June 6, 2015

At long last, a Triple Crown!

Not since 1978....

"A neighborhood father tossed out all of his kids’ toys after reading that American kids were 'overstimulated.'"

"He then gave them a 'toy' he’d seen kids play with in Africa — a plastic milk jug with a rock inside. Still worried about overstimulation, he gave away all their books but two."

From "Cucumbers: The New Birthday Cake?"

(By the way, I agree that children are overstimulated, and I think they'd be better off with only one toy... but not a rock in a plastic milk jug!)

I love this: "Plastic Surgery With Magazines"...

... by Metra Bruno and Laurence Jeanson. I'll give one example, but they're all quite amusing:

"When Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin throws his leg across his beloved Harley-Davidson Road King for a celebration of motorcycles and Iowa pork on Saturday, the political symbolism will be as thick as the smoke from the roasting pits."

Really intense first sentence of a NYT article titled "Scott Walker Riding With Joni Ernst in Iowa as Rivals Give Chase," which Drudge is linking with the teaser "Leader of the Pack."

This post gets an epic trio of tags: meat, metaphor, motorcycle.

ADDED: The WaPo headline is: "Scott Walker is the only potential presidential candidate who can go to a biker rally and mean it."

This makes me think about a decisive moment in the debate last fall between Scott Walker and his Democratic opponent Mary Burke. As I observed it:
There was one "fun" question, asking them what they'd do if they had to go a day without campaigning and would surely take to their preferred 2-wheeler, Burke on a Trek bike and Walker on a Harley.
Burke's family founded the Trek bicycle company and Burke's campaign relied heavily on her experience as a Trek exec.
Where, exactly, would they go, and who would they go with? Walker gave the precise route, complete with route numbers and turns, and said he'd go with his usual "buddies" who motorcycle with him. Burke seemed nervous and said "um" a few times as she claimed she'd go back to her hometown and spend time with members of her family. Meade was heckling, saying that everyone knows that Mary Burke isn't much of a cyclist. Ah, but what was she supposed to do? The questioner imposed the assumption that if she had time off, of course, she'd bicycle. It would be awkward to refute that! Just because my family is in the bicycle business doesn't mean that when I get some time, what I want to do is bike. If her family were in the dairy business, would they assume that in her spare time, what she likes to do is drink milk?

"This appears to me to be a case motivated by professional jealousy. You have a young hotshot..."

"... who does something really original, gains notoriety, then gets set upon by a bunch of nitpickers who focus on details to the exclusion of the big picture. There should of course be scrutiny, but sifting through every single detail as if she should have operated under the highest journalistic standards seems excessive. Sure, she may have made some mistakes and cut some corners, but they do not seem to discredit her essential achievement, for which she deserves praise and study. As the article says, let's move on and learn from it."

The top-rated comment at a NYT article titled "Alice Goffman’s Heralded Book on Crime Is Disputed."

At the Curious Poses Café...




"Mr. Huntington built the treehouses over several months last year with the help of what he called a 'bronado' of friends."

"He hired contractors to build the skate bowl at the same time. The treehouse crew slept in a bunkhouse on the property, or else in tents or in their trucks. When they weren’t sawing and nailing boards, they loaded up bows and shot arrows; they skateboarded; they swam and fished in the Columbia River; they got stoned and raced motorbikes. One night Mr. Huntington slaughtered a goat and gave a big barbecue for the crew. 'I think of it as a big-boys’ camp,' said Tucker Gorman, a buddy of Mr. Huntington’s [and] a treehouse expert. 'It’s very much like Neverland up there,' Mr. Gorman said."

From a NYT article (with great photos) titled "Escape to Bro-topia/Foster Huntington was an up-and-comer in the New York fashion industry. Then he ditched it all and built his own personal paradise in the sky."

"Bronado" and "Bro-topia" are (unfortunately!) the only "bro-" slang in the article. "Bronado" has been in Urban Dictionary since 2008, when it was defined as "A large gathering of males, drinking and doing nothing." The current top definition is "When a group of bro's begin to fist pump so hard that a whirl wind begins to form and then from that, a Bro-nado rips through the party."

"Brotopia" (without the hyphen) has been in Urban Dictionary since 2007, when it was defined as "A place in which brothers (from another Mother) can bro-lax and or bro-chill in perfect harmony with one another. Although it is believed that a brotopia does exist one has yet to be found." The current top definition is "A totally non-queer land filled with all your favortie [sic] bros."

"There are also voice coaches who teach how to speak like a woman without sounding like Mrs. Doubtfire..."

"... or how to speak like a man without sounding like a bad impersonation of Johnny Depp. Kathe Perez, a speech pathologist in Denver, has built a career on feminizing voices. She has launched two voice-training apps and plans to unveil a third this month. Her customers frequently discover her through YouTube, where hundreds of channels show off the results of trans surgeries or helpful tutorials. (Pro tips: 'Watch soap operas with the sound off to see how women move their hands' and 'men use fewer words in their sentences.')"

From a Washington Post story — "Learning how to be a lady? For the transgender market, coaches help" — about all the ways to make money from transgender people.

Those "pro" tips about acting like a man/women are repackaged sexist stereotypes: Women talk too much. Women talk with their hands. Suddenly, instead of being an insult, it's marketable advice, suitable to the aspirations of males who want to seem womanly.

Drudge eggs us on with oviform images.

The O — emphasis on O — bama balloon. The horse — PharOah — 's eye. And an actual story about eggs — "Egg rationing in America has officially begun...."

Or is it just me? I'm not eating eggs this morning. I breakfast on peanut butter and sesame seeds. But I'm in the middle of a long email conversation about eggs (in which the question has arisen: Is the medium-boiled egg the height of perfection on soft-to-hard-boiled continuum?)

MEANWHILE: In Milwaukee: "'Focus on Jobs, Not Vaginas' Deliver Their Eggs to Scott Walker."

IN THE COMMENTS: Eric the Fruit Bat said: "The hard-boiled egg is God's way of telling anybody who will listen that you don't have to be a fat fuck anymore. Ever sit down and eat a bag of Doritos? Cookies? M & Ms? A six pack of beer? Of course you did, you fat fuck. But nobody, ever, in the entire history of recorded time, has ever plopped his sorry fat ass down in front of a TV set and scarfed down a dozen hard-boiled eggs. Nobody." That got me looking for the "I'm gonna eat 50 eggs" scene from "Cool Hand Luke":

And — while we're on movies — Saint Croix said: "Hitchcock hated eggs. He was a total egg-o-phobe. When feminists say he was a misogynist, I say, no, he just hated eggs. In To Catch A Thief, Grace Kelly's Mom stabs an egg with her cigarette. Dr. Freud! Calling Dr. Freud!"

(That last image is one of Martin Sichetti's paintings of stills from Hitchcock films.)

"Since I will not be imbibing, you can expect me to refrain from many, if not all, of the behaviors that make you so eager to hang out with me...."

"Who’s going to want to talk to me — a guy who isn’t slurring his words, who respectfully listens to other people’s opinions, and who, worst of all, is wearing a shirt? I’m humiliated just imagining how much I won’t be embarrassing myself. No yelling, no fighting, no flirting with your girlfriend. No spilling, no rambling, no drinking your beverage when you’re in the bathroom. I’m going to look like such an ass. And I just don’t know how I’ll ever be able to make that up to you. Maybe I could finally replace that vase of yours that I broke a few months ago while performing my smash-hit party trick of turning anything into a hat? The one that everyone kept calling an 'earn?'"

