September 6, 2014

"Voters may be shocked to learn that the African-American graduation rate in Madison (where Mary Burke is on the board) is worse than in MKE."

Tweeted Scott Walker, and...
In speaking with reporters Wednesday, Walker referenced a visit to the private voucher school St. Marcus School in Milwaukee earlier in the day to draw a contrast with Madison’s public schools. He noted 96 percent of children at St. Marcus — which has a student body that’s about 80 percent black and is 89 percent low-income — go on to graduate from high school, according to a report card the school released on its website.

"A little more than a month after he lost his job at BuzzFeed for widespread plagiarism..."

"... Benny Johnson has landed on his feet at National Review."
National Review editor Rich Lowry acknowledged that Johnson "made a terrible mistake," but said he deserved a second chance. "He's a talented journalist, with obviously a lot to contribute...."

"Inside the Failed Raid to Save Foley and Sotloff."

Nicholas Schmidle at The New Yorker.
The special-operations officer, who has extensive experience with special-mission units, said that he was generally wary of “hostage scenarios,” because, “once you start chasing that merry-go-round, you’re never going to get off.” He listed other Americans who were thought to be held hostage by various groups around the world; though he was sympathetic to their plight, he didn’t believe that each one warranted a rescue attempt. The bid to free Foley and Sotloff was different: it had a double purpose, he said, “an ability to go get the hostages and also to send a message to ISIS.”... After saying this, however, he observed that it might be a folly to treat members of ISIS as rational political actors: “They are lunatics.”

To make a prairie it takes a puffball and one monarch...

One puffball...


and a monarch,


And a bookmark.
The bookmark alone will do...


If monarchs are few.

Within the "sheer cliffs, surreal rock formations and vertical spires [of] northern Ethiopia’s Gheralta Mountains... rock-hewn Ethiopian Orthodox cave churches..."

"... some of which are more than 1,000 years old."
High and hidden, the Gheralta churches’ positions served two purposes: to bring devotees closer to heaven and to be out of sight to raiding armies passing through the valleys below. So in order to experience these churches, visitors must hike slot canyons, free climb sheer sandstone walls and skirt cliff edges – a cultural foray that is not for the faint of heart....
Click through all the photos. 

Bill Gates, running on his treadmill, just loved the DVD of the Teaching Company course "Big History."

And he arrived at the notion that "Big History" should be a regular high school course all over the country. Since Gates is a billionaire, he can think things like that and proceed to cause them to happen... like he caused Common Core.

"Dreadnoughtus (meaning 'fearing nothing'...) is a genus of giant titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur..."

"It is one of the largest of all known terrestrial vertebrates, possessing the greatest mass of any land animal that can be calculated with reasonable certainty, using limb bone measurements."

Are you excited about the Dreadnought dinosaur? "Dreadnought" has a big "disambiguation" page at Wikipedia, with lots of ships, of course, and also trains and books and movies. The word goes back to the 1500s, used for ships. From the OED (which is unlinkable, even as a dreadnought might be unsinkable):
1587   F. Drake Despatch 27 Apr. in R. Hakluyt Princ. Navigations (1904) VI. p. xiv,   A greate leake sprange uppon the Dreadenoughte.
There's also "A type of thick woollen cloth with a long pile; a coat or other outer garment made of this cloth, typically worn in stormy weather."
1834   R. Southey Doctor II. 197   One of those dreadnoughts the utility of which sets fashion at defiance.
"Dreadnought" can be an adjective, meaning "fearless" (or, alternatively, made out of that heavy cloth used to make those above-mentioned coats). It was used to mean "fearless" here:
1978   N.Y. Mag. 18 Dec. 18/3   What is the point of this dreadnought approach to a basically frivolous genre?
That quote comes from a short trashing of the film "Death on the Nile." The preceding sentence is "Bette Davis and Maggie Smith are fun together, but no one else in the huge cast distinguishes himself."

Loving the dinosaurs!

"In the suit, the six-foot blonde — and former Supergirl Underoos model — says she was referred to Titus by 'Oprah-endorsed celebrity matchmaker Amy Laurent' earlier this year."

"Titus, one of the stars of the failed reality dating show 'Matched in Manhattan,' convinced her to pay $8,000 upfront for '8 matches/one date per month with highly educated men with entrepreneurial spirit that were single and not in relationships,' the suit says."
Titus initially set her up with matches who were no-shows and cancelled at the last minute — who she now suspects weren't real. The two men she did have dates with in the six months since signing up, meanwhile, turned out to be business partners with Titus.
The report comes from The Daily News, which got a response from Matt Titus, acknowledging that the 2 men were in fact persons he does business with, but that they "completely fit her criteria — they’re both tall, Ivy League educated and Jewish." One of the men then got in touch with the News and said he really did try to date her, but she kept emailing him pictures of herself with her dogs and "It just becomes annoying.... She lives for her dogs."

The woman, Julie Hyman, responds that the matchmaker should have put her with someone who's into dogs — tall, Jewish, Ivy League, and into dogs. The dogs are named Rocky and Vegas, by the way.

Who do you want to win? free polls

The witch is dead and the blogger is awake.

What woke you up this morning?

Here in Madison, Wisconsin, it was the University of Wisconsin marching band striking up its practice session at exactly 7 a.m., the time before which they are required not to wake us all up, playing — what is it? which old witch... — "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead."

"Your proof [Sunday morning talk shows] are relevant is that Joe Biden made a gaffe about gay marriage?"

"Joe Biden can't part his lips without making a gaffe. If you are hanging your hat on that one, do away with them. All, except for Chris Wallace's show on Fox, are hopelessly biased towards left-wing guests, viewpoints, and issues. That is what was lost with Russert. While his own views may have skewed left, he brought a rigorous and fair attitude in questioning every guest. A liberal a conservative like me could love. They are all gone now."

A comment at a decidedly lame Washington Post piece titled "Five myths about the Sunday talk shows."

Obama at Stonehenge: What does it mean?

A photo op was taken, but what were Obama and his people hoping the photos would be taken to mean?

1. Absolutely nothing. Obama was in the area, chose to see an obvious attraction there, like anyone else, and gave no thought to how he would look or what this would be taken to symbolize.

2. In the grand scheme of things, any one man who happens to live and walk at any given time, amounts to very little. Even as we know not who those men were that built this enigmatic monument, time will ultimately erase the significance of Obama.

3. The President is alone, alone in the bleak and difficult landscape, alone and yet contemplative.

4. The President is wandering, lost, in an irrelevant and meaningless maze.

5. Obama is a towering stone monument for the ages.

6. Obama has finally found some friends he identifies with.

7. Obama is getting stoned.

8. He's looking for a golf ball.

9. Everyone will have some fun cracking some jokes about this or wondering what the hell? and that will be a good distraction from anything for which I can be held responsible.

