May 23, 2015

"All I know is that I don't trust police no more. No police. None. I can't recover from this. ...This verdict isn't real. This verdict is fake."

Cleveland cop acquitted of manslaughter.

A juxtaposition.

A reader looking at this morning's Bloggingheads clips puts these 2 images together:

"Early results suggest the Republic of Ireland has voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum."

"If the change is approved, the Republic of Ireland would become the first country to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote."

Nice work, Ireland!

"If, in the end, the data do turn out to be fraudulent, does that say anything about social science as a whole?"

"On some level, the case would be a statistical fluke. Despite what news headlines would have you believe, outright fraud is incredibly rare; almost no one commits it, and almost no one experiences it firsthand. As a result, innocence is presumed, and the mindset is one of trust.... There’s another issue at play: the nature of belief. As I’ve written before, we are far quicker to believe things that mesh with our view of how life should be. [Columbia polisci prof Donald] Green is a firm supporter of gay marriage, and that may have made him especially pleased about the study....  But, perhaps ironically, it was enthusiasm about the study that led to its exposure. The events of the past few days were the result not of skepticism but of belief. Red flags were raised because David Broockman and Joshua Kalla liked the study and wanted to build on it...."

From "How a Gay-Marriage Study Went Wrong" by Maria Konnikova in The New Yorker.

"I don't believe in Twitter."

The post title is a quote from me from that clip. This morning — the day after the dialogue — I'm contemplating the line to the tune of the old John Lennon song: "I don't believe in I-ching/I don't believe in Bible/I don't believe in Tarot..." etc., etc. "The dream is over...."

"I mean, the consistent absurdism...."

"And I hope the people appreciate the convincingness of my physical comedy."

"Is David Letterman a nihilist? Or just Midwestern?/Why Rubio wouldn’t have a lock on the Hispanic vote..."

"Will Bill drag Hill down?/Bob: We’ve played right into ISIS’s recruiting narrative/Did Obama bungle Iraq and Syria?Ann and Bob debate the merits of Twitter."

That's the official listing of the topics — not exactly how I would put it — in this diavlog I did with Bob Wright yesterday.

That's the whole hour. I'm about to watch it, and I'll try to find some good, short snippets to entertain the video-averse among you. It's actually one of the topics in there: How people don't really want to watch video of any length!

ADDED: The argument that Rubio isn't the right kind of Hispanic:

When Monica put the move on Hillary.

From the Hillary email, strange delight about how The Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley got weirdly physical in an interview with Hillary:
This will be exciting when it's FOIA'd...
::Monica grabs HRO's knee::...

::Monica again touches HRC's leg::

Monica: They think I'm so funny (looking at Philippe and me.) HILL, can I ride on your lap to the White House?...
Tom, she moved that yellow chair as close as it went. Knee to knee. Amazed she didn't try knee in between knee.... This went on like that for 51 minutes - unacceptable in any culture. I don't even think you see that behavior among any type of mammal. The touching the leg and repeatedly calling her 'Hillary' was just gravy.
(If you're thinking I want to see a picture of Monica Langley: here.)

"What we see from the religious right is constantly is this projection, this shifting of responsibility..."

"You know... gay couples who want to marry present a threat to the institution of marriage. It's not straight couples committing adultery or telling each other lies about adultery... or divorcing that are a threat to the institution of marriage. It's same-sex couples who wish to marry that are the threat. And it absolves straight couples... of responsibility for what they're doing to marriage. In the say way, we see most abuse — most sexual molestation and abuse — happens within families...."

"The body is first encapsulated into a fetal position in order to fit inside of the burial pod."

"The pod looks like an earthy piece of art, but really it’s a biodegradable 'casket.' Once the burial pod is buried deep underground a tree seed or a young tree is placed directly above, and from one source of life sparks another."

"I have never loved being a part of something as much as I loved being a student-athlete at the greatest university in the world."

"I am proud to say I am a Badger for life."

May 22, 2015

Legalizing "blaze pink" to encourage women to try hunting.

A bill in the Wisconsin state legislature.
... a University of Wisconsin-Madison textile expert performed experiments for the legislators and determined that blaze pink is just as visible as blaze orange in the wild.
Which party? Is that your question? From the linked article, it looks bipartisan. 

"It's awfully unusual to see how dependent Democrats are in relying on former losing candidates as their standard-bearers in 2016."

"Wisconsin's Russ Feingold, Pennsylvania's Joe Sestak, Indiana's Baron Hill, and Ohio's Ted Strickland all ran underwhelming campaigns in losing office in 2010—and are looking to return to politics six years later. Party officials are courting former Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to make a comeback bid, despite mediocre favorability ratings and the fact that she lost a race just months ago that most had expected her to win. All told, more than half of the Democrats' Senate challengers in 2016 are comeback candidates.... [T]he reliance on former failures is a direct result of the party having no one else to turn to.... Without Feingold in Wisconsin, the party's only logical option would be Rep. Ron Kind, who has regularly passed up opportunities for a promotion. Former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett already lost to Gov. Scott Walker twice, and businesswoman Mary Burke disappointed as a first-time gubernatorial candidate last year."

