September 20, 2017

"Stop the hammering"/"We'll do it live."

"They told me he was out! This can’t be true! We just celebrated his birthday this past Sunday... He is such a smart little boy!”

From the NYT article "At Mexican School Hit by Quake, Heartbreak and Moments of Joy."

"Once we're able to go outside, we're going to find our island destroyed."

Said Puerto Rico's Emergency Management Director Abner Gómez Cortés, quoted in "All Power Out as Hurricane Maria’s Winds, Floods Crush Puerto Rico" (NBC).

Why I'm listening to this song.

The previous post, about trypophobia, has a photograph of a lotus flower — the trypophobe's least-favorite flower — taken by somebody else. But I thought I had taken at least one good trypophobia-triggering photograph of a lotus.

Searching the archive for "lotus" — which only works if I wrote the word too — I found, at best, this...


... from 2012. But I tripped into "Let's not talk about philosophy while we're walking," a December 2006 post that only has "lotus" in it because I'm describing the scene in some unrecognizable café and mention that I'm sitting in a "modified lotus position."
They play this song, and I'm enjoying it. They get to this verse:
So, we went to the cinema, we came home from the cinema
We went through the front door, up the stairs,
Through the bedroom door, onto the bedroom floor
I’ve seen her naked twice, I’ve seen her naked twice!
And I say "I love this song" out loud.
I guess I wasn't alone. Where was I? Who was I with? I have no idea.

"The holes in lotus seed heads have been claimed to cause anxiety in some people."

Are you one of those people?

Photo by Peripitus, "Fruit of sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) at Botanic Garden, Adelaide, South Australia."

I'm reading the Wikipedia article on Trypophobia, "a proposed phobia (intense, irrational fear, or anxiety) of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes or bumps... believed to have been coined by a participant in an online forum in 2005."
Trypophobia... is rarely used in scientific literature... However, on blogs and in internet forums, thousands of people claim to have trypophobia. Psychiatrist Carol Mathews said... most people writing online are likely disgusted by these types of images without meeting criteria for a real phobia.
I just noticed trypophobia because of a CNN article last week, "TV show triggers little-known phobia" (which begins with the note: "There are no triggering images embedded in this story. There is a slideshow at the bottom with a warning slate as the first image. However, to explain to those without trypophobia what the disorder is like, we have had to use a few descriptive phrases of common triggers. Please be cautious while reading"):
It was supposed to be a fun lunch outing in the Big Apple with her mother and grandmother. But when Jennifer Andresen saw an advertisement for this season's "American Horror Story" on the side of a New York taxi, she had to pull her car over, and fast.

"I was having a full-blown panic attack," said Andresen, who lives in Norwalk, Connecticut. "My pulse was racing. I was so nauseous. I thought I would throw up. My mother and grandmother were like, 'What is wrong with you?' I didn't want to ruin my family's day, but I couldn't help myself."
Oh, I guess I'm a jerk if I publish this post with the lotus right there staring at you with a thousand 22 eyes.

The panic-inducing poster seems to have been one of these:

Very nice posters, really. And here's Buzzfeed's trypophobia test, "Only People Without Trypophobia Will Be Able To Finish This Quiz."

From "What’s Next for Progressives in the Age of Trump?”: "10 Steps Progressives in Wisconsin Need to Take"

By Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
1. Stop the Bickering — If I read one more Facebook post on how bad Bernie is or how bad Hillary is and how reprehensible their respective followers are, I’m going to die. It’s over. Move on! I swear, if I’m at one more party with friends where this argument breaks out, I’m going to leave the party – even if it’s at my own house! We’ve got bigger problems on our hands right now – in Wisconsin, and in Washington. As Representative Gwen Moore said at the Cap Times Idea Fest panel I was on, “We need forgiveness.” All around. And then we need to move forward together.... Folks, we’re dying here! We don’t have time for your ego spats. Get your stuff together.

2. The Old Guard Needs to Go....

"Scott Adams describes the spectacular persuasion technique as a charismatic BLM leader speaks to Trump supporters. (Wow)."

"It looks like Obama did spy on Trump, just as he apparently did to me."

Writes Sharyl Attkisson.
The government ... got caught monitoring journalists at Fox News, The Associated Press, and, as I allege in a federal lawsuit, my computers while I worked as an investigative correspondent at CBS News....

Then, as now, instead of getting the bigger story, some in the news media and quasi-news media published false and misleading narratives pushed by government interests. They implied the computer intrusions were the stuff of vivid imagination, conveniently dismissed forensic evidence from three independent examinations that they didn’t review. All seemed happy enough to let news of the government’s alleged unlawful behavior fade away, rather than get to the bottom of it....

Officials involved in the surveillance and unmasking of U.S. citizens have said their actions were legal and not politically motivated. And there are certainly legitimate areas of inquiry to be made by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. But look at the patterns. It seems that government monitoring of journalists, members of Congress and political enemies — under multiple administrations — has become more common than anyone would have imagined two decades ago. So has the unmasking of sensitive and highly protected names by political officials....

Kim Jong-Un calls Donald Trump "Honky Cat."

"In what some security experts fear could be a high-stakes war of Elton John lyrics...."

(Andy Borowitz in The New Yorker.)

"Sex is the new opium of the masses... a temporary heart in a heartless world."

"Unfortunately, something so immanent as sex will not — and cannot — function in the manner in which religion can, has, and does.... Sex does not explain the world. It is not a master narrative. It has little to offer by way of convincing theodicy. But in a world increasingly missing transcendence, longing for sexual expression makes sense. It should not surprised us, however, that those who (unconsciously) demand sex function like religion will come up short. Maybe that is why very liberal women are also twice as likely to report being depressed or currently in psychotherapy than very conservative women."