10. Every President has one concrete thing with which he's forever associated — Nixon/Watergate, Clinton/blowjobs, Carter/angry rabbit — and Obama wants Stonehenge.

Maddox crushes the feminist critique of the depiction of Spiderwoman's ass.

Via Ace of Spades, via Instapundit.

I especially enjoyed the observation that comic book heroes, male and female, are continually drawn as if their costumes were nothing but body paint. It's essentially how they get away with drawing the characters naked. And it was very entertaining to see the picture of Spiderman in the position that they'd never put a male character in:

September 5, 2014

When Obama came to Milwaukee on Labor Day, he did a photo op with Governor Walker but not with Walker's Democratic Party opponent Mary Burke.

Why? Apparently, it's because Walker wanted to be seen with Obama and Mary Burke did not want to be seen with Obama. So, again: why? Citizen Dave (former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz) says that Burke didn't want to seem "too close (metaphorically and literally) to an unpopular president," and Walker chose to highlight "Burke's unwillingness to stand with the president symbolically." Walker "had nothing to risk."

I'd put that more positively: Walker is a Republican hanging onto his popularity in a blue-to-purple state, and showing his relaxed camaraderie with Obama makes him seem moderate and able to work with others. It's similar to Chris Christie, when he was up for reelection in 2012, walking with Obama amid the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy. Except Christie was making a play for help after the disaster and risked looking as though he wasn't conservative enough for Republicans who might reconsider whether he's the right fit as a 2016 presidential candidate. But Walker needs nothing from Obama, and he benefits from looking capable of relating to Democrats. He's in no danger of seeming as if he's secretly liberal. His conservative credentials are firmly established, and no one would think he was aligned with Obama. So he's free to do photo ops just to look friendly and normal... and dignified and substantial.

But back to Burke. The President, her party's leader, comes to her state, and she avoids him? Citizen Dave says that "Burke campaign's strategists -- they're thinking too much." Her campaign strategists? What about her?  Dave says: "It seems to me that when your party's president shows up in your state, a gubernatorial candidate should just go stand with him, tell the crowd that he's great, and let him say the same thing about her. Nobody would hold that against Mary Burke." But do we hold it against her when she avoids him? It seems timid, at the very least, and, indeed, Dave proceeds to talk about her missing an opportunity to fire up "the base... especially African Americans."

Would the people in the middle really have held it against her if she'd stood with the President? Dave seems to think there was no risk, but Obama's Labor Day visit was quite union-oriented. He spoke on a stage where the scenery was a lot of people in AFSCME t-shirts and at least one prominent blue fist t-shirt. I think Ms. Burke had something to worry about there, looking too connected to the public employee unions.

The Democratic Party's "base" here in Wisconsin may love that visualization of our state as a blue fist, but I think it's offputting to those of us in the middle who see the value of peace and good order and who will probably determine the outcome of the election.

ADDED: I'm just now reading Christian Schneider's piece and realizing that Mary Burke was present on the stage (of what was called "Laborfest") and that she departed at the point when Obama began speaking:
Burke's desire to avoid being photographed with the unpopular president is particularly comical, given that everyone knows that her jailbreak was entirely a product of campaign strategy....

Yet Burke's photo op had to be sacrificed at the altar of campaign "strategy."...

Burke wanted to avoid the visual of standing near Obama because she knows the picture would be run over and over to equate her politics with the president's....

[Burke] may even get the chance to dodge Obama again before the big election. The only question will be why he allows her to disrespect him so — if he comes back, he should jump into the background of every photo op in which she takes part. Call it the "Photobama." 
AND: For the original post, I took my facts from Mayor Dave, who wrote: "Mary Burke, who attended the rally, did not appear on-stage with the president." Based on that, I speculated that she might not have liked the t-shirt scenery, especially the blue fist. But now I think I understand that she was on the stage and she ducked out specifically to avoid appearing with Obama. That's really flagrant Obama-shunning, and I withdraw my speculation that she might have had the alternative motivation of wanting to avoid the appearance of too close an alliance with the public unions that Governor Walker is known for having tamed.

At the Black-and-Yellow Red-and-Yellow Café...

Bee with zinnia

... drink it up!

So there's a Korean movie about a Chinese gorilla who plays baseball...

I know, I can't understand the dialogue — other than "Play ball!" — or read the subtitles either, but there is more plot summary than you could possibly want here... and isn't it enough that the gorilla is playing baseball?

"This is great, Chuck Todd who worked for one of the most radical leftist senators Tom Harkin, is going to interview President Obama for his first guest."

"The only question is going to be, who has the softest balls."

That's the top-rated comment — of 3596 comments — to the Politico article titled "Chuck Todd to interview President Obama on first 'Meet The Press' broadcast."

Before I read that comment and decided to blog it, I was a participant in this conversation here at Meadhouse:
ME: Chuck Todd is beginning his stint on 'Meet The Press' by giving Obama an interview.

MEADE: Why doesn't he begin his stint on 'Meet The Press' by giving Obama a blowjob?

ME: Can I use that quote?
I got a sarcastic and negative response, so I was pleased to see that the top-rated comment at Politico was handling the male genitalia well enough.

You know, Chuck Todd has a lot to prove, and he should want to maximize the likelihood that he'll seem more like tough guy Tim Russert than affable sweetheart David Gregory. How is he going to do that while showing appreciation for Obama for deigning to sit down with him?

Clumsy deployment of the dictionary at FiveThirtyEight.

FiveThirtyEight specializes in statistics, not the meaning of words. And most of "The 2,128 Native American Mascots People Aren’t Talking About" is about things they found to count. Obviously, the subject revolves around the Washington Redskins, the mascot people are talking about. But what I want to talk about is this bit about language in the second-to-the-last paragraph:
Given that the name is racist by definition... it probably wouldn’t pass the NCAA’s grounds for appeal....
The link on "racist by definition" goes to the dictionary site Even assuming you can claim to have established what something is "by definition," here's we see in that dictionary:
usually offensive
     :  american indian
Well, that doesn't say "racist," it says "offensive," and if we follow the same "by definition" move and look up "offensive" at, we see that "offensive" means "causing someone to feel hurt, angry, or upset : rude or insulting," and "racist" is the adjective for "racism," which means "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." That is, "offensive" relates to the effect on others, the pain that is caused, and the reason for the pain is not specified. "Racist," by contrast. refers to the beliefs of a person, so if we're reasoning "by definition" using, "redskin" is not "by definition" "racist," since all we know "by definition" is that the word usually causes hurt feelings, not that it embodies a belief in the primacy of race as the determinant of the value of a human individual, which is what, "by definition," "racist" means.