From "Sorry for Not Partying," by Alex Watt.

June 5, 2015

"Justice Scalia Blows Creationist Dog-Whistle During Graduation Speech At Catholic High School."

“Class of 2015, you should not leave Stone Ridge High School thinking that you face challenges that are at all, in any important sense, unprecedented,” Scalia said, adding that “Humanity has been around for at least some 5,000 years or so, and I doubt that the basic challenges as confronted are any worse now, or alas even much different, from what they ever were.”
Meanwhile, at The New Yorker, there's a new short story by Jonathan Safran Foer ("Love Is Blind and Deaf") that begins:
Adam and Eve lived together happily for a few days. Being blind, Adam never had to see the oblong, splotchy birthmark across Eve’s cheek, or her rotated incisor, or the gnawed remnants of her fingernails. And, being deaf, Eve never had to hear how weakly narcissistic Adam was, how selectively impervious to reason and unwonderfully childlike. It was good.

They ate apples when they ate and, after a while, they knew it all. Eve grasped the purpose of suffering (there is none), and Adam got his head around free will (a question of terminology)....
What say you?

"Is hillaryclinton.com turning into a couchsurfing site?"

John asks.

"Columbia sex-attack accuser, who carried mattress around campus to protest against her 'rapist', creates new work 'renacting' violent sex called: 'This is not rape.'"

"Emma Sulkowicz's new work, 'Ceci N'est Pas Un Viol' or 'This is not a rape', shows the 22-year-old engaging in consensual sexual contact with an unidentified man before it takes a dark twist."
As predicted, many of the commenters on the piece slammed her for her decision to make it, saying it was in poor taste. 'Why did you have to go and ruin a man's life if all you wanted to do was make porn?' one quizzed.

But others jumped to her defense, with one writing: 'Don't listen to the haters Emma. We believe you. This is just another case of straight white males denying women's lived experiences.'

"The shoot was spontaneous, decided in a late-night conversation between me and Björk while we had 360-degree gear with us in Iceland..."

"... the cyclical format was perfect for the circular fugue structure of ‘Stonemilker.' We spent the early morning moving our crew and equipment onto the island where she wrote the song, being mindful of the tide, which only left us a two hour window to shoot the film."

Animals strike curious poses.



Today, at the Henry Vilas Zoo.

Betting on Rubio.

Coburn's apt analysis.

"Marco Rubio and His Wife Cited 17 Times for Traffic Infractions."

A NYT headline.

Details in the text: Rubio only has 4. His wife has 13. The citations cover an 18-year period, going back to 1997.

This certainly puts Hillary in an admirable comparative position. We know she has no citations in that period — precisely that period. "The last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996. I remember it very well. Unfortunately, so does the Secret Service, which is why I haven't driven since then."

Driving skill and adherence to the rules of the road should be a factor as we decide who should take over the steering wheel of the United States, don't you think? Who — of all the candidates — do you think is the best driver? I'm just going to say Lincoln Chaffee. I don't know why. He is named after a car.

Can the NYT please check all the records for us? Maybe they're doing that, and they're dumping the Rubio news now because the violations aren't bad enough. If they've found some old DUI citations on anyone (anyone Republican), we'll have to wait until the eve of the election.

ADDED: The Free Beacon says that "each of the citations mentioned by the New York Times were pulled in person by American Bridge operatives on May 26, 2015" and identifies American Bridge as a "liberal opposition research firm." Since the NYT reporters don't appear in the court records as having obtained this material, the inference is that the NYT received oppo research and wrote it up as an article. Embarrassing to get caught. How routine is this?

"Why Are Libertarians Mostly Dudes?"

That's a New Republic article by Jeet Heer.
[T]he typical libertarian is a white man. These firm demographic contours cry out for an explanation since, at first glance, there doesn’t seem much intrinsically white or male about libertarianism. Proclaiming itself a philosophy of individualism, with no overt celebrations of either patriarchy or racism, libertarianism still ends up being monochromatic and male....

Jesse Walker, an editor at Reason magazine, agrees that the libertarian gender gap is real... Aside from computer programming, libertarianism overlaps with other male-dominated subcultures as science-fiction fandom, the gaming community, Men’s Rights Activists, and organized humanism/atheism. But this account simply raises another question: Why do overwhelmingly male subcultures feel an affinity for libertarianism?...

While libertarianism is rarely explicitly sexist, it is hostile to collective efforts to challenge sexism: anti-discrimination laws, affirmative action, paid leave, and the broader net of social services that are particularly necessary to those who have historically been tasked with care-giving jobs within the family. No wonder women as a whole find little in libertarianism that appeals to them....

 This [nostalgic] yearning for the America of the Robber Barons has little to offer most women (who might not want to return to a world where they couldn’t vote and had severely restricted social lives) or for that matter most non-whites (who might recall Jim Crow segregation)...
This is what I felt back in 2007 when I had my in-person interactions with a group of libertarians. From the archive:
"Where I was when I was out of my milieu."

"Responding to Jonah's response to that hot diavlog."

"Here's the post where I take on Ron Bailey of Reason Magazine."

"Adler, Drezner, and Levy try to close the glass window on debate, and I say, Aw, come on, you're not gonna say that now."
To put it very plainly and simply, to me, the libertarians lacked humanity and they were using their pride in their commitment to abstract ideas to resist examining the reasons why they liked the ideas they were wedded to. I think people like that would be very dangerous if they had political power. Intellectually, as people to converse with, I found them cold and rigid, not interested in talking about anything on the level that I am seeking, and creepily eager to insult me for being on the wrong level.

"Snoop Dogg posted an insensitive meme about Caitlyn Jenner... saying she’s nothing more than a ‘science project'..."

"Instead, Snoop Dogg wants the world to put more attention on 'real news' like the fact that Akon is supplying 600 million Africans with solar power...."

I was going to say it was funny to think that rappers are supposed to be sensitive, but it seems Snoop Dogg is trying to be sensitive, showing concern about electrical power for Africans.

Meanwhile, Jon Stewart said: "You see, Caitlyn, when you were a man, we could talk about your athleticism, your business acumen.... But now you’re a woman, which means your looks are really the only thing we care about."

Note the craft with which Stewart selects his target: It's us. We are concerned with only with a woman's looks. But Jenner is concerned with looks! That trailer is half about makeup and that Vanity Fair cover is all about looks, looks in the form of a subordinate posture and a silly, silken bathing suit. Jenner is responsible for that presentation. Jenner describes a feeling of having the mind of a woman, but maybe there should have been more specificity: Inside there was a woman, but not just any woman, an old-fashioned, unliberated woman who cares a lot about makeup, clothes, and looking pretty for admirers.

Then, there's also: "ESPY Courage Award: Lauren Hill’s Fans Outraged Caitlyn Jenner To Be Honored Over Her... 'Elective surgery isn’t courage or bravery,' a Twitter user named Kristin wrote on Wednesday, June 3. 'Fighting brain cancer with grace and dignity at 19 is. Lauren is most deserving.' Messages such as this flooded social media...."

Actually, the word "courage" is more aptly applied to the things you can choose not to do. It would be amazingly courageous to step up and take cancer if that was an option and you could somehow help somebody else that way, but that's not how it works. We speak conventionally of the "courageous battle with cancer," but that's a figure of speech. It serves a purpose, but it's trite to the point where The Onion made fun of it back in 1999: "Loved Ones Recall Local Man's Cowardly Battle With Cancer."

