--This guy looked at where Darren Wilson's police car was parked (next to a hydrant) and where Mike Brown's body fell (marked by a memorial) and physically measured the distance. It was 100 feet, not 35 feet. Huge scoop and big deal if he's right.
--This Matt Bai article on Gary Hart's downfall is good reading, even if he's unable to quite bring off the link between invading politician's private lives and substanceless campaigns. As I was getting to the end, I was thinking, "Damn, if Gary Hart becomes president, we never get W." And it turns out that's very much on Hart's mind.
"Well, at the very least, George W. Bush wouldn't have been president," Hart said ruefully. This sounded a little narcissistic, but it was, in fact, a hard premise to refute. Had Hart bested George H. W. Bush in 1988, as he was well on his way to doing, it's difficult to imagine that Bush's aimless eldest son would have somehow ascended from nowhere to become governor of Texas and then president within 12 years' time.
"And we wouldn't have invaded Iraq," Hart went on. "And a lot of people would be alive who are dead." A brief silence surrounded us. Hart sighed loudly, as if literally deflating. "You have to live with that, you know?"
--I'm fond of saying that school administrators are the worst people on earth, but any fair accounting has to consider insurance company executives.
"It seems that the plans are trying to find this wiggle room to design their benefits to prevent people who have high health needs from enrolling," said Wayne Turner, a staff lawyer at the National Health Law Program, which filed the complaint alongside the AIDS Institute of Tampa, Fla.
Turner said he feared a "race to the bottom," in which plans don't want to be seen as the most attractive for sick patients. "Plans do not want that reputation."
--Your tax dollars at work.
Among [Snowden's] most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included the contents of the communications as well as metadata such as who was calling whom.
Last week, 43 veterans of Unit 8200 -- many still serving in the reserves -- accused the organization of startling abuses. In a letter to their commanders, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to the head of the Israeli army, they charged that Israel used information collected against innocent Palestinians for "political persecution." In testimonies and interviews given to the media, they specified that data were gathered on Palestinians' sexual orientations, infidelities, money problems, family medical conditions and other private matters that could be used to coerce Palestinians into becoming collaborators or create divisions in their society.
Not to mention,
It should also trouble Americans that the N.S.A. could head down a similar path in this country. Indeed, there is some indication, from a top-secret 2012 document from Mr. Snowden's leaked files that I saw last year, that it already is. The document, from Gen. Keith B. Alexander, then the director of the N.S.A., notes that the agency had been compiling records of visits to pornographic websites and proposes using that information to damage the reputations of people whom the agency considers "radicalizers" -- not necessarily terrorists, but those attempting, through the use of incendiary speech, to radicalize others.
Teofilo writes: Chelsea Manning speaks out from Ft. Leavenworth on ISIS, a subject on which she has some serious expertise, having been an intelligence analyst in Iraq when it was getting its start. She advocates "a very focused and consistent strategy of containment" and makes a strong case for, essentially, giving ISIS enough rope to hang itself. It sounds pretty convincing to me, and makes me even more pessimistic about the prospects for Obama's more aggressive and much less coherent strategy.
Heebie's take: oh what right do I have to have a take on foreign policy. Manning makes sense, but so does staying thousands of miles away. At the very least, I wish some other country would appoint themselves coalition builder and we would not.
1. There are some sort of ... seeds? sediments? turds? in my coffee, and I'm super repulsed but also want more coffee.
2. I read a blogger whose daughter died about a week before Hawaiian Punch was born. Today she revealed a particular detail about the actual moment of death that I find deeply upsetting, and I'm having trouble shaking it off and getting back into my regular scheduled brain.
3. I need a new TV show. One that Jammies doesn't have his heart set on watching. (Jammies' and my taste tends to intersect most during comedies.) The past two shows that I've watched on my own are Mad Men and Big Love, so I suppose I like fairly domestic dramas. Recommendations?