Now, I'm not saying you can't condemn the team name "Redskins" as racist. Go right ahead. Just spare me this half-assed reasoning with the dictionary. If you're going to make arguments based on dictionary definitions, show some skill. That was pathetic FiveThirtyEight! I can't check your statistical work so easily, but you dilute your credibility when you dip into the tlanguage game, at which many of us out here are quite adept.

"She loved with her whole heart and she also hated with her whole heart, which I love."

"There was nothing they (Aqsa's parents) could have done different. She was a bedroom radical."

"And if this could happen to Aqsa, who had all the life chances, the best education that money can buy, a family that was moderate, liberal ... if it could happen to her, somebody who was so intelligent, then it could happen to any family."
"She was the best daughter you could have. We just don't know what happened to her. She loved school. She was very friendly. I have never shouted at her all my life, all my life"....

Her parents insist there were no signs that the Glasgow teenager harbored any extremist beliefs. She listened to Coldplay and read "Harry Potter" books. On her desk, colorful loom bands and bracelets hung from a goosenecked lamp, a dog-eared copy of "The Hunger Games" nearby....

"We used to tell her ... this is not Islam, some of these groups are not Islam. They are doing wrong things which we don't approve of. Obviously, no Muslim approves this.... We are against all this ISIS carrying on. This is no Islam. Islam is peace. Any killing we are against, whoever it is. That's what we have been taught by our prophet -- peace be upon him."

"New Book Says C.I.A. Official in Benghazi Held Up Rescue."

The NYT reports on "13 Hours," which comes out next week.
Five commandos guarding the C.I.A. base in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012... say they protested repeatedly as the station chief ordered them to wait in their vehicles, fully armed, for 20 minutes while the attack on the diplomatic mission was unfolding less than a mile away.

“If you guys do not get here, we are going to die!” a diplomatic security agent then shouted to them over the radio, the commandos say in the book, and they left the base in defiance of the chief’s continuing order to “stand down.”...

[F]ully armed, they found themselves waiting inside their armored vehicles, making small talk. “Hey, we gotta go now! We’re losing the initiative!” [John] Tiegen says he complained to the station chief, who he says replied, “No, stand down, you need to wait.”

Column bemoaning "human safaris" to photograph people of the Amazon who have lived beyond contact from the outside world...

... is illustrated by a photograph of people of the Amazon who have lived beyond contact from the outside world.

"We're sorry if campaign law has become so complex that the relevant details can't fit in a newspaper article..."

Say the editors of the Wall Street Journal in "A First Amendment Education/What the press corps isn't telling you about the Scott Walker probe."

(Link will work for nonsubscribers to the WSJ.)

ADDED: Since I'm adding the "Daniel Bice" tag, I want to quote this part of the article:
In a recent online chat, a reader asked Daniel Bice, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's go-to reporter for prosecutors, why his articles failed to explain the difference between "express advocacy" and "issue advocacy"—a crucial distinction in the law on coordination between political campaigns and outside groups.

"The reason we don't go into great detail on express advocacy is that you can't discuss it without going into great detail. As you just did," Mr. Bice responded. So Mr. Bice admits that he leaves out crucial information because it's all so very complicated.

We're sorry if campaign law has become so complex that the relevant details can't fit in a newspaper article, but allow us to give it a try.

September 4, 2014

Hans and Franz pump up Aaron Rodgers.

Just in time for tonight's big game:

After this morning's discussion of the gendered violence of Debbie Wasserman Schulz's statement that Scott Walker grabbing women's hair and pulling, I was taken slightly aback by the "Doesn't this hurt?" bit that begins at 0:35. But the answer is: "Not with those puny arms."


As predicted, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel has struck down the Wisconsin and Indiana bans on same-sex marriage.

Here's my blog post on the oral argument — which was only 9 days ago. The opinion is written by Judge Richard Posner, who at the oral argument was audibly disgusted by the efforts to justify the ban.

Here's a PDF of today's opinion, which I'm just starting to read. I can see that Posner puts his distinctive imprint on the standard equal protection doctrine:
The difference between the approach we take in these two cases and the more conventional approach is semantic rather than substantive. The conventional approach doesn’t purport to balance the costs and benefits of the challenged discriminatory law. Instead it evaluates the importance of the state’s objective in enacting the law and the extent to which the law is suited (“tailored”) to achieving that objective. It asks whether the statute actually furthers the interest that the state asserts and whether there might be some less burdensome alternative. The analysis thus focuses not on “costs” and “benefits” as such, but on “fit.” That is why the briefs in these two cases overflow with debate over whether prohibiting same-sex marriage is “over- or underinclu- sive”—for example, overinclusive in ignoring the effect of the ban on the children adopted by same-sex couples, under- inclusive in extending marriage rights to other non- procreative couples. But to say that a discriminatory policy is overinclusive is to say that the policy does more harm to the members of the discriminated-against group than necessary to attain the legitimate goals of the policy, and to say that the policy is underinclusive is to say that its exclusion of other, very similar groups is indicative of arbitrariness.
ADDED: Indiana claimed its interest was based on the biological reality that only heterosexual sex produces babies.

Joan Rivers has died.

Goodbye to the great comedienne.

ADDED: "I am an actress — an actress playing the role of a comedian."

"For about a year, the global enterprise you might call Glenn Greenwald, Inc. has been taking off like a red-hot app."

"The question now is whether the sudden rise of Greenwald—a 47-year-old lawyer-cum-activist from Queens by way of George Washington University—will soon follow the course of most Information Age startups: Boom. Bust. Bye."

The first paragraph of a piece at Politico titled "Has Greenwald, Inc. Peaked?/Thanks to Ed Snowden, Glenn Greenwald went from blogging to the big time. But his stock may be dropping fast."

"We need to be working now, full-speed ahead, with other countries, to destroy ISIS. That should be our No. 1 priority."

Said Senator Elizabeth Warren. "Full-speed ahead" — what does that mean?
Warren deflected a question on whether Obama has been too cautious in his strategy to combat the Islamic terrorist group and pushed back on potentially broader unilateral action.

"We can't get pulled into another war in the Middle East," she said. "We need to be working with others to close ISIS down."
It's like she got a memo to talk tough, but there's nothing behind the talk. Not even a little more talk. Just "Full-speed ahead."