The New York Times explains Scott Walker's plan for the University of Wisconsin System.

I was complaining last night about Walker's lack of communication about the plan that his opponents are (of course) ferociously criticizing. Walker had written in his book ("Unintimidated") that he'd learned the lesson that he needs to help people understand what he's doing and not allow his critics to dominate the public discourse, but I'm not seeing the evidence that he's learned the lesson he claimed to have learned. I thought my post would cause readers to put up links to articles on the subject or to email me some material, but it hasn't. Not yet, anyway.

So I was pleased to see that the NYT had a new article, "Unions Subdued, Scott Walker Turns to Tenure at Wisconsin Colleges." I don't expect the NYT to be friendly to Walker, but I think there's some commitment to accuracy in the part of the article that presents the facts about what Walker is doing and how it compares to the way other universities handle similar matters. I'll boldface some things that I think are significant for anyone who wants to rationally puzzle through the problem:

"4 million current and former federal employees, from nearly every government agency, might have had their personal information stolen by Chinese hackers..."

"... U.S. investigators said."

On the up side, at least they noticed.

"An assessment continues, and it is possible millions more government employees may be affected."

They noticed the part they noticed.

"Twitter should not be mandatory. Twitter shouldn’t be a part of your grade."

"[The professor’s] ridiculous obsession with Twitter and bringing it into the classroom is unacceptable — it does not enhance learning, it is just her pushing her obsession on the rest of us."

June 4, 2015

At the Hairing-Up Café...


... there's plenty of new growth.

"My mistake was, in my eagerness to get busy fixing the problems of our state, I didn’t spend enough time laying out what they were to the people of the state."

"We did not do enough to help people understand why we had chosen this path, how collective bargaining was hurting schools and local governments, and why reforming it was the only way to get our fiscal house in order," wrote Scott Walker in his book "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge."
Another important lesson is that when you screw up, own up to it.... At the same time, never apologize for doing the right thing. Some of my advisers wanted me to apologize to the state for the unrest over Act 10. That would have been a terrible mistake. Reforming collective bargaining was the right thing to do. Moreover, we never responded in kind to the provocations of the protesters, or did anything to bring dishonor to our state. Apologizing would have done nothing to win over those who were angry with me. And it would have dispirited those who stood with me— folks who supported me precisely because we stood on principle. While I did not apologize, I did acknowledge a critical error I made, which was not properly preparing the people of Wisconsin for our reforms. I was so eager to fix the problems we faced, I did not do enough to explain to people what they were or why our solutions were the right course. I’ve learned from that experience and applied those lessons when announcing subsequent reforms.
These passages came to mind today as I was trying to think about Walker's plan for the University of Wisconsin System. He's coming in for a lot of criticism, from people who are trying hard to stir up outrage and fear that the Republicans are out to wreck the University of Wisconsin. So where is the evidence that Walker has learned the lesson he wrote that he'd learned? Is he helping people understand why he has chosen this path? Is he properly preparing the people of Wisconsin for his reforms? I haven't seen it, and I constantly scan the news, especially the news about Wisconsin and the university where I have worked for so many years.

"Wisconsin Abortion Ban Would Allow Father To Sue For Emotional Distress."

Huffpo headline.
Wisconsin Assembly Bill 237 would ban abortions after 20 weeks "postfertilization," which doctors would measure as 22 weeks of pregnancy since pregnancies are usually measured from the woman's last menstrual period. If the bill becomes law, doctors who perform an abortion after this time could be charged with a felony and fined up to $10,000, or face up to three and a half years in prison.

In addition to those penalties, the bill would allow the father to sue the doctor for damages, "including damages for personal injury and emotional and psychological distress," if the doctor performs or attempts to perform an abortion after the 20-week limit. The man does not need to be married to the woman or even in a relationship with her to sue her doctor, as long as the pregnancy is not a result of sexual assault or incest. The bill also says the woman can sue.

"I don't know why the media have been ignoring this candidate who so clearly..."

"... has his finger on the pulse of the issues facing the American people."

When beheading gets boring...

... is that cause for despair... or hope?

The kids seem to be doing the "Not Impressed" pose.

"Daybreaker— a no-alcohol, yes-coffee morning dance party—debuts in Washington, D.C...."

"More than 200 Type A’s arrived for the 6 a.m. dance party... 'Everyone’s sober,' marveled Rob Jackson, 23, who works for the Corporate Executive Board, 'but they’re just doing their thing.'``
Since its 2013 founding in New York, the event has eschewed alcohol and drugs.... The Daybreaker parties, which are planned ahead to remain consistent from city to city, don’t leave much to chance. Yoga is a staple, as is the green juice. But the vibe is often determined, explains co-founder Radha Agrawal, by “the nuance of the city.” San Franciscans like to come in costume. The Los Angeles edition attracts professional dancers, juice cleansers and yoginis. New York is more professional. And if D.C. is, well, D.C., Jackson and others argued that the inaugural Daybreaker attracted the city’s more outgoing denizens....

“I’ve always been inspired by solving cultural and community problems,” says Agrawal, a sprite with a Skrillex haircut and vertigo-inducing platform shoes. Her other projects include Thinx (tagline: “Period panties for modern women”) and Super Sprowtz (a “children’s entertainment movement”). Daybreaker (“a tribal dance party experience”), she says, “was an audacious idea that could fall on its face, or it could maybe be the next yoga, the next spin class.”
Oh! It's the Thinx period panties lady again. We were just talking about her 3 days ago. Small world, no? No. Just the way PR recirculates.

If you're wondering what a Skrillex haircut is, here's an article from a year ago in New York Magazine titled "Is There a Not-Ugly Way to Grow Out a Skrillex Cut?" (Last sentence: "Step 1: Don't have done that thing that you did.")

"Blogs are buzzing with doom, proclaiming the end of much-coveted tenure and shared governance as Wisconsin knows it."

Says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, linking to one blog — not mine, of course, because I haven't even peeped, and I'm surely not buzzing, even about why I choose not to buzz.

"Julia actually said, ‘I know — don’t you just wanna kill her?'"

Julia = Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Her = the "Susan" character on "Seinfeld" (George's love interest, who died from licking the glue on the wedding invitation envelopes).
“The actress is this wonderful girl, Ms. [Heidi] Swedberg,” [Jason] Alexander said. “… I love her. She’s a terrific girl. I love her. I couldn’t figure out how to play off of her.... Her instincts for doing a scene — where the comedy was — and mine were always misfiring.”

Alexander said he voiced his concerns to his castmates, who said he was imagining things — until they had to play scenes with Swedberg themselves.

“Finally, they do an episode where Elaine and Jerry have a lot of material with her,” Alexander said. After the shoot, according to Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Seinfeld himself reported: “It’s f—king impossible.” Julia actually said, ‘I know — don’t you just wanna kill her?'"
So... they killed her. 

"If they let me serve as myself, I will give 30-plus years."

"I will sign up for the rest of my life. I love the military. I love my peers. I love the whole structure of the military."

Said a 22-year-old Navy officer quoted in a NYT editorial titled "Let Transgender Troops Serve Openly."

Everybody's running for President.

This will have to do. I can't post every time anybody announces they're running.

Rick Santorum set a good example for conservatives.

In his reaction to the Bruce-to-Caitlin Jenner matter:
"If he says he’s a woman, then he’s a woman. My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody. Not to criticize people for who they are. I can criticize, and I do, for what people do, for their behavior. But as far as for who they are, you have to respect everybody, and these are obviously complex issues for businesses, for society, and I think we have to look at it in a way that is compassionate and respectful of everybody."
Previously blogged on May 2d, here.