From "Democrats' Vanishing Future/Hillary Clinton is not the only Democratic comeback candidate on the 2016 ticket. Senate Democrats are betting on the past to rebuild their party for the future."

At the Akita Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(The photo is by Meade. See the whole sequence here, at The Puparazzo.)

"The fact is that by the end of Bush’s tenure the war had been won. You can argue that the price of that victory was too high. Fine."

"We can debate that until the end of time. But what is not debatable is that it was a victory. Bush bequeathed to Obama a success. By whose measure? By Obama’s. As he told the troops at Fort Bragg on Dec. 14, 2011, 'We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.' This was, said the president, a 'moment of success.' Which Obama proceeded to fully squander. With the 2012 election approaching, he chose to liquidate our military presence in Iraq. We didn’t just withdraw our forces. We abandoned, destroyed or turned over our equipment, stores, installations and bases. We surrendered our most valuable strategic assets, such as control of Iraqi airspace, soon to become the indispensable conduit for Iran to supply and sustain the Assad regime in Syria and cement its influence all the way to the Mediterranean. And, most relevant to the fall of Ramadi, we abandoned the vast intelligence network we had so painstakingly constructed in Anbar province, without which our current patchwork operations there are largely blind and correspondingly feeble. The current collapse was not predetermined in 2003 but in 2011. Isn’t that what should be asked of Hillary Clinton? We know you think the invasion of 2003 was a mistake. But what about the abandonment of 2011? Was that not a mistake?"

Writes Charles Krauthammer.

"There is no such thing as safety. That is asking too much of life."

"You can’t expect those around you to constantly accommodate your need for safety. That is asking too much of people."

Asserts Peggy Noonan, in her essay titled "The Trigger-Happy Generation/If reading great literature traumatizes you, wait until you get a taste of adult life," which is about telling these kids today to toughen up.

Why, when I was a child, oldies lectured the youngsters about how many miles they had to walk to school in the snow after milking cows in the dark. These old people today! They lecture the kids about how they read Shakespeare without flinching. They've gone soft, I tell you.

"By the way, is anyone asking about the family makeup of the bikers in Waco?"

"No? Exactly."

"But, somewhere around the turn of the century, I lost interest. The show became less and less surreal."

"Real celebrities started showing up, and I winced as Dave would suck up to them. Suddenly, everyone had a perfectly polished, self-deprecating anecdote — invariably meant to prove the utter fiction that Celebrities Are Just Like Us — that sounded suspiciously crafted by a team of writers. Suddenly, each episode had as many as three celebrities, with Letterman being unctuous and insufferable and fake-laughing his way through every minute. At times Dave would turn depressingly earnest, particularly when he thought he had a Deep Political Point to make.... His comedy started to sound like everybody else’s, with the same potshots at the same easy targets. His act sounded less like dada, more like Dad. Letterman was the barking dog who caught the car, was invited in, and curled up delightedly on the seat...."

From "Letterman’s departure is 15 years too late," by Kyle Smith.

I feel much the same way, and yet, we all get old. Dave was getting old and we were getting old. We could stick with him and grow old with him, get comfy on the car seat, or we could stop watching. Me, I stopped watching. But that doesn't mean Dave should have stopped at the point where he was no longer the Dave that meant so much to me. It was okay for him to make a long soft landing into old age, to become Dad. Nothing really that wrong with Dad. The culture needs its Dad too. I mean, I might not want to watch Dad nod at celebrities for an hour every night. But it's okay that he's there.

Did Letterman dilute his legacy by sticking around so long? It's not exactly dada and surreal to analyze things in those terms.

"Residents — supporters and opponents of President Bashar al-Assad — described officers fleeing, leaving civilians and lowly conscript soldiers to fend for themselves."

"One business owner said he watched pro-government militiamen run helter-skelter into orchards, not sure where to retreat. 'Treason,' he called it. But most of all, they said, they had lost any sense that the government could provide safety even to its loyalists. On Thursday, after the militants had taken over the city and begun executing people they deemed close to the government, many residents cowered in their houses and basements, terrified of militants in the streets and of government shelling and airstrikes from the sky. Some found it ominous that the state news media had incorrectly declared that most civilians had been evacuated, perhaps an excuse to increase airstrikes."

From "Frantic Message as Palmyra, Syria, Fell: 'We're Finished'" (NYT).

Elsewhere in the NYT (on the same day, May 21st): "Defending ISIS Policy, Obama Acknowledges Flaws in Effort So Far."
"There’s no doubt that in the Sunni areas, we’re going to have to ramp up not just training but also commitment, and we better get Sunni tribes more activated than they currently have been," Mr. Obama said. "So it is a source of concern."

"She seems less a presidential candidate than a historical figure, magically animated from a wax museum to claim what is rightfully hers."

"And the press corps, both blessed and cursed with live streaming, tweeting and Snapchatting technologies, is armed with questions devised to win the moment. The result is a carnival atmosphere. It is not clear what Mrs. Clinton gains politically from playing the freak."

Waxwork! Playing the freak! And that's in The New York Times — "Hillary Clinton, Acutely Aware of Pitfalls, Avoids Press on Campaign Trail."