Who says "Full-speed ahead"? Where does that come from? David Glasgow Farragut, the U.S. Navy Admiral, famously said in the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay:  "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" Actually, he said: "Damn the torpedoes. Four bells, Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed," but it's remembered as "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" Farragut has ordered his fleet to enter the heavily mined Mobile Bay:
When the monitor USS Tecumseh struck a mine [that is a "torpedo"] and sank, the others began to pull back. Farragut could see the ships pulling back from his high perch, where he was lashed to the rigging of his flagship, USS Hartford. "What's the trouble?", he shouted through a trumpet to USS Brooklyn. "Torpedoes", was the shouted reply. "Damn the torpedoes.", said Farragut, "Four bells, Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed." The bulk of the fleet succeeded in entering the bay.
So, Senator Warren, is this the sort of thing you mean? Would Farragut have said "We can't get pulled into another war" and "We need to be working with others"?

(Warren photo by Tim Pierce.)

Did you really mean to adopt his words or was that just a handy expression that felt like the sort of thing one says when talking tough? Farragut wasn't talking tough. He was witnessing a sinking ship in a mined harbor and ordering many ships to charge into that harbor anyway. Damn the danger!

It's not that easy for a party nominee to remove his name from the ballot to help the third party candidate against his opponent.

The Democratic Party nominee in the Kansas Senate race is finding out.

"Brit Hume: Obama told a friend of mine before he was elected, 'Wouldn’t it be great for the world if I were president?'"

If true, it suggest that Obama himself believed The Fantasy of the Face... or at least believed he could sell it.

Gendered violence... The 3 Stooges.

In the course of discussing the gendered violence of the imagery deployed by Debbie Wasserman Shultz and trying to picture the kind of hitting implied by the phrase giving the back of one's hand, some of my mental images seemed like the sort of thing done by The 3 Stooges. This, of course, is nearly always man-on-man violence. (Occasionally, a woman is hit when a man moves out of the way.) What's gendered about 3 Stooges violence is that men typically —famously — find The 3 Stooges much funnier than women do.

I wanted a link for that last statement, googled "why don't women like the 3 stooges," and the top hit was a 2005 post of mine: "Why women don't like The Three Stooges." Ah, but I didn't say women dislike the violence. I said the Stooges weren't physically attractive enough. Further googling is frustrating because Google being what it is, material about the recent 3 Stooges movie dominates the returns. So I'll just say I've heard a lot of talk over the years about how men are far more amused by the Stooges because men and women experience violence differently. Women feel vulnerable and empathize with the victim, while men identify with the attacker. So they say.

Anyway, looking for examples of Stooge violence that could be called giving the back of one's hand, I watched the this montage of 3 Stooges. I was having that typical female response of not laughing at anything, but then one thing — and only one thing — made me laugh out loud. So I propose that you watch this well-edited set of acts of Stooge violence and take note of what, if anything, made you laugh. Then we can try to analyze the nature of the humor response. If it's the one thing that made me laugh and you are female, it will mean a lot to me.

The violent imagery deployed against Scott Walker by Debbie Wasserman Shultz is gendered — it's domestic violence.

When Wasserman Shultz says "Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand" and "What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back," she evokes domestic violence. Grabbing a woman by the hair and pulling is the classic image of a caveman capturing his sex partner by force. Sociology professor Lisa Wade wrote a piece on the subject (cross-posted at Ms. Magazine):
[T]he caveman-club-’er-over-the-head-and-drag-her-by-the-hair narrative is pure mythology. The mythology, nonetheless, affirms the idea that men are naturally coercive and violent by suggesting that our most natural and socially-uncorrupted male selves will engage in this sort of behavior.  Rape, that is.
If we think of it that way — the feminist way — Wasserman Schultz can be accused of subtly purveying a rape metaphor.

Here's a vivid drawing by R. Crumb showing grabbing and pulling a woman's hair to control and subordinate her during sex: "Big healthy girl enjoys deep penetration from the rear."

Some of the most lurid stories of violence against women extract the dragged-by-the-hair detail for the headline: "Brutal attacker forced woman's head down Burger King toilet before dragging her outside by her hair with the threat: 'You're going to die today'" and "Man dragged ex by hair, tried to run her over, police say." From the Occupy Wall Street blogging at FireDogLake: "Cop Dragging A Woman By Her Hair?" ("Cops especially like the opportunity offered by long-haired females (view above video) to drag such females by the hair across the pavement to be zip-cuffed.") 

Attacking and controlling a woman by using her long hair — the shining emblem of her femininity repurposed as a hand grip — strikes a deep chord. It is a chord I believe Wasserman Shultz meant to strike. She wanted to reach through our conscious, critical mind and stir that most powerful emotion, fear.

To give the back of his hand is a more puzzling expression. I'm seeing it internet-defined as merely an insult, connected to the phrase "back-handed compliment." I think that's confusing "back-handed" with "left-handed." According to the (unlinkable) OED, the figurative meaning of "back-handed" is "indirect, like a back-handed sword-cut." Dickens wrote "Having given her this back-handed reminder" (in "Our Mutual Friend"). But what's a back-handed sword-cut? I think you can picture that easily. And the first meaning of "back-handed" is "With the back of the hand" as in "A back-handed slap across the face." And, indeed, "back-hand" is a verb, and it means "To hit... with the back of the hand." So I think to give the back of one's hand is the way you'd punch if you began with your fist across your chest.

September 3, 2014

Debbie Wasserman Schultz says: "Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand" and "What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back."

What does that even refer to? That's really shameless. The violent imagery is despicable, and disrespectful to victims of actual violence. Why bring in women's hair? It seems mental.

ADDED: In a new post, I explain why Wasserman Schultz's 2 images of violence — hair grabbing and pulling and giving the back of the hand — are, specifically, gendered violence.

At the Curved Path Café...


... take your turn.

FiveThirtyEight gives the GOP a 64% likelihood of taking control of the Senate.

Details here.
A large number of states remain competitive, and Democrats could easily retain the Senate. It’s also possible that the landscape could shift further in Republicans’ direction. Our model regards a true Republican wave as possible: It gives the party almost a 25 percent chance of finishing with 54 or more Senate seats once all the votes are counted.

Forget the children's drawings on mommy's wedding dress...

... what about John Kerry's big floppy shorts, worn while kiteboarding... and while the world burns?

"Angelina’s wedding gown a gross display of parenting run amok."

It was covered with embroidery based on drawings her kids had made — "a random assortment of motorbikes, Eiffel Towers, mouse-like creatures and other 'charming' artwork" with "'buttock fattock' inexplicably embroidered on the rear."

Oh, what difference does it make? Why is a woman with children wearing a traditional white wedding dress in the first place? If you're going to stage a wedding long after the birth/adoption of 6 children and wear the white dress, why not goof on its inappropriateness and comment comically on how you've messed with the old convention that somehow you still want in on anyway?