June 3, 2015

"All those crazy labels — bi, gay, lesbian, straight, pansexual, asexual, etc. — are there to help us communicate who we are and what we want."

"Once upon a time, NNFS, you wanted heterosexual sex, you had heterosexual sex, and you identified as heterosexual. That label was correct for you then. If the asexual label is a better fit for you now, if it more accurately communicates who you are (now) and what you want (now), you have none other than David Jay’s permission to use it."

That's sex-advice columnist Dan Savage answering a question from a lady who's trying to figure out if she's asexual. David Jay is the founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.

Jay's comment was: "If you’re not drawn to be sexual with anyone, then you have a lot in common with a lot of people in the asexual community. That being said, there’s no such thing as a ‘true’ asexual. If the word seems useful, use it. At the end of the day, what matters is how well we understand ourselves, not how well we match some Platonic ideal of our sexual orientation, and words like ‘asexual’ are just tools to help us understand ourselves."

I've watched the trailer for the new Caitlin Jenner TV show, and I have 3 questions.

(Auto-playing video appears below, after the "more.")

1. "You start learning kinda all of the pressure women are under all the time about their appearance." That's your voice-over as you apply heavy makeup. Aren't you putting pressure on women to wear makeup? Whatever happened to the natural look? Well, one thing that happened is that the Kardashian family has been participating in pushing the extremely heavily made-up standard of feminine beauty. Why, if you purport to empathize with what women feel pressured to do are you becoming part of the pressure? How about some critique of excessive makeup? How about relieving the pressure?!

2. On finally getting a makeup professional — you say with a smile — "What a difference!" So because you have the time and money, you are able to get the heavy makeup look, and you are smirking at the viewer — presumably, a woman who is under all of that pressure, and really, by your lights, will probably never get it right. Are you pleased to be about to beat women at their game — a game you participate in defining — or do you actually empathize with women?

3. In the second half of the clip, you're talking and getting filmed while driving. You recently killed a woman by driving inattentively. Shouldn't you not film while driving?!

"A Georgia man walked into Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport with his wife, his daughter and, around his neck, a fully loaded AR-15 rifle — and he had the law on his side."

"Jim Cooley is legally allowed to have his rifle in the terminal of one of the world’s busiest airports...."
"People think that if you're simply carrying your firearm, regardless of how you're carrying it, you're a bad person," he told the News Wednesday morning. "But if you're not carrying it in a menacing or threatening manner, it should be no cause for concern for anybody."

"Three Big Questions About the N.S.A.’s Patriot Act Powers."

"How much phone metadata does the government (and soon the phone companies) actually collect?... What other kinds of data does the government gather in bulk?... What are the costs of collecting all this data?..."

"I really did not believe there are structures in the body that we are not aware of."

"I thought the body was mapped. I thought that these discoveries ended somewhere around the middle of the last century. But apparently they have not."

Jim Bailey, the great female impersonator — or, as he preferred to be called, character actor — has died at the age of 77.

Here's the NYT obituary.
A discovery of sorts of Ed Sullivan, who gave him national television exposure and featured him numerous times on his variety show in the 1970s — not so surprising in the age of Caitlyn Jenner, but a risqué move at the time — he went on to appear as Streisand, Garland, Peggy Lee or Phyllis Diller (or, on occasion, himself) on numerous variety and talk shows, including “The Dean Martin Show,” “The Carol Burnett Show, ” “The Mike Douglas Show,” “The Tonight Show” and “The Merv Griffin Show.”...

“From the first minute on stage when I am Barbra Streisand, I look like her, talk like her, I have her mannerisms and sing like her,” he said in an interview on his website, jimbaileyweb.com. “I am Barbra, not an imitation, lip-syncing or a witty impression. When I made my Las Vegas debut in 1970, I opened doors for all the guys who came to town in dresses. The mental and physical process I go through begins the day I am doing the show, as soon as I get up in the morning. I make sure it is a light day. I don’t do lunch and I don’t run around. In the back of my mind, I’m subliminally thinking of Judy or Barbra. It’s a three-hour process to get into the lady I’m doing that night ... the body makeup ... and then I am psyching myself into the character."
Here's Bailey's YouTube page, with lots of performances. Here he is performing — as Judy Garland — for Princess Diana and Prince Charles. I'll embed this one, which has him as Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Phyllis Diller, Peggy Lee, and Marilyn Monroe:

"My stations win by taking females out. Sometimes that’s enough to go from the number three station to the number one station in a market."

Said country music consultant Keith Hill, who has advised stations to play fewer songs by female artists. Criticized for discriminating against women, Hill wields metaphor and irony:

Metaphor: "They’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females."

Irony: "In a deep irony, it’s the demand of female listeners who aren’t thinking about it. They’re just responding to that flow of song after song, and if that mix has more females in it, they turn off quicker."

ADDED: Country songs are meant to stir you on an emotional level. I prefer a male voice. It's a sexual orientation! If that's sex discrimination, it's not the bad kind of discrimination.

Parents who sent their kids to a tiny private school called Gaia Democratic School are aghast...

... to find out that the sex education class took a field trip to the Smitten Kitten (a place that calls itself "a progressive sex toy store for everyone").
 “It’s just a major breach of trust,” said Lynn Floyd, whose 11- and 13-year-old daughters were part of the outing to the Smitten Kitten. “You just can’t erase those images.”...

While at Smitten Kitten, students sat in the front in a library section of the store, [the school's director Starri Hedges said]. Everything deemed pornographic was off limits to the students, though sex toys and other products were visible, Hedges said....
Are you sympathetic with the parents here? First, they chose to send their kids to Gaia Democratic School. From the school's "Our Philosophy" page:
Gaia is a private school that provides holistic educational services to students K-12 with emphasis on democratic process, individualized instruction, academic freedom, self-motivation, cooperative learning, youth empowerment, and environmental stewardship. We are part of an education movement that has a long, fascinating history and a vibrant, viable future.
That page includes a quote from Alan Watts: "You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean."

ADDED: "City officials sent a license inspector and a zoning inspector in plainclothes to Smitten Kitten on Tuesday...."
Inspectors found that the store did not isolate sexually explicit materials in a separate section of the shop, as required by city code, said Grant Wilson, who oversees business licensing for the city. The store also had sexually explicit materials within view of minors, which is also a violation....

“If you are going to be out in the neighborhoods out of downtown, you can have sexually explicit material, but only [in] 15 percent of your retail floor area,” Wilson said.

Smitten Kitten opened in 2003 and is committed to promoting “an inclusive, shame-free environment where it’s OK to talk about all kinds of consensual sex.”

"A Native American student who sued his California school district because it refused to let him wear an eagle feather to his high school graduation will be able to wear the sacred item after all."

"Attorneys for Christian Titman and officials with Clovis Unified School District reached an agreement Tuesday night allowing him to wear the feather... Earlier Tuesday, a judge suggested the two parties try to reach a resolution."

Good move by the judge, Gregory Frizzell, chief judge of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma.

CORRECTION: Sorry, but Frizzell isn't the judge who suggested settlement. Frizzle mentioned in the article, as a judge who, last month, said there's no federal constitutional right to an exemption for a Native American who wanted to wear an eagle feather on her graduation cap. The new case is in state court, based on the California constitution.