4. But It's like they know us made me laugh really hard. (Targeting new parents; I'm sorry greater commentariat.)
When do we get results? Do they have math and computers over there? I've never been.
Young women get in trouble for wearing sexy clothes to high school, but young men don't, and that's super sexist.
Maybe I'm trolling, but this always seems like a really weak drum for feminists to beat. High school girls and high school boys are in a super-gendered situation, and girls dressing provacatively seems like a legitimate pain in the ass for a high school teacher to deal with. Yes, grown men should be able to contain their excitement and not adjudicate what women wear to protect their own ravenous libido from getting triggered. But teenage boys are hornballs and maybe we can acknowledge that reining in the ravenous libido is a skill that takes time, and gets easier when the hormones recede a bit? It seems reasonable to define "professional-for-high-school" clothing as being casual but not too revealing, and then to enforce that standard because high schoolers are little shits that will push a boundary just because it exists.
Talking about children's books yesterday, DaveLMA said "Wizard of Earthsea, wonderful as it is, may be less good for a young woman than a young man. You don't encounter positive female role models until later in the series." And he's absolutely right about the books being wonderful (I loved them, and, with reservations, still do), and kind of wildly understated about how sexist they are. (I'm talking about the original trilogy. Le Guin tried to fix them decades later, but the later books are seriously inconsistent with the original books, which really are unfixable in this regard.) They're beautiful books about magic as a way of naming and knowing the world, but women are explicitly not allowed to participate - while they can do some magic, it's not powerful, and it's not right. There's an aphorism from the world of the books: Weak as women's magic, and wicked as women's magic. The second book in the trilogy is from a girl's point of view, who's from a different society where women do have magical power, and it's evil; over the course of that book, our hero rescues the narrator from her position as a powerful conduit and user of magic, and brings her back to his home islands where she can lead a happily powerless life. (The book is much better than that makes it sound; she's a real, developed character, with agency and all that. But that's still a fair summary of the plot as it relates to who's supposed to have magical power.) It is a simple fact about the nature of the world in Earthsea (in the original trilogy) that magic is for men only.
I had a similar set of thoughts when Mary Stewart died last spring. I loved her trilogy of books about Merlin a lot (if you haven't read them, they make an attempt at historical respectability - they're trying to be set in a realistic sixth century Britain. With magic, but sort of only magic for special occasions. Merlin has visions, and pulls off the occasional miracle, but isn't casually turning things into other things.) Same kind of rules as Earthsea, though, although less explicit. Merlin's power is (initially) contingent on his avoiding sex with women, and women's magic is weak, and repeatedly equated with poison. In the last of the three books, there's a semi-positive portrayal of a woman using magic, Nimue, but she still drains Merlin of his power and leaves him for dead - she's excused for it as well-meaning, but listen to the language she uses to describe herself: "Do you remember it, when I hung about you and tormented you to your death, like a spider sucking the life from a honeybee?" Throughout the books, women are sympathetically described as weak and powerless, which explains and excuses why they have to be deceitful.
Both of these sets of books I loved uncomplicatedly as a teenager - I didn't notice anything offputting about the treatment of women at the time. Looking back, though, I find them upsetting, particularly considering the authors. It's not just that they're both women: Le Guin is a serious feminist (possibly not yet when the Earthsea trilogy was written?), and while I don't know anything about Stewart's politics, the rest of her books (sort of gothic/thriller/romances) are, cutting her slack for the decades she was writing in, not uncomfortable to read as a feminist. And yet they both came up with these worlds where weakness and evil were baked into the nature of femininity.
I don't know what to do with this in either case, except that I haven't recommended either trilogy to my kids, and thinking about them makes me angry in a queasy kind of way, mostly at myself for not having noticed anything wrong at all when I read them initially. There's a lot of stuff that's much more aggressively sexist that I read and reread with enjoyment and without taking it personally, but these two sets of books got under my skin.
MacArthur winners announced.