By they way, "amok" comes from the Malay "amoq," which means "engaging furiously in battle, attacking with desperate resolution, rushing in a state of frenzy to the commission of indiscriminate murder... Applied to any animal in a state of vicious rage." (OED, no link available.)

To "to run amok" is "to run viciously, mad, frenzied for blood" or, figurative, "wild or wildly, headlong or heedlessly."

Talking about taxes and slavery, Henry David Thoreau used the expression in "Walden" (1854):

Watching other people play video games has gotten very popular.

"For some Boomers, that may recall comedian Brian Regan’s line about televised fishing shows: 'I’m not even fishing, I’m watching fishing! I’m too lazy to fish!'"
Yet Twitch’s success demonstrates that the thrill is real. And while I tend to think media reporters overstate the importance of generations... there’s something generational going on here....

What is Twitch? Twitch is the modern, monetized version of an experience now decades-old. Twitch is watching friends play Mario Kart at a sleepover. Twitch is watching your cousin—the only familial owner of that precious N64—play Zelda. It’s losing early at Halo or Goldeneye and having to sit out; it’s watching your sister navigate the world she built in Minecraft.

"In short, Defendants claim a carte blanche to target more or less every person or group that has ever participated in Wisconsin political or policy debates..."

"... to raid their homes, seize their records and personal effects, subpoena their emails and phone records, and threaten them with prosecution - all things that Defendants actually did in this case – merely for speaking out on the issues. It would be difficult to conceive a more offensive disregard for the First Amendment rights of citizens to advocate and associate with others to advance their beliefs through the political process, the very lifeblood of representative democracy."

From the brief filed yesterday in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals by Eric O’Keefe and Wisconsin Club for Growth, excerpted and discussed by Professor Jacobson, whose blog post ends:
Lavrenti Beria, head of the KGB under Stalin, is reported to have said: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

If the factual recitation in the John Doe targets’ Brief is accurate, that was exactly the methodology used by prosecutors in Wisconsin.

The man was Scott Walker, the crime has not yet been found, but in the pursuit the conservative movement was silenced and had its constitutional rights violated.
I got to Professor Jacobson via Instapundit, who said: "The Deep State isn’t that big on law, but it’s big on legal institutions."

ADDED: Here is an easily readable PDF of the document. Those with a background in Federal Courts (a subject I've taught for 30 years) should be interested in the details of the discussion of the Younger, Pullman, and Burford abstention doctrines. The John Doe investigation is a proceeding that one might argue should be allowed to take its course within the institutions of state government, especially since there is a state statute to be interpreted and applied. Why should O'Keefe and the Club be allowed to go on the offensive in federal court? Isn't that disruptive, duplicative, and disrespectful? The brief must answer those questions.

"So basically she's like Jesus, except with a mattress instead of a crucifix."

Says a commenter at "Columbia Student Will Carry a Mattress Everywhere Until Her Alleged Rapist Is Expelled."

"Anyone calling these shots ‘sexy’ is horribly, horribly misguided."

Writes Claire Cohen in a UK Telegraph piece (that predates the naked-celebrities-iCloud leak) titled "Keira Knightley's topless pictures are a victory for small breasted women/Notoriously private actress Keira Knightley has posed topless for a fashion magazine to widespread surprise. Claire Cohen welcomes her decision and explains why it's a powerful statement for all women with less-than-voluptuous chests").

The photos of the strikingly beautiful actress are redacted at that link. Why does Cohen — who claims to have small breasts too — declare Knightley's pictures unsexy... or, to be perfectly accurate, not to be called "sexy"?

Cohen contends that her small breasts "just don’t factor much in my day-to-day thoughts and never when it comes to my feelings of attractiveness." And she's got a quote of Knightley saying "I don’t mind exposing my tits because they’re so small – people aren’t really that interested." Cohen says "really small boobs aren’t traditionally seen as desirable." And: "They’re often overlooked."

I would think the point would be that Keira Knightley proves that they are in fact extremely attractive. But Cohen "salute[s]" Knightley for "throwing out ideas of what the naked female form should, or shouldn’t, look like" and "taking control of her own image." In that light, Cohen says, it's "horribly, horribly misguided" to call the pictures "sexy."
To me, it’s clear that Keira hasn’t got her tits out for the purpose of male titillation. Powerful, yes. Strong, yes. Feminist, absolutely. X-rated? Not even close. And that’s why this is a victory for small breasted women.
Too bad Knightley "got her tits out" right when all these other stars were having their "tits" gotten out for them. Knightley's message — whatever it is — got stepped on badly.

But let's pretend we can hear the message Knightley intended to send by posing with her shirt off. I don't believe for one second that she meant small breasts, being small, can be seen naked without being sexy. She's saying: No one is more beautiful than I am — me, the ideal, including the tiny breasts. Tiny breasts should be the new thing, because I am so perfectly beautiful.

Now, who read the signaling headlamps properly, me or Cohen?

September 2, 2014

Saving the "Bucket Bear."


I clicked on "Three sentences no one should forget about onions."

But it actually said "Three sentences no one should forget about unions." I would never have clicked on that. And now I'm sad not to have 3 sentences not to forget about onions. Please help me do better than this:

1. "Get those onions out of here!" (That's what Philo Kvetch said to "Onions" Oregano on "The Soupy Sales Show.")

2. "That was strange, having real onions and the rest of the stuff phony." (Andy Warhol's diary entry for Monday, August 27, 1979, commenting on a sandwich he ate at McDonald's.)

3. "Be an onion!" (According to Mark Twain, that's what a Bermudian says to his son.)

There is a such a thing as a coffee nap!

I'd thought I was weird, drinking coffee in the afternoon, when I'm groggy and trying to perk up, and soon falling asleep anyway, and getting a pretty nice nap. But science says this is a thing:
It might sound crazy: conventional wisdom is that caffeine interferes with sleep. But if you caffeinate immediately before napping and sleep for 20 minutes or less, you can exploit a quirk in the way both sleep and caffeine affect your brain to maximize alertness. Here's the science behind the idea....

"I don't care about the consequences; put this plane down."

"I lost two dogs in the last month. I want her off of here, or I'm going to leave; or I want you to stop the plane."

Said the lady on the plane, whose crazy argument worked to force the plane down.

What was the relevance of the dead dogs? To her, I mean. I'm interested in bad arguments. I have a tag charming bad logic, but it's not quite right here, obviously, since everyone on the plane had their time massively wasted by this woman who must have seriously believed in the profundity of her special need.

Stepping out...


... with Howie and Ollie (at The Puparazzo). And more with just Ollie (the Labradoodle) here. Ollie's a Labradoodle, but what is Howie? He reminds me of the cats in Betty Boop cartoons.