"When John Oliver planted a giant bag of marijuana in my hand Sunday night and broadcast it to millions of HBO viewers, I immediately thought of Chekhov."

"In one of the Russian master’s shortest short stories, a lowly civil servant is so ecstatic to find an article about himself in the newspaper that he cannot stop bragging to family and friends — even though the story relays how he was run over by a horse while crossing the street in a drunken stupor. This is really all you need to know about fame and media in 2015. It’s also precisely how I felt when several eagle-eyed friends messaged me on Facebook that my 1992 Stuyvesant High School prom picture had somehow ended up in an Oliver segment about — what else? — lethal injections in Nebraska.... There I was, a dorky, baby-faced 17-year-old kid with braces and an ill-fitting, ill-chosen white dinner jacket, with one arm draped awkwardly around my beautiful date and the other, thanks to HBO and the magic of Photoshop, toting a whole lot of weed. It was embarrassing. Horrifying. And hilarious. So naturally I shared it with everyone I know. But there was one thing that didn’t make sense. My date, Toby Bochan, who remains one of my closest friends, put it simply on Facebook: 'How did they get this photo. How?'..."

From Jeremy Olshan's "How my 1992 prom picture ended up on HBO’s John Oliver show."

Although I haven't quite hit the big time, I do know what it's like to become a stock photo.

George W. Bush is much more popular than Barack Obama.

According to a new CNN poll: 52% disapprove of Obama and 45% approve.
[I]t's dropped since April, going from a near-even 48% approve to 47% disapprove split... [T]he rising disapproval ratings come across party lines, from both men and women, from whites and non-whites.
As for George W. Bush:
For the first time in a decade, more Americans say they like him than dislike him.... 52% of adults had a favorable impression of George W. Bush, 43% unfavorable.
So Obama is 7 points into the negative and Bush is 9 points into the positive.

June 2, 2015



In a garden, near where we live.

Alabama legislature is halfway through the process of ending the state's participation in licensing marriage.

With the U.S. Supreme Court about to bar the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage (in all probability), Alabama is stepping up to the option of ending the state's role in licensing marriage. The bill has passed the senate and is under consideration in the house. Couples will make their own contracts and file them in the courthouse.

Also in Alabama, the chief justice of the state supreme court, Roy Moore, is saying that if the U.S. Supreme Court requires marriage to include same-sex couples, it's "an attempt to destroy the institution of marriage and I think it will cause, literally cause the destruction of our country or lead to the destruction of our country over the long run." He adds: "And I think there are people who would like to see this country destroyed.... I’m not saying that everyone who’s homosexual wants to see the country destroyed. I’m not saying that. I’m saying there’s a push for it."

ADDED: Posting that and rereading it, I observe that I've presented that completely neutrally, and yet it seems to me to express my disapproval of what the Alabama legislature is doing and and Justice Roy Moore is saying. I'm just adding this postscript to observe that the legislative action and the judicial statement, standing alone, work as their own criticism. Nothing needs to be said. Oh, Alabama!

"You know, I think I am the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office."

Said Barack Obama, according to David Axelrod. Context: "For people to say that I am anti-Israel, or, even worse, anti-Semitic, it hurts."

ADDED: New York Magazine got there first, with this cover from September 18, 2011:

The story, by John Heilemann, was "The Tsuris/Barack Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it right now. Why is that so difficult for Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies to understand?" From the article:
In the last days of the 2008 campaign, the former federal judge, White House counsel, and Obama mentor Abner Mikva quipped, “When this all is over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president.” And while that prediction has so far proved to be wildly over-optimistic, there is more truth in it than meets the eye....

The irony is that Obama—along with countless Israelis, members of the Jewish diaspora, and friends of Israel around the world—seems to grasp these realities and this choice more readily than Netanyahu does. “The first Jewish president?” Maybe not. But certainly a president every bit as pro-Israel as the country’s own prime minister—and, if you look from the proper angle, maybe even more so.

"In the beginning of it all, Bill Clinton was feeling unfulfilled."

"In the months after he left the White House in 2001, he was living at his family’s new home in Chappaqua, N.Y. His wife was in the Senate. His daughter was away, first at Stanford, then at Oxford. The former president stewed about leftover legal bills and bad press over a last-minute pardon scandal. To pass the time, he turned to TiVo. Director Steven Spielberg had given Clinton an early version of the digital TV recorder. He holed up for hours watching movies and the TV shows he had missed while he was president, several friends recalled. 'You go from running the country,' one foundation insider said, 'to doing nothing.'"

From "The inside story of how the Clintons built a $2 billion global empire" in The Washington Post.

"The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology..."

"... all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned. The planes' surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge's approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations...."

"We define transability as the desire or the need for a person identified as able-bodied by other people to transform his or her body to obtain a physical impairment."

"The person could want to become deaf, blind, amputee, paraplegic. It’s a really, really strong desire."
Many people, like One Hand Jason, arrange “accidents” to help achieve the goal. One dropped an incredibly heavy concrete block on his legs — an attempt to injure himself so bad an amputation would be necessary. But doctors saved the leg. He limps, but it’s not the disability he wanted.

The transabled are very secretive and often keep their desires to themselves, Baldwin says. One 78-year-old man told Baldwin he’d lived with the secret for 60 years and never told his wife.

Some of his study participants do draw parallels to the experience many transgender people express of not feeling like they’re in the right body....

"Does this look like boobs or open-heart surgery?"

Males experiment with contouring:

See females experience contouring here. It's a lot less funny, but it's mostly females who are relying on this 2-dimensional trickery in real life. As the makeup artist says in the end: It's really just something you should do for a photo-shoot.

At the Black Street Café...


... finally, serenity. Yesterday:

"It's not often that the Dalai Lama calls out a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate."

"But that's what happened last week when he was asked about Aung San Suu Kyi, who has declined to speak out on the worsening plight of Rohingya minority in her homeland of Myanmar."

"Divers... used hammers to knock on the body of the ship, which was almost completely submerged, and heard responses from inside..."

"... a state-run local newspaper reported. Welders used blowtorches in an attempt to cut the hull open...."

The National Enquirer reports that Barbra Streisand has a plot to destroy Hillary Clinton.

"She believes that once she reveals the details of her relationship with Bill, Hillary will be devastated – and by making it an 'October surprise,' Barbra will ensure maximum attention."

Why, exactly, would another Bill Clinton affair have a big effect, even if it is Barbra Streisand? Seems more like Streisand is seeking attention for her book.

Or... well, Streisand is capable of doing some serious damage when she sets her mind to it. Look:

Japanese hotel offers "crying rooms" for women.

"[T]hese special rooms at the Mitsui Garden Hotel Yotsuya in Tokyo are stocked with tissues, 'warm eye masks' and about a dozen sentimental movies, six of which are available in English and include Forrest Gump, The Intouchables, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Notebook, One Day and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape."

"Some liberal writer at the Huffington Post was excited to find out that I’ve been talking to Wisconsinites about how enthusiastically the entertainment media spread a 'business is bad' message."

Writes Senator Ron Johnson.
[The Huffington Post writer, Ryan Grim] seems to get hung up on the way I mentioned “The Lego Movie,” a children’s movie “in which the bad guy is a heartless businessman intent on destroying the world for profit. ‘That's done for a reason,’ Johnson said. ‘They're starting that propaganda, and it's insidious.’”...