Now here's a good response to "culture of poverty" arguments. I like this paragraph in particular.
As American liberalism has moved steadily rightward since the 1970s, versions of the culture-of-poverty thesis have gained increasingly traction. In Moynihan's time, these sorts of ideas were counterbalanced by a liberalism that genuinely sought the expansion of the American welfare state. Hubert Humphrey, running for president in 1968, promised to hire a teacher for every policeman Richard Nixon wanted to hire, and build a house for every jail George Wallace wanted to build. By the 1990s, this sort of commitment had nearly disappeared from American liberalism, leaving culture of poverty arguments hegemonic. The importance of the culture-of-poverty approach is that it allows for recognition of the accumulated history of racism and inequality, but posits the ongoing effects of these as mediated through black cultural pathologies. It therefore permits American liberals to identify with opposition to racism while pushing them towards policy solutions geared towards the transformation of black people, and not American society.
Remember when I saved that friend of mine's life, that girl? I don't know if you always read the blog then Ogged. She had OD'ed on the paracetamol in...damn, a kind of shitty painkiller anyway, it'll come to me...oh, tramadol. I took that before they kicked me up to the big leagues. I cannot tell you how many times Ogged's trolling sexist bullshit has tempted me to take a phone photo of my hand with the unfogged knuckleduster and just a fan of like 12 silver and pink dimpled flat blister packs of oxy, 20 mikes and 14 a strip. I keep putting it off till the morning and then common sense prevails. Because I don't want it to seem as if I'm not keeping up my end of the bargain, you Mexican layabout! No, I'm taking horrible amounts of pharmaceutically engineered narcotics! They don't work worth a shit because I have such a high tolerance for some totally known reason. I mean, of course they work way better than nothing, so one hopes they will never be taken away, insh'allah.
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Anyway, after I saved her life my mother and brother disagreed. Précis: she called me at night saying she was sick and puking continuously and I lazily suggested she see a doctor but wasn't too alarmed; she came over to my house and got in bed with me (during the day, where I spent all day being sick) and after an hour or so admitted she had taken like...100 tramadol? Then I figured it was 3 days later and she was still alive, how bad could things be, although puking up bile is never good, and then I thought, well, might as well check the trusty old internet. The internet said, you die of paracetamol poisoning later, day 4. Like, right then. I palped her liver, which hurt horribly, and your liver should never feel anything ever. She didn't want to go to the emergency room because her dad wouldn't pay, so I gave her the money and my credit card number and physically put her in a cab and sent her to the hospital, where the admitting doctor said, if you'd come one hour later you'd either be dead or on a waiting list for a liver transplant.) Anyway, my brother said, "awesome, you'll have a sworn vassal!" My mom said, "now you're responsible for her for the rest of your life." I thought right away that my mom was right, even though it would be cooler to have a vassal. But she wouldn't even be a very good vassal. But I love her so much! My sponsor doesn't like me to hang around with her because she really has serious mental problems and is the sort of person who drains emotional energy from you all the time. But she has no other friends, I'm going to abandon her? But what am I, the 'bird with the broken wing fixing society'? But she's my boo!
There's this new guy around, who used to be a junkie and can't believe he's getting his ass kicked by some pussy alcohol now, but I'm there to be like, "dude, that's what's happening to you." He never had a problem with drinking! He started when he was 13 but that was because he was touring with a rock band. His dad had signed a waiver (in enlightened topless Europe.) Parents, I gotta say don't sign that waiver even if your kid is a kick-ass drummer and guitarist. He was kind of pro touring musician for bands that need more instruments/parts than they have and also in another band. He did a lot of drugs with Amy Winehouse who 'talked like a taxi driver' (this he has a humorous voicemail proof of, holy fuck.) He's mad at Pete Doherty who's 100% to blame for her death? I'm like, dude, when you were smoking crack and shooting up with her with her didn't you notice how she was smoking crack an such also? Cuz... OK whatever. I would think his whole band/rocker thing was bullshit normally, but I met his mom who came here to support him, and there's just a billion videos, OK fine. He actually doesn't talk about it when you first meet him either. He has cute tattoos and chainsmokes his puppydog-eye way through life, with a porkpie hat on. Fucking Trent Reznor also told him to go to rehab like four days ago because even though he was a junkie etc. nonetheless alcohol etc. but he has some anti-rehab principle I can't remember right now.