"NFL executives, you see, are 'architects'... coolly calculating what is in the best interests of his organization."

"An architect is solemn, constructing something built to last that is of value to a community. Irrationalities like 'prejudice' and 'gay panic' never enter the thought process, not when you are building the football equivalent of the new wing at the Guggenheim. Michael Sam, meanwhile, and the media who care about his journey constitute a 'circus.' What could possibly be less serious and more frivolous than a circus? For that matter what could possibly be less 'manly' than a circus? A drag show, perhaps?"

Writes Dave Zirin in The Nation.

Yes, what is less manly than a circus?

Any words you use may be used against you.

On the first day of school...


... you can pass all the notes you want to your friends.

The Russians send 5 geckos into space for a sex experiment.

They all die.

"If every state had an official dessert, what would it be?"

Did they get your state right?

WaPo owner Bezos replaces publisher Katharine Weymouth with Frederick J. Ryan Jr.

So the 48-year-old female who got her position through membership in the Graham family, which had owned the paper since 1933, will be superseded by a 59-year-old male lawyer, who worked in the Reagan administration — the Reagan administration! — and who co-founded Politico.
Ryan’s background in Republican politics also is certain to raise questions about the direction of The Post’s editorial page, among the most influential in the nation....
Ryan edited the books "Ronald Reagan: The Wisdom and Humor of the Great Communicator" and "Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator." Hey, Ryan, tear down that paywall!
Weymouth was touched by controversy early in her tenure when Politico...
... reported in 2009 that she had attempted to schedule a series of exclusive, off-the-record dinners at her home — called “salons” — with business leaders, administration and congressional officials and Post journalists. Amid public backlash, the events were canceled before any were held.
Oh, yeah. I remember blogging that, under the heading "The Washington Post loses its mind."
"Underwriting Opportunity: An evening with the right people can alter the debate. Underwrite and participate in this intimate and exclusive Washington Post Salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth. ... Bring your organization’s CEO or executive director literally to the table. Interact with key Obama administration and congressional leaders."

Price: $250,000. With "parameters" said to ensure that that the newspaper "did not in any way compromise our integrity" (such as it was).
Good luck to Ryan and Bezos. And tear down that paywall.

"When parents reported their daughters missing, it could take 24 hours for the police to turn up...."

"Some parents, if they called in repeatedly, were fined for wasting police time. Some officers and local officials told the investigation that they did not act for fear of being accused of racism. But [Alexis Jay, a former chief inspector of social work who was commissioned by the Rotherham Council to carry out an independent investigation] said that for years there was an undeniable culture of institutional sexism. Her investigation heard that police referred to victims as 'tarts' and to the girls’ abuse as a 'lifestyle choice.' In the minutes of a meeting about a girl who had been raped by five men, a police detective refused to put her into the sexual abuse category, saying he knew she had been '100 percent consensual.' She was 12.... During an interview at her home outside Rotherham, [one victim] recalled being questioned about her abuse by police officers who repeatedly referred to the main rapist as her 'boyfriend.'"

The NYT reports on the Rotherham rape scandal.

Climbing out to precarious, vertiginous places toward Instagram fame.

Beautiful, unsettling pictures.

What could go wrong?

"My casual choice to use the word 'smarter' really provoked a reaction!"

"I could just have easily written 'I prefer LD's tweet.' But people are so touchy about anything that suggests an actual comparison of IQs. A lot of pride and anxiety at that location, I suspect."

Said I, commenting at 5:01 AM at what is at the moment the end of a comments thread on a post where I'd called Lena Dunham's tweet about the naked-celebrity-pics leak "smarter" than the tweet by Ricky Gervais.

I didn't even say I thought Lena is smarter than Ricky, though it sure would be fun to watch them go head to head on the LSAT.

ADDED: Ricky's subtextual message to readers of his tweet was: It's okay to look at the pictures. Lena's overt message was: "It's not okay." That's the basis for my preference.

September 1, 2014

50 years ago this month: the first time Pete Townshend destroyed his guitar as part of an on-stage performance.

"Pete Townshend said it was an accident the first time he smashed his guitar. He was playing with The Who in a small cramped room at the Railway Hotel in Harrow, west London. The ceiling was damp with condensation, the room smoky, a smell of sweat and stale beer. The Who were playing 'Smokestack Lightning,' 'I’m a Man,' and 'Road Runner' when..."

I don't think the precise day is known, so I can't say "50 years ago today" as I normally do, and it wasn't a planned action, so this is an ambiguous milestone. Later, Townsend would do it on purpose. But even if it was intentional, it was long after the first planned performance of instrument destruction. I don't know what was the first, but Wikipedia has an article titled "Instrument destruction," which gives the honor to a performance that took place in 1956, amazingly enough, on the Lawrence Welk TV show. It was Rocky Rockwell, doing an Elvis Presley impersonation, and it looked a little something like this:

Maybe because that was comical, it shouldn't count. Rockwell wasn't sincere in his Elvisosity, so the destruction expressed only a rejection of the music he was inviting us to laugh at and reject. And they say Jerry Lee Lewis set his piano on fire in the 1950s. Charles Mingus famously got mad at someone and broke his $20,000 bass.

But there's some restriction of the definition of the feat that puts Pete Townsend first. Here's Jeff Beck aping Pete's routine in the 1966 movie "Blowup":

"Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on the computer."

Tweeted Ricky Gervais, after a big naked-celebrity security leak at iCloud.

He's getting reamed for saying that.

A smarter tweet from Lena Dunham: "Remember, when you look at these pictures you are violating these women again and again. It’s not okay. Seriously, do not forget that the person who stole these pictures and leaked them is not a hacker: they’re a sex offender."

And: "Also sad I can’t make one joke about having shown my t*ts on purpose without a massive qualitative tit debate. Some of y’all, dang. The 'don’t take naked pics if you don’t want them online' argument is the 'she was wearing a short skirt' of the web. Ugh."

IN THE COMMENTS: John Nowak said:
I wish people would stop saying "the Cloud" and replace it with "Someone else's server."

I think that would make some decisions more clear for what they are. 
I don't think people realize that they may have their iPhone set to store photos automatically on Apple's servers. Many lovers just fool around with the phone camera. Are you smart enough to know how stupid you need to be to make the "Jennifer Lawrence mistake"?

"To me, bad teachers don’t do anybody any good. So the unions need to recognize that parents are not going to stand for it anymore."

Said Whoopi Goldberg today, Labor Day.

In the buff.

"What color is buff?" I was asked recently, after I mentioned that the English dandy Beau Brummel mostly only ever wore the colors white, blue-black, and buff.