[Grim] can’t seem to figure out why I or anyone else would say this about “The Lego Movie,” and he insinuates some kind of conspiracy. Actually, it’s pretty simple: I read a great piece in the Wall Street Journal in which an entrepreneur pointed out that the plot revolved around “the evil exploits of its villain, President Business.”..

The strange thing isn’t that a kids’ movie was anti-business, it is that someone claiming to be a journalist never encountered the idea before.
I got to that via a Capital Times ("Your progressive voice") article titled "Russ Feingold vs. Ron Johnson, Round One: Everything is not awesome."
"Russ Feingold is traveling to all 72 of Wisconsin counties so he can listen to and act on the concerns of working families from all corners of the state," said campaign manager Tom Russell in an email. "That’s what Wisconsin families expect from their senator. If Ron Johnson and his rich special interest buddies want to waste their millions complaining about 'The Lego Movie' and buying weird, angry billboards, they are welcome to keep doing it."

The Lego jab is a reference to comments Johnson made last week to WisPolitics.com after addressing the Milwaukee Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
The supposedly weird billboard — put up in Milwaukee by the National Republican Senatorial Committee — says "Welcome back to Wisconsin, Russ/It's been a while" and shows Feingold with a map of California and some palm trees.

"How Caitlyn Jenner won Bruce Jenner’s Olympic medals?"

"Did Bruce Jenner or Caitlyn Jenner win those Olympic gold medals and appear on those TV shows? And if Caitlyn Jenner did, must history be rewritten? Is every source that refers to 'Bruce Jenner, record-breaking athlete' — or 'Bruce Jenner, guest star on "Silver Spoons"' — now in need of a correction?" Asks WaPo.
Wikipedia thought so. By Tuesday evening, the ubiquitous crowdsourced encyclopedia was redirecting its “Bruce Jenner” page to “Caitlyn Jenner” and using the pronoun “she.”

Example: “At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, she won the gold medal in the decathlon, setting a world record of 8,616 points, beating her own world record set at the Olympic Trials,” the Caitlyn Jenner Wikipedia page read at 11:24 p.m. EST on June 1. This sentence was a bit jarring: “Jenner was also the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1976.” Even the Wikipedia page for “Can’t Stop the Music,” a poorly received — and pretty darn obscure — film featuring the Village People that Jenner appeared in in 1980, lists “Caitlyn Jenner” as a star.
All I want to say is that I went right to YouTube and checked "Can’t Stop the Music" and I'm just pleased to get another opportunity to use my "men in shorts" tag:

"I told ya I had a surprise for ya." That's Bruce Jenner's line. I like the actress's line as a statement from Traditional America: "Wait a minute. I am not taking one more step until I know where I'm going."

ADDED: People do change their names. I remember having a lot of trouble adjusting to Jim McGuinn becoming Roger McGuinn. The rest of it is about the pronouns, and this is an occasion to reflect upon how odd it is that we make sex/gender so important that it's tightly interwoven in our everyday speech. Some feminists (and others) have tried to get us to switch to gender-neutral pronouns, and we've rejected that. There are consequences. I recommend not getting too twisted up about it. We like our gendered pronouns, and some people want to change their pronoun format. Sex/gender really are unfathomably important to human beings (and other animals). Or do you think you can fathom it and say something definitive? If not, marvel at the mystery and look for something valuable to do with the short life you have. Gender is like religion — extremely meaningful to people in ways that work without necessary alignment to what is true and usually not a good topic for argument, not unless you've built a relationship of trust with your interlocutor.

"Giant kites kill again as Japanese festival turns into tragedy."

"Spectators watched in horror on Sunday as a 1,540-pound kite fell from the sky and crushed four people in the central Japanese city of Higashiomi."
“It felt like a huge spear falling from the sky at high speed,” witness Yuko Kayaki told the Asahi Shimbun.

"What is a 71-year-old man, secretary of state, doing riding a bicycle...?"

"Why is somebody riding a bicycle while in the midst of sensitive negotiations and attempting to secure nuclear weapons for Iran?  Exercise?  BS.  He's doing that for the photo-op, trying to look hip with the young generation that thinks life is all about exercise and fitness and so forth. Photo-op.  That's why [he's] out there riding the bike.  Same thing with the windsurfing.  It's basic to me.  You'd have never seen Dean Rusk with a bicycle out there.  You'd have never seen Dean Acheson out there [or] Dulles on a bike.  You'd have never seen the great Colin Powell out there on a bicycle heading off to a meeting at the UN.  This is embarrassing.... They had to take Lurch to the hospital, and it's so bad now that he's being flown back to Boston 'cause he might need surgery.  You know, I remember what Obama said, that there's a lot of doctors out there who do unnecessary surgery just for the extra quick bucks, like amputations and so forth.... So I just hope Kerry does not get one of those doctors Obama was talking about and ends up with his leg amputated here just for the quick extra buck."

Rush Limbaugh, yesterday.

"Top pro-Elizabeth Warren group says she’s out."

Run Warren Run stops running.
The organization’s recognition that the Massachusetts senator truly won’t run is a significant shift in the Democratic presidential contest, in which Warren has been a shadow candidate even as she has repeatedly insisted she would not pursue the White House. But the prime driver of pro-Warren enthusiasm is acknowledging that its time and resources would be better spent influencing the national discussion in another way entirely, while Sanders builds grassroots momentum and O’Malley ratchets up his campaign by targeting liberals.
Meanwhile, hearts go out to Joe Biden: "In Biden's tragedy, Americans see their own/The vice president’s humanity has intensified an outpouring of public grief over the death of his son."

Hillary leads Rand Paul by only 1 percentage point now... and leads Rubio and Walker by only 3 points.

According to a new CNN poll. PDF.

Just last month — on the CNN poll — she led Paul by 9 percentage points, Rubio by 14 points, and Walker by 22 points!

Hillary's favorability/unfavorability numbers are down to 46/50, from 53/44 in March. I'm looking at numbers going back to September 2006, and in that whole time, she'd never been less favored than unfavored.

Ah, there's a second page of favorability/unfavorability. The fine print. This goes all the way back to 1992. You have to go back to March 2003 to get to negative favorability, 45/46.

Hillary is even in the negatives for the Democrat's favorite question "Cares about people like you": 47/52.

Those Clinton Foundation reports seem to be eroding her "honest and trustworthy" numbers, down to 42% think she is and 57% think she is, down from 50/49 in March.

People tend to think the emails to be released by the State Department will not show wrongdoing — 61% (compared to 35%) who think they will show wrongdoing. CNN doesn't break down the 61%, so there's no way to distinguish those who believe she did no wrong, those who believe she never participated in emails that evinced wrongdoing, and those who think the State Department didn't get the email that would show wrongdoing. It also, of course, doesn't define wrongdoing.

The numbers on Benghazi have worsened in the last year. Only 38% are "satisfied" with the way Clinton handled it. 58% are dissatisfied. A year ago, it was 43% satisfied, 55% dissatisfied. On whether Republicans have "gone too far" with their Benghazi hearings, 41% say they have, compared to 44% a year ago. 51% say the Republicans have handled the hearings "appropriately," up from 48% a year ago. 

Hillary has also lost 9 percentage points in a month in support from Democrats and independents — 60%, down from 69%. (Biden and Sanders are gaining, up to 14% and 10%, respectively.)

There's a question about whether the various candidates "represent the past" or "represent the future." Hillary is at 51% "future," up from 50% in February. Jeb has terrible numbers here — 62% past, 34% future. Paul has good numbers, 53% future, 41% past. Rubio has the best numbers, 58% future, 32% past. Scott Walker was 39% future back in February, and he's soared to 52% for some reason (probably that he's become more well known).