So I find out he's my neighbor! He lives actually in my condo! I found out because my boo here got involved with him and then [Lumpy Space Princess voice: DRAMA]. This was even OK when I thought, he's sober so I don't mind meeting him down at the pool to...listen to his wasted bullshit?! Ah goddamnit. It's my pool! I am a soft touch for this kind of thing anyway. [viz supra.] I can't even with the details--OK shortest is I need to get her bra back but she's not returning his texts. But then I get a call from the two of them would I come down to the pool (well, puppydog is calling to say that boo really needs to talk to me.) And my husband sensibly says, don't go, they just want you to come and act normal with them so they'll feel like they're not fucking up really bad. And I was like, yep, you are so totally 100% right, but I needed to swim before Japanese lessons anyway so call me in 30 minutes and extract me (I knew he'd lose track of time. I have no idea why he ever listens to me. He's almost always right. I am almost always, further, actively wrong.)
Yes, so, they were hella late, so I did just swim and lie in the sun and do my thing, and texted my husband that they hadn't appeared, but he didn't get my texts and had forgotten about me because philosophers have object-permanence problems. And they showed up on their way back from the 7/11. People straight drinking in front of me, no, that is asshole stuff. I said, OK, 15 minutes of your bullshit and then I have to go, which gave them just enough time to lull me into a false sense of security before they asked me FOR A HEROIN CONNECT.
OH FUCK YOU WHAT? Puppydog-eyes junkie said boo said I'd know someone. I was like. fucklwek. I...yeah...kinda...what if that person got clean yesterday you assholes? Also, have you checked the Narnian lawbook lately? At this point I got mad, and naturally boo was like "you're mad at me now aren't you? I knew you'd be mad at me! I'm sorry!" With crying. Somewhat facetiously I told them what part of town to go to and how much it should cost and then, realizing how stupid that had been, I said I was, indeed angry, but I would bail them out when they called, and this was really all on me, because it was my choice to go downstairs and talk to them. And of course, it really was all on me, and I could have just stayed upstairs. If it was just puppydog junkie I would have stayed, but he said she really needed to talk to me. I know I've said here before that I have a warped ethical compass and if you get inside the charmed circle I'd do a lot of bad things for you and that girl, I guess, I don't know. But maybe I like getting asked for help, and not asking for help. Being petitioned for favor and not trying to be someone friend when I'm not sure I'll succeed. Maybe even if my partner is drunk and has bid me into an impossible contract I still prefer to be the one holding all the cards? Everyone leaves her in the end. Everyone she knows, goes away, in the end. Maybe she likes driving them away, too, with her bright dark eyes? Maybe it's interesting to see how long they'll stay after she starts hurting them? I got hurt this weekend.
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Lw writes: here's an image of Phyllis riding Aristotle (I don't like Aristotle at all, the guy who won't shut up or listen let loose with a pen) like a goat from a 1325 tapestry in Freiburg.
Context: Within each of the blue medallions is an embroidered scene. Nine of these depict episodes that are usually interpreted as Minnesklaven or Frauensklaven--anti-feminist stories "which catalog men who are humiliated by women."
Learn more at this impossible URL.
The Reality-Based Community opines on what happens to the British flag if Scotland leaves -- apparently, not necessarily much. The Scottish element in the flag is the diagonal white cross, behind the diagonal red cross for Northern Island. However, if the diagonal red cross weren't there, the rules of heraldry would require a white border on the red cross, which would be almost indistinguishable from the flag as it is now.
So, that was the last real obstacle -- looks as if the Scots are free to go.
Elsewhere I mentioned that Hawaiian Punch's kindergarten has the following rules for coloring:
1. Stay in the lines.
2. Only true colors.
3. No white spaces.
In quick succession, two other parents both said that their kid had been given the same rules for coloring when they were in kindergarten - and not necessarily locally nor recently.
It's kind of hilariously soul-deadening in its rigidity. That sky must be blue, goddamnit. (Also, when Hawaii was explaining what true colors are, she actually used the example that skin must be colored light tan. I said "Or brown!" and she gave me a look like I was pulling her leg. Then I rattled off names of a ton of her not-white friends, and she said "Oh yeah." It's funny that she can be young enough not to really understand the labels 'white' and 'black' and yet old enough to have internalized the default skin color. FUNNY HA HA sigh.)
Witt writes: "LeeCee was with us at the time John was killed. When she realized what was happening, she placed her call with John on speaker. We all listened to John die. He was only 22."
That's a statement from the family of John Crawford III, a black man who was was shot and killed while shopping at a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio. He was talking on the phone to the mother of his children and holding an unwrapped BB gun at the time.
Crawford was killed by police after a white shopper called 911, claiming that Crawford was pointing a gun. The instigator has since revised his story. Walmart and the authorities have thus far refused to release the security camera videotapes in the case. However, Crawford's parents and attorneys have been permitted to see them. Quoting from a Guardian article:
[Crawford's family and attorneys say the video shows that] about 8.20pm, [Crawford] stopped and stood still for about six minutes. "With the rifle pointed down and the cell phone up in his right hand," said his father, he stayed there facing a shelf, apparently preoccupied by the call.
"He didn't move," said his father. "He was stood so still, in fact, we thought the track had actually stopped. I asked the technician 'what's going on?' and he said 'Well, the reel is still running Mr Crawford, look at the time'."
Ritchie [the 911 caller], on the other hand, stated that at this stage, Crawford was "pointing [the BB rifle] at things, like moving things around the shelf with the gun."
On Sept. 22, there will be a pilgrimage from the Walmart where Crawford was killed to the courthouse where a grand jury will be reviewing the case. You can sign a petition calling for a federal investigation.
President Vice writes: Subjects who show a greater reaction in the nucleus accumbens to stimuli representing monetary value -- in short, who are more interested in money -- are more likely to cheat on a self-report task with a variable payout. If you bring them back in the lab to let them try again, they cheat even more, while people who didn't cheat the first time don't generally start.
Heebie's take: Is greed the most destructive of the vices? I think so.
That said, the honest-to-god reason that I wouldn't cheat in a given situation like this is that I find the accompanying physical reaction - pulse quickening, anxiety mounting - much more unpleasant than the payoff. I can't think of a scenario that disables the physical reaction while tempting me with the payoff.
There are many quotable lines in which he's somewhat, but not entirely, unfair in his summary of the issues at stake, but for pure provocation it's hard to top:
I say this as a beneficiary of that older system. I earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in advances for my last two books, to say nothing of the opportunities those books opened up, so the system has worked admirably well for me. However, I am a WASP, an Ivy League graduate, a tenured professor, and a member of the Sancerre-swilling East Coast Media Elite. Of course the existing system works well for me -- it's run by people like me, for people like me...
I'd always aspired to be a traitor to my class (though I'd hoped it would be for something a bit more momentous than retail book pricing), but treason is as treason does, so here goes: , , ,
It also makes me think about another Clay Shirky piece that I find myself coming back to, sometimes to argue with, sometimes because it makes a certain amount of sense --- "A Rant About Women".
That's the kind of behavior I mean. I sat in the office of someone I admired and feared, someone who was the gatekeeper for something I wanted, and I lied to his face. We talked some more and then he said 'Ok, you can take my class.' . . .