I answered "in the buff," as if the color is the color of a random naked person, but I looked it up in the OED, and the relevant meaning is "Of the colour of buff leather; a light brownish yellow." Buff leather is buffalo leather, and from that comes the meaning that "buff" is naked skin and "in the buff" means naked. I'd never thought of the the nakedness usage of "buff" as having anything to do with "buffalo." The word "buff" meaning an enthusiast — as in "film buff" — comes from the enthusiasm for going to fires, in that NYC volunteer firemen at one time wore buff-colored uniforms.

I guess Americans don't use the color name "buff" so much anymore. We do have a tendency to identify light brownish colors as "tan." Obama's summer suit, much-discussed last week, was almost invariably called "tan." Some said "khaki," which the OED calls a "dull brownish yellow." As for "tan," the OED calls it "The brown colour of tan; tawny," "tan" being a cocoction made from oak bark, used in tanning leather. I've long been influenced by the Crayola crayon that was labeled "tan" (at least in the 1950s and 60s), so I see this more as the color of a suntan. Of course, back then, Crayola had a crayon labeled "flesh." That got re-named "peach" in 1962. We knew the Civil Rights Movement had momentum.

Is it only an accident that the subject of race has arisen in the context of what to call the color of Obama's suit? Is the concern about the color of his suit unconscious displacement of concern over the color of his skin? Consult this chart:

Here's the suit:

Buff? Maybe it depends on whether you're an Obama buff. "Buff" also means — referring to a man — "muscular, well-toned; physically attractive." A Google image search for "Obama's buff suit" turns up pictures of him in a bathing suit, presumably in admiration of his bare chest, but perhaps because he's partially in the buff. Be careful though. The etymology all goes back to "buffalo." Remember the infamous "Water Buffalo Incident" of 1993?

On a lighter note, it's Labor Day: Don't wear white after Labor Day.

That was the biggest hunk of bait I've ever seen on this blog...

... the first comment, totally off topic and saying obscene things about the Christian religion. Admirably, you talked about what I'd invited you to talk about, Ted Cruz saying "Sadly, the state of the world is the Russian bear is encountering the Obama kitty cat."

Said troll arrived just as Meade and I were leaving to go to the theater, another drive out to Spring Green to the American Players Theater, this time to re-see "Travesties," that Tom Stoppard play that has Vladimir Lenin and James Joyce as characters and uses elements of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest." We saw the Wilde play on Friday, dodging lightning. And that made the second viewing of "Travesties" more different from the first than most re-seeings. Re-seeings are always different though, in good ways. Anything I like enough to see a second time I prefer to see with the experience of having seen it before. The surprises are gone, and undistracted by predicting and looking for surprises, you notice everything that's been planted along the way to make the coming surprises surprising. It's at least different. Do you agree that it's better?

At the elite level, the Supreme Court cogitates about the subtle psychological pressure to pray when a private chaplain performs an invocation at a government meeting.

Here, for example, is Justice Kagan dissenting in the Supreme Court case Town of Greece v. Galloway:
A person goes to court, to the polls, to a naturalization ceremony — and a government official or his hand-picked minister asks her, as the first order of official business, to stand and pray with others in a way conflicting with her own religious beliefs. Perhaps she feels sufficient pressure to go along — to rise, bow her head, and join in whatever others are saying: After all, she wants, very badly, what the judge or poll worker or immigration official has to offer. Or perhaps she is made of stronger mettle, and she opts not to participate in what she does not believe — indeed, what would, for her, be something like blasphemy. She then must make known her dissent from the common religious view, and place herself apart from other citizens, as well as from the officials responsible for the invocations. And so a civic function of some kind brings religious differences to the fore: That public proceeding becomes (whether intentionally or not) an instrument for dividing her from adherents to the community’s majority religion, and for altering the very nature of her relationship with her government.
At the non-elite level, say Winter Garden, Florida, the mayor himself performs the invocation, calls out a citizen who fails to rise on his order, chastises the citizen who quietly cites his desire and right to decline to participate, and — when the man also declines to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance kicks the man out of the meeting. Witness Mayor John Rees:

"Why Uber must be stopped/The touted start-up is proving to be the embodiment of unrestrained hyper-capitalism. What happens when it wins?"

Hysterical headline at Salon, illustrated by a photoshop of Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko and Leonardo Di Caprio as the Wolf of Wall Street, together at last, glaring at us rapaciously.

Here's Power Line's attack on Salon.

August 31, 2014

"Sadly, the state of the world is the Russian bear is encountering the Obama kitty cat."

Said Ted Cruz.

Bella De Paulo — author of "Singled Out" — notices her role in causing the marriage of Althouse and Meade.

"Weirdest Thing Ever – at Least in My Life/How could a book on single life lead to this?"
Now here's something else weird.... My first idea for the title was, "Weirdest thing ever – at least in my uneccentric life." I think of my life as fairly ordinary and innocuous...

But as many of you know, I'm also single, and at 60, I have been single all my life and I plan to stay single for the rest of my life – by choice....
Yeah, that's what I thought too. I was 57 at the time of my diavlog with Bella and 58 when I married Meade. So just think how weird it would be if Bella's Meade arrived over there in her comments.

ADDED: By "that's what I thought too," I meant that I'd been single so long and to such an advanced age that my mindset was that I would be single for the rest of my life. But I got married in 1973 at the age of 22, and we separated in 1987 and later divorced.

In the thunderstorm theater.


There we were, Friday night, out under the open, darkening sky at 8 p.m. in Spring Green, Wisconsin. The play was "The Importance of Being Earnest," and the weather forecast was: thunderstorms. As the winds stirred up the surrounding foliage, we of Row O had to strain to catch the Wildean witticisms. Lightning flashed, seemingly synchronized with emotional outbursts on stage. A particularly striking strike perfectly accompanied one of Cecily's exclamations, perhaps "Horrid Political Economy! Horrid Geography! Horrid, horrid German!"

The play continued, the actors utterly ignoring the wind and the lightning and even the rain, until the lights came up and a voice over a loudspeaker announced that a rain break was needed, at which point the actors halted, the audience wildly cheered them, and we all filed out to our separate shelters. The actorly voice on the loudspeaker radiated assurance of knowledge of the weather patterns: The break would be short. And it was. The play resumed, overlapping with the last minute or 2 of what we'd just seen. Perhaps Lady Bracknell repeated the advice "Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon.  Only people who can’t get into it do that."

We didn't get very much further, only to Miss Prism's breakdown into tears. The loudspeaker voice knew that the lightning was about to get dangerous. I guess it wasn't before, when I'd taken comfort in the thought that the big lighting towers would take the hit and not some random audience member like me, not that I'd have enjoyed the play so much if someone else had taken the jolt, even that lady in the red shirt who got back from intermission late and walked across part of the downstage as Act II began. The happy ending for all was in sight, and it was after 11 p.m., but no one seemed willing to leave. Was it camaraderie with the actors or the fear that if we took the woodland walk from the theater down to the parking lot, we'd make good targets for that dangerous lightning?

We got back to our wet seats, and Miss Prism had to redo her waterworks. "In a moment of mental abstraction, for which I never can forgive myself...." And soon all the mysteries were solved, the 3 sets of lovers had embraced in true love —  "At last!" — and Jack (AKA Ernest) had realized for "the first time in [his] life the vital importance of being earnest." The audience was overjoyed, not just at the perfectly happy ending but at the heroic thunderstorm performance of the actors, and we gave a loud, elated — wild/Wilde — standing ovation for everyone, including ourselves. Did we not deserve it too, we who sat in the rain, strained to hear through the rustling of leaves, we who stood around for 2 intermissions and 2 storm breaks? We were kind of heroes too, heroes of a passive sort, and we were giddy by then, after midnight.

We tripped down the woodland path to the car and fiddled with the radio to get the baseball game  from the Pacific Time Zone to keep us going for the hour-long car ride home. It's the 6th inning. What's the score? The Giants already have 16 hits!

It was a good night to get out to the theater.


"What shall we do after dinner? Go to a theatre?"/"Oh no! I loathe listening."

"Mickey Mouse is not a mouse. If you look very closely at him, you can see that he wears gloves."

"Mice do not have the capability, nor the desire, to put gloves on their hands. He also is depicted wearing a pair of shorts with large buttons, which a mouse would be unable to fasten given its mental limitations, not to mention the fact that it has claws without opposable thumbs. Furthermore, the viewer should not be misled into thinking that Mickey is a mouse because he uses the name 'Mouse.' This is merely Mr. Mouse’s surname, and is not intended to confer any mouselike qualities upon him. If you met a man who was named, say, Alan Bird, you would not assume that he was a member of the avian family, even if he happened to have a beak instead of the traditional mouth-and-nose combination seen in most humans, would you? Obviously, Mr. Mouse is simply a man with a loving wife, Mrs. Mouse (a female human), and a normal Homo sapiens existence, just like the rest of us. He even owns a dog called Pluto! How many mice do you know who own dogs?"

Reaction to "Hello Kitty is not a cat..."

ADDED: There! This is the post that pushed me over the line to make a Hello Kitty tag. Going back into the archive to do the necessary retrospective tagging, I find 4 other posts:

1. January 3, 2006: "Cute!" looked at Natalie Angier's "The Cute Factor." She said:
Experts point out that the cuteness craze is particularly acute in Japan, where it goes by the name "kawaii" and has infiltrated the most masculine of redoubts. Truck drivers display Hello Kitty-style figurines on their dashboards....

Behind the kawaii phenomenon, according to Brian J. McVeigh, a scholar of East Asian studies at the University of Arizona, is the strongly hierarchical nature of Japanese culture. "Cuteness is used to soften up the vertical society," he said, "to soften power relations and present authority without being threatening."
Watch out for cute.

2. June 24, 2007: "Is it wrong to tattoo your dog?"
On the positive side: The dog was under anesthesia. On the negative side: It was a tattoo of a cat, and not just any cat -- Hello Kitty.
Yeah, I need to update that, with the news that Hello Kitty is known to be not a cat, but a little girl. Good news for that dog. Also at that old post: links to the Hello Kitty Hell blog and the Hello Kitty text, which I might want to re-take to try to get a better score, i.e., better than self-centered and evil.

(From the anti-Hello Kitty blog, Hello Kitty Hell, found via Metafilter.)

(And take the Hello Kitty test, which is cute and which told me people must think I'm self-centered and evil.)

3. July 17, 2013: "Does anyone in the Bible ever say 'hello'?" Somehow the last paragraph of this post is:
"Heil Hitler" is translated as "Hail Hitler." It's not "Hello Hitler," which seems edgily absurd. You could sing it to the tune of "Hello, Dolly," which has a comma, I might note, unlike Hello Kitty.
By the way, I put my fascism tag on this post after writing about the 2006 post.

4. April 25, 2014: "Avril Lavigne picked a bad week to go all racist." Someone at Vox had written:
"RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!!," Avril tweeted. "I love Japanese culture...." In her defense, this kind of makes sense. Japanese pop does have a pretty camp vein running through it, one that "Hello Kitty" apes.
And I said:
"Hello Kitty" apes? I love those 3 words together, because I can picture "Hello Kitty" Apes... just like I can picture "King Kong" Kitties, but do not market a product called King Kong Kitties. That would be racist.
King Kong is not an ape. He is a... I want to say: He is a little boy. But I google "is King Kong fascist." That turns up a lot, including a book called — I know — "Sartre and Adorno: The Dialectics of Subjectivity," which quotes Theodor Adorno:
"While appearing as a superman, the leader must at the same time work the miracle of appearing as an average person, just as Hitler posed as a composite of King Kong and the suburban barber."
AND: I considered googling "Is Mickey Mouse fascist," but switched to "did Hitler like Mickey Mouse." I found many references to the Art Spiegelman's "Maus," a graphic memoir about his father, a Holocaust survivor, in which the father's memories have the Jewish characters drawn as mice and the Nazis as cats. The second volume of "Maus" begins with a quote from a German newspaper article from the mid-1930s:
Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed.... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.... Away with Jewish brutalization of the people! Down with Mickey Mouse! Wear the Swastika Cross!
ALSO: Here's "A Guide For the Purrplexed/How Maimonides explains the Hello Kitty controversy":
“Know that likeness is a certain relation between two things and that in cases where no relation can be supposed to exist between two things, no likeness between them can be represented to oneself,” the old master wrote in his Guide For the Perplexed. “Similarly it behooves those who believe that there are essential attributes that may be predicated of the Creator—namely, that He is existent, living, possessing power, knowing, and willing—to understand that these notions are not ascribed to Him and to us in the same sense. According to what they think, the difference between these attributes and ours lies in the former being greater, more perfect, more permanent, or more durable than ours, so that His existence is more durable than our existence, His life more permanent than our life, His power greater than our power, His knowledge more perfect than our knowledge, and His will more universal than our will.”

And that, of course, is wrong, because God is nothing like man. He hasn’t a face or a temper or anything else we might recognize....

To paraphrase Maimonides, it behooves those who were outraged this week over Sanrio’s revelation and who believe that there are essential attributes that may be predicated of Hello Kitty—namely, that She is existent, living, possessing power, knowing, and willing—to understand that these notions are not ascribed to Her and to us in the same sense.