Are people less likely to vote for Jeb because he's George's brother (and elder Bush's son)? 56% say yes. What about Hillary being the wife of Bill? The more likely/less likely numbers cancel each other out (at 39%) and 22% don't care. 

June 1, 2015

"Masturdating involves going to a restaurant alone, sitting at a table alone, and enjoying a meal alone..."

"... all the while knowing that other diners in your vicinity are looking at you, feeling sorry for you, and most likely coming to the conclusion that you're a bit of a loser. The scene can be redrawn for the cinema or, when you're feeling really indulgent, the theatre – but the reactions are always the same."

"We put signage up everywhere.... We hand them a slip of paper when they enter the park, I really don't understand why people think its okay to leave windows open."

At Gauteng Lion Park in South Africa, where a 22-year-old American woman was dragged by a lion through her car window and to her death.
"The lion approached from the left of the vehicle, the passenger side and walked quite close to the car. The witnesses said they saw the guests taking pictures of the lion from a meter away, then the lion lunged at the car and bit the lady through the window."...

It's the third big cat attack at the park in just four months.... There were no plans to destroy the animal....

"She enabled his behavior. It's as simple as that. She looks the other way."

"She might throw a tantrum, but she enabled it to happen again and again and again and again. And then she chooses to go after the women that he hooks up with, to ruin them again and again and again and again. And that's how it works."

Said Kathleen Willey.

Lupine and Labrador.



(Yesterday, in Governor Nelson State Park.)

"This is really easy," said Justice Scalia from the bench before announcing the Court's decision in the Abercrombie & Fitch headscarf case.

The NYT reports.

Everybody's talking about the "Call me Caitlyn" Vanity Fair cover.

Bruce Jenner, photographed by Annie Leibovitz.

"We granted certiorari to resolve a conflict in the lower courts over the appropriate mental state for threat prosecutions under 18 U. S. C. §875(c)."

"Save two, every Circuit to have considered the issue—11 in total—has held that this provision demands proof only of general intent, which here requires no more than that a defendant knew he transmitted a communication, knew the words used in that communication, and understood the ordinary mean­ing of those words in the relevant context. The outliers are the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, which have concluded that proof of an intent to threaten was necessary for con­viction. Adopting the minority position, Elonis urges us to hold that §875(c) and the First Amendment require proof of an intent to threaten. The Government in turn advo­cates a general-intent approach. Rather than resolve the conflict, the Court casts aside the approach used in nine Circuits and leaves nothing in its place. Lower courts are thus left to guess at the appro­priate mental state for §875(c). All they know after to­ day’s decision is that a requirement of general intent will not do. But they can safely infer that a majority of this Court would not adopt an intent-to-threaten requirement, as the opinion carefully leaves open the possibility that recklessness may be enough."

Writes Justice Thomas, the sole dissenter in Elonis v. United States (PDF) one of this morning's new Supreme Court cases.

"Is sexual desire a human right?"

"And are women entitled to a little pink pill to help them feel it?"
Those questions are being raised in a campaign that is pressing the Food and Drug Administration to approve a pill aimed at restoring lost libido in women. The campaign, backed by the drug’s developer and some women’s groups, accuses the F.D.A. of gender bias for approving Viagra and 25 other drugs to help men have sex, but none for women....

The drug, flibanserin, has been rejected twice by the F.D.A. on the grounds that its very modest effectiveness was outweighed by side effects like sleepiness, dizziness and nausea....
I don't see how women are "entitled" to a drug in the general area of Viagra as some kind of gender equity proposition. The standard for approval of all drugs should be the same — some balance of effectiveness and unwanted effects. And obviously, there's a big difference between wanting to have sex and the capacity to physically carry out the act. Why is not wanting to have sex even regarded as a dysfunction? I want to want what I don't want. What the hell kind of problem is that? Or is it that my partner wants me to want what I don't want and I want to satisfy him? Drugging women so we'll be able to do what men want? How did that get turned into a women's rights issue? I guess you could say that it's for women to decide — don't take away our choice! — whether we want to want what he wants when we don't want it.
“Our usual patient is someone who is fearful of losing the relationship they have been in for years,” said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and a consultant to many drug companies. “It’s tragedy after tragedy after tragedy.”

One of his patients, Jodi Cole, 33, of Porter, Okla., said her lack of desire “tends to cloud my thoughts of everything related to my husband.” She said that “replacing the dread I have for intimacy with desire would be life-changing.”
Meanwhile, on college campuses, Cole's frame of mind — needing to have sex out of fear of losing the man — would be enough to brand her husband as a rapist if he proceeded to have sex with her knowing that's how she felt. And yet we're asked to think a drug that causes sleepiness, dizziness and nausea should be approved — in the name of women's rights — so she can blot out her lack of true consent.

This flibanserin is like those rape drugs frat boys are said to put in the unguarded drink. Oh, but if the woman chooses to take the drug? Well, isn't that like choosing to get drunk at the party? The man isn't supposed to exploit the opportunity of a drunken and seemingly willing sexual partner. Why is it okay to have sex with a woman who's taken the flibanserin?

"Can These Panties Disrupt the $15 Billion Feminine Hygiene Market?"

THINX panties have "antimicrobial, leak-resistant fibers in the crotch that promise to absorb as much menstrual blood as up to two tampons or a pad — without the wearer feeling it — and promise to leave the wearer feeling dry."
The business is built on a buy-one-give-one model, by which every pair of THINX sold generates a donation to Uganda based AFRIPads, which trains women in developing countries to make and sell reusable pads, which are sold at affordable prices to local women.

On the environmental front, Agrawal says THINX panties can eliminate the landfill waste generated by traditional feminine products. The National Women’s Health Network reports that each year 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons are dumped into U.S. landfills. Agrawal says that by using only THINX during her period, she has made zero carbon impact for the past year.

Denny Hastert "was a bland, utterly conventional supporter of the status quo; his idea of reform was to squelch..."

"... anyone who disturbed Congress’s usual way of doing business," writes John Fund "How Did Denny Hastert Get Rich Enough to Pay Millions to an Accuser?"
I saw him become passionate only once, when he defended earmarks — the special projects such as Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere” that members dropped at the last minute into conference reports, deliberately leaving no time to debate or amend them....

The [Sunlight Foundation] found that Hastert had used a secret trust to join with others and invest in farm land near the proposed route of a new road called the Prairie Parkway. He then helped secure a $207 million earmark for the road. The land, approximately 138 acres, was bought for about $2.1 million in 2004 and later sold for almost $5 million, or a profit of 140 percent. Local land records and congressional disclosure forms never identified Hastert as the co-owner of any of the land in the trust. Hastert turned a $1.3 million investment (his portion of the land holdings) into a $1.8 million profit in less than two years. Hastert claimed at the time that the land deals had nothing to do with the federal earmark he had secured. “I owned land and I sold it, like millions of people do every day,” he told the Washington Post. Or, as George Washington Plunkitt, the former Tammany Hall leader in New York, once said of someone who made a killing in local land that later became part of a lucrative subway development: “He saw his opportunities and he took ’em.” Plunkitt called such “opportunities” a form of “honest graft.”...
ADDED: But getting that money isn't the crime Hastert is charged with. Nor is conveying that money to a person who accused him of wrongdoing. Lawprof Noah Feldman describes the conduct the government cites in its charges (I've added some boldface):
First, [Hastert] made 15 withdrawals of $50,000 each from his own accounts. The withdrawals were not criminal, but they did trigger a federal law that requires a bank to report any transaction or series of transactions of more than $10,000. In April 2012, according to the indictment, bank officials questioned Hastert about the withdrawals.