Writes University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus in "Cheap Sex," quoted in an American Conservative piece by Rod Dreher, "Liberal Women Are Lustier."

Liberal women are lustier? The basis for that headline is:
... sociological data showing that “more politically liberal young-adult women report wanting more sex than they have been having.” Regnerus says the percentage of women who said they would prefer to have more sex is as follows:
  • 16 percent of “very conservative” women
  • 30 percent of “conservative” women
  • 38 percent of moderate women
  • 44 percent of “liberal” women
  • 53 percent of “very liberal” women
I don't see the correspondence between the extent of "lustiness" and whether you're getting as much sex as you want. What if a woman has a partner who provides her with sex whenever she wants it, and she wants it a lot? Is she not lusty? And what about a woman who isn't feeling much or any sexual desire and therefore doesn't have much sex but she feels she should have more sex because she believes it's important or the meaning of life or the way to happiness? Is she getting counted in that sociological data? Because she's not "lusty."

Now, the headline made me click, but I'm really annoyed at the word "lustier." I don't think The American Conservate should be eager to credit liberal women with lustiness, if that's a positive quality, and since "lust" is on the old-time list of "sins" (and sex is being discussed as a substitute for religion), I'm not sure that "lustier" isn't meant as a disparagement. In any case, "lust" — which only appears in the headline — is a bad distraction and beneath the dignity of The American Conservative.

What's important, apparently, to Regnerus and Dreher, is sex as an inadequate substituted for religion. Liberalism only comes into play because it has some correspondence to religiosity.

As for "Sex is the new opium of the masses" — it's odd to hear that from someone who favors religion. It seems to say: I've got the best opium!

Swastikas, "Antifa sucks," and "Trump rules" were spray-painted next to the Gates of Heaven Synagogue building at James Madison Park in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports.

We don't know who did it, but what do you think? Based on past incidents, I presume things like this are false flag.

CORRECTION: The post title is updated — with "next to" replacing "on" — because spray painting wasn't on the building itself but on a monument next to it. The monument is a stone with a plaque honoring the Americans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (who fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War).

"I knew there was something about him, but I couldn't put my finger on it."

"He gave me a lot of attention, made me feel like I was important."

Says the woman who — for 10 years — dated a man who has pleaded guilty to murdering 7 persons over a 13-year period and who was caught after the discovery of woman with a chain around her neck in a storage container on his property.

From Inside Edition.

I can believe that a killer successful enough to murder than many people over that stretch of time is excellent at dispelling doubts and making the prospective victim feel that she's important and lucky to be getting his attention, but... 10 years?

"I was saddened to see how bad the ratings were on the Emmys last night - the worst ever. Smartest people of them all are the 'DEPLORABLES.'"

Tweeted our sarcastic President, Donald J. Trump.

Via Variety, where we learn:
Sunday’s awards ceremony averaged 11.4 million viewers, compared to 2016’s 11.3 million, its lowest ever. The telecast also averaged a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49, dropping below last year’s low point of a 2.8.
So it's "worst ever" if you look at the 18-49 number, but not if you count everyone, which is ironic if you think of the over-49ers as containing the highest concentration of deplorables.

"Yet... it is you who have pressured me, who has taught and researched for 41 years in university and is a Nobel Prize recipient, to do that which I will not do..."

"... advantage a single [Disability Resources and Educational Services] student over the 100-plus non-DRES students in my course by providing that student with my lectures electronically."

Writes Michael Schlesinger, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (who is "a Nobel Prize recipient" in the sense that he worked on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore).

As Inside Higher Ed reports, Schlesinger has been put on paid leave for refusing to share his lecture slides with a disabled student, as instructed by the disability accommodation administrators at his school.

He's very antagonistic toward them and their expertise: "Although you have a doctorate, I doubt that you teach. Although you have a doctorate, I doubt that you do research... I think the university needs to rethink having people such as you. Nonetheless, I look forward to spending the remainder of my life in Kona, Hawaii."

I can't help wanting to say that climate scientists expect us to bow to their expertise and take dictation about what must be done as a consequence of their findings, but here's the climate scientist resisting the expertise of people in the disability-accommodation field.

It's kind of ironic. Does he think this one student is scamming to get an advantage over the other students? The idea behind disability accommodations is to put the affected student on the same level as the other students, but he's objecting to giving that student an "advantage." Is he a disability doubter?

"Before the Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn pledged to spend $10 billion and create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, the company made a similar promise in Brazil."

"At a news conference in Brazil, Foxconn officials unveiled plans to invest billions of dollars and build one of the world’s biggest manufacturing hubs in the state of São Paulo. The government had high expectations that the project would yield 100,000 jobs. Six years later, Brazil is still waiting for most of those jobs to materialize.... In China, Foxconn has built vast factories backed by large government subsidies.... But the model does not translate easily to other countries, where Foxconn must navigate different social, political and labor conditions...."

From the NYT, "Before Wisconsin, Foxconn Vowed Big Spending in Brazil. Few Jobs Have Come.."

"... being as candid, open, as I could be..."

I love the stress on the word "I" as Hillary Clinton talks about the difficulty of writing her book...

The stress changes the meaning to: It's particularly difficult for me to be honest.

I also like this "Paula Revere" business:

"And I am saying, as clearly as I can — I feel like a bit of a Paula Revere (I'm trying to sound the alarm about this) — is that, you know, you've got to understand what Putin's strategy is: He really doesn't like democracy. He thinks it's an inconvenient, