outed a CIA agent —  Richard Armitage did — but that didn't stop the Left from engaging in a two year witchhunt. But Obama can out CIA agents with impunity, I guess, no investigation required?

Cooper, Zeus, Paisley, Iris, and Phoenix.

Iris, Cooper, Paisley, Zeus... Iris, Zeus, Paisley, Cooper... Cooper, Paisley, Zeus.... Zeus, Iris, Phoenix, Paisley, and Cooper.

"European politics were jolted as seldom before on Sunday when France's extreme nationalists triumphed in the European parliament elections..."

"... which across the continent returned an unprecedented number of MEPs hostile or sceptical about the European Union in a huge vote of no confidence in Europe's political elite."
France's Front National won the election there with a projected 25% of the vote, while the governing socialists of President François Hollande collapsed to 14%, according to exit polls.

Memorial Day.

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"The Obama administration hasn’t been distinguished by cool, cerebral, sure-footed professionalism, but by something closer to amateur hour."

"From the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act to the bloody aftermath of the intervention in Libya, from enabling political witch-hunts at the IRS to being repeatedly outmaneuvered by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, from swelling the debt he was going to reduce to embittering the politics he promised to detoxify, Obama’s performance has been a lurching series of screw-ups and disappointments."

From "Obama fails to show his vaunted ‘competence,'" by Jeff Jacoby in The Boston Globe.

May 25, 2014

Kids react to the new McDonald's Happy Meal box...

... which seems a little too happy... and why does it have a real tongue?



ADDED: Seems to be a rip off of The Annoying Orange:

"I worked out an intricate mathematical thing which determines how assiduously I’m getting my novel typed and revised day after day."

"It’s too complicated to explain, but suffice it to say that yesterday I was batting .246, and after today’s work my 'batting average' rose to .306. The point is, I’ve got to hit like a champion, I’ve got to catch up and stay with Ted Williams (currently hitting .392 in baseball)."

Wrote Jack Kerouac on June 3, 1948.

"My fit of illness had been an avenue between two existences; the low-arched and darksome doorway, through which I crept out of a life of old conventionalisms..."

"... on my hands and knees, as it were, and gained admittance into the freer region that lay beyond. In this respect, it was like death. And, as with death, too, it was good to have gone through it. No otherwise could I have rid myself of a thousand follies, fripperies, prejudices, habits, and other such worldly dust as inevitably settles upon the crowd along the broad highway, giving them all one sordid aspect before noon-time, however freshly they may have begun their pilgrimage in the dewy morning."

Ever been sick like that? 

U-turn.

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Just something I screen-captured from Google maps and tweaked in iPhoto.

"They dined on whatever they managed to forage from snow drifts or whatever provisions they brought along — their ponies and sled dogs included."

"The practice of eating pack animals, while seemingly cruel, was driven by a compelling logic: As the explorers consumed food and fuel, their sled loads lightened. Lighter sleds needed fewer dogs to pull them. Dogs thus made redundant became food for their fellows and the explorers. Amundsen slaughtered 24 healthy dogs during a single expedition. Doing so filled him with a sublime awe. 'Great masses of beautiful fresh, red meat,' he wrote of the butchering, 'with quantities of the most tempting fat, lay spread over the snow,' calling to mind 'memories of dishes on which the cutlets were elegantly arranged side by side, with paper frills on the bones, and a neat pile of petit pois in the middle.'"

From "The Art of Antarctic Cooking" (via Metafilter).

At the Good Dog Café...

P1050048

... the skies are blue.

"She's just here stabbing like a wild, mad lady... I can't even reach in to get the dog because she's swinging the knife."

"This lady was walking around, I think, with the intent to kill the dog... Who walks around with a butcher knife? We all walk our dogs around here."

Said Kathy Suggs, owner of Angel and JoJo, the pit bulls that were killed by a woman with a filet knife. The authorities fined Suggs $200 for having loose dogs and allowed the woman with the knife to keep the knife.

Self-defense is a bitch.

"The Supreme Court has been quietly revising its decisions years after they were issued, altering the law of the land without public notice."

"Unannounced changes have not reversed decisions outright, but they have withdrawn conclusions on significant points of law," writes Adam Liptak in the NYT.
[A]side from announcing the abstract proposition that revisions are possible, the court almost never notes when a change has been made, much less specifies what it was. And many changes do not seem merely typographical or formal.

Four legal publishers are granted access to “change pages” that show all revisions. Those documents are not made public, and the court refused to provide copies to The New York Times.

The final and authoritative versions of decisions, some published five years after they were announced, do not, moreover, always fully supplant the original ones. Otherwise reliable Internet resources and even the court’s own website at times still post older versions....

A sentence in a 2003 concurrence from Justice O’Connor in a gay rights decision, Lawrence v. Texas, has been deleted from the official record. She had said Justice Scalia “apparently agrees” that a Texas law making gay sex a crime could not be reconciled with the court’s equal protection principles.

Lower court judges debated the statement, and law professors used it in teaching the case. The statement continues to appear in Internet archives like Findlaw and Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute.
This prominent article should force the Supreme Court to make these "change pages" publicly available. To privilege a few commercial publishers is especially shameful.

It's interesting that the Court feels free to change opinions in significant ways. Perhaps those of us who comment on new cases should focus quite intensely on getting particular sentences or arguments rewritten. We should regard the new cases as a proposed draft and keep litigating. As Russ Feingold once said: "This game's not over until we win."

IN THE COMMENTS: KLDAVIS said:
You don't need access to the change pages, just a copy of Adobe Acrobat.
1) Open slip opinion PDF.
2) Open final opinion PDF.
3) Run the file compare tool.
4) Obtain report of character for character differences between the two files.
So places like Findlaw and Legal Information Institute should be doing this routinely. Maybe someone could do a blog that calls attention to interesting things like this. I suspect most of it is really boring.

"Elliot Rodger, Gunman in California Mass Shooting, was influenced by the 'Men's Rights Movement.'"

Writes OllieGarkey in a post at Daily Kos (that is getting a lot of attention). The post actually begins with "Trigger Warning: Violence against Women." That's after the headline, quoted in my post title, so anyone already knows the subject. The "Trigger Warning" isn't so much a way of warning readers that there's something triggering in the post content as it is a way of asserting that the writer is part of a movement that purports to care about the sensitivities of women.

Myself, I'm the kind of writer who would like to assert that I'm against giving publicity to murderers. I'm afraid we're showing other angry losers the murder path to celebrity. But I'm going to write about this anyway, because I'm interested in the way other writers appropriate the latest violent incident to explain the ideology they already have. Why blog anything? It fits your template.

Rodger's pre-murder rant criticizes women for having sex with "obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentleman" and conceptualizes the murders as a demonstrating to women "that I am in truth the superior one. The true Alpha Male." OllieGarkey says:
The true Alpha Male. What those who call themselves the Mens [sic] Rights Movement aspire to be.

The Men's Rights Movement as they call themselves is a nebulous group of pickup artists and misogynists who've found each other on line, and are attempting to create a movement based around their hatred, disdain, and fear of women.
OllieGarkey bolsters his argument by listing (and linking) various YouTube channels that Rodger subscribed to, for example "'The Player Supreme Show' which rails against the feminization of men and talks about how to pick up women."
Rather than seeking mental help for some obvious issues, he sought out the Men's Rights Movement. He watched their propaganda. He internalized their hatred of women. (There's no shortage of anti-woman rhetoric and nonsense...)

He listened to these guys talk about being hard, and tough, and true alpha men. 
This is interesting evidence to analyze, but OllieGarkey handles it hackishly. Subscribing to channels makes it somewhat likely that Rodger "watched" and "listened," but we don't know that he did. To what extent did the language used on those channels correspond to the language in Rodger's rant? And is "Men's Rights Movement" the right umbrella term for the "pickup artist" genre? The goal of lots of sex is different from the goal of getting rights. These men want sex from women — I take it — not rights, which are something you get from the government.

A movement for "men's rights" has to do with men wanting the government to protect their interests that arise from their various interactions with women. That's quite a different enterprise from luring women into wanting to have sex with you, which I understand those websites attempt to help men do. That was the enterprise at which Rodger seems to have failed. Or are you going to tell me there are men who — as a group — want sex from women and have conceptualized this goal as a rights movement. How would it even work to form a movement seeking sex from women? The men are in competition with each other. What's the value of grouping together?
So this kid who needed some serious mental help sought out the destructive, BS views coming from the men's rights movement. He felt entitled to sex with women. 
OllieGarkey seems to be spouting off the top of his head. Could he provide me with specific material from the channels Rodger subscribed to that posit a right to have sex with women? I thought these "pickup artist" sites taunted males who have bad technique and offered to show them how to up their game so they can win. Games that require skill and have winners and losers are not about entitlement. They are exactly the opposite. Rodger seems to have come up on his own with the idea that he could move from his loser status to alpha status not by ever figuring out how to make a woman sexually desire him, but through the delusion that murder — which he did figure out — somehow equated with sex and that he could become "the true Alpha Male" through murder.

How does that delusion fit with what's on those "pickup artist" sites? Those "alpha males" — if that's what they call themselves — are claiming there is an elaborate manipulation of the female mind that can be accomplished by skillful, savvy males. They purport to be artists, and the art involves acquiring the willing participation of the woman. Using a gun is not using your mind, and killing a woman isn't drawing her into your game. What's the correspondence?

OllieGarkey tries to glue his theory together with the vague abstraction "misogyny." He ends by saying that Rodger "exposed himself to hateful rhetoric about women... [a]nd... he acted on that hatred": "when hateful rhetoric is trained on any group,  lone wolves like this guy get triggered."

So in OllieGarkey's fuzzy head, the pickup artists who want to bed scores of women using some fine "game" they've worked out are supposed to "hate" women, and a murderer who's been rejected by women hates women. And I guess men who've been stung by women and want some legal rights "hate" women.

It all fits together with a sloppy, gloppy mess of glue like that.