Presumably, in those conversations or in conjunction with them, Hastert realized for the first time that he shouldn't be making withdrawals of more than $10,000 if he didn't want to trigger scrutiny. Beginning in July 2012, Hastert switched his withdrawals so that they were less than $10,000 each -- to a total of $952,000. That was a crime under the law that prohibits knowingly structuring transactions to avoid reporting. And it's a crime that seems easy to prove, given Hastert’s change in his withdrawal practices.

Unfortunately for Hastert, when the FBI and IRS questioned him about the structure of the transactions in December 2014, he lied to them, insisting that he “did not feel safe in the banking system.” When asked directly what he did with the money, he said, “Yeah, I kept the cash. ... That's what I'm doing.” The lie to federal officials was a crime, too.
All of that is easy to prove, but we might nevertheless wonder whether the choice to prosecute is really based on the alleged wrong that Hastert spent so much money to hush up. Feldman asks why the government keeping things hushed up too and observes that if the underlying accusation is false and Hastert "was being blackmailed unjustly, then the government's prosecution seems heartless to the point of being abusive." Feldman concludes: "we should know what happened or Hastert shouldn't be charged."

But that assumes that the crimes Hastert seems to have committed should go unprosecuted unless there's something else that that makes us want to convict him of something. I think what is abusive is to have crimes that we don't believe in enforcing that are sitting around only to be used on occasions when we have some other problem with a person!

"A Silicon Valley recycling plant is looking for an unidentified woman who dropped off a rare Apple 1 computer to give her a paycheck of $100,000."

$100,000 is half of the $200,000 that the computer sold for as a collector's item. The recycling place has a policy that it splits all proceeds with the donor (and now they have to find her).

When she dropped it off she said "I want to get rid of this stuff and clean up my garage." Asked "Do you need a tax receipt?," she said, "No, I don't need anything."

"Presuming ISIS is ever defeated, no peace can be sustained if Iraqis aren’t committed to preserving it."

Key line in a NYT editorial.

I think it means: There's no point in defeating ISIS.

May 31, 2015

"The Senate opened a rare Sunday night session in a desperate attempt to extend a national security surveillance program... that was on the verge of expiring at midnight."

"Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, criticizing Mr. McConnell on the Senate floor, said, 'The majority leader had five months' to fix the problem through committee work. 'Everyone saw this coming,' Mr. Reid, the Senate minority leader, said."
The session quickly became contentious when Senator Rand Paul, the other Kentucky Republican, whom Mr. McConnell has endorsed for president, fought for the right to speak. After being rebuked by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, for not understanding the Senate rules, Mr. Paul railed against the surveillance program. “We should be upset, we should be marching in the streets,” he said.

Mr. Paul seemed determined to use his procedural weapon — the words “I object”...

"28 busts for sex offender accused of grinding on subway passenger, but mom says he's just looking for a wife."

Headline in The Daily News.

Chairs in the movies.

Jeb Bush on George Bush's successes: "Well, the successes clearly are protecting the homeland. We were under attack..."

"... he unified the country and he showed dogged determination. And he kept us safe. And you can talk about a lot of stuff, but when you're president of the United States and you're confronted with that kind of event, to respond the way he did is admirable."

That was on "Face the Nation" this morning, after Jeb had said "I have learned from [my brother's] successes and his mistakes," and Bob Schieffer asked: "What do you think you learned from him, successes and mistakes?"

(It was Bob Schieffer's last show today. I'm going to miss that guy! He became my favorite of the Sunday morning hosts (in the years after the death of Tim Russert).)

At the Perfect Shade Café...


... have a seat.

"Also, something of a contentious relationship can develop between bloggers and our readers."

"We’ve invited readers into our lives. But, it’s always been the case that we’re not showing them everything and when that becomes clearer at certain times, they get angry. A lot of readers wanted to know every single detail of my divorce and when I refused to satisfy that desire they got really angry. Just because I’ve made a living telling stories about myself, doesn’t mean I owe you my life... [W]hen I published 'Upward and Ahead,' I got this email from a woman who said, 'This is the hugest betrayal, we’ve invested our time in you when we could have been following other bloggers, you owe it to us to continue,' and then added, 'How dare you take your children away from us!' I just sat there with my mouth open. I’d like to point out that that’s not an isolated instance. I want to say I understand, I mean I got really mad when Breaking Bad ended, I was like, 'Fuck you guys for taking this out of my life,' but at the end of the day of course I realize that Breaking Bad is not mine."

From "Heather ‘Dooce’ Armstrong Talks Life After Mommy-Blogging."

"Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has expanded his early lead in Iowa..."

"...while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush continues to face headwinds and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida shows upside potential in the state that hosts the first 2016 presidential nomination balloting...."
“Scott Walker’s momentum puts him solidly in first place,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of West Des Moines-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “For the time being, he’s doing the right things to make the right first impression.”

"Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in bike crash near Scionzier in France on Sunday, apparently after hitting a curb."

"The secretary is stable and never lost consciousness, his injury is not life-threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery..."

Hitting a curb? How do you hit something stationary? I saw "Cyclist crashes into a parked car" on Reddit yesterday... [GIF after the break.]

ADDED: Bring on the metaphor. I remember when Obama kept talking about Bush driving the car (America) into a ditch: "After they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back.... No! You can't drive. We don't want to have to go back into the ditch. We just got the car out."

I thought the Chicago Sun-Times was engaging in subtle humor on its front page here...

... making it look like Lena Dunham was biting the headline, but — click through — she's holding an "I'm with Hillary" bumper in her teeth. And here's Lena's message of support for Hillary:
Hey, just a head’s up: accusing women of supporting Hillary just because she’s female is misogynistic BS — women are smart enough to make decisions based on a number of factors: policy, track record, campaign strategy. Yes I think it’s time for a female president but I’m not part of a witch’s cabal that senses ovaries and suddenly MUST VOTE. Plus if I was gonna vote for someone just because she was female it would be this chick...
(Photo of Lil' Kim.)
... written in on all my ballots always. So go ahead, argue your political POV but don’t insult a woman’s intelligence by acting as though she votes exclusively along vaginal party lines. As Kim would say “I’m valedictorian y’all in the audience/And I’ve got nine hundred and ninety-nine votes, You got nine hundred and ninety-nine notes/You know bitch I’m worldwide.” New Hillary campaign slogan? TGIF!

Happy Mother's Day.

It's Mother's Day in Algeria, France, Morocco, and Sweden. I learned that at Wikipedia, which illustrates the concept of Mother's Day with this photograph:

I love the photo selection. It's so absurdly timeless, so unlike any Mother's Day photograph an ad agency would produce, yet it's posed and iconic, in the manner of ad photography. She's so happy with just that card, and the card itself is absurdly timeless. And that apron! That symbol of maternity, gone now, isn't it?

ADDED: When did the mothers on TV shows stop wearing aprons? I say it was Laura Petrie who changed the style:

(She wore pants too.) Compare Donna Reed:


"The Donna Reed Show" was on from 1958 to 1966. "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (the one with Laura Petrie/Mary Tyler Moore) was on from 1961 to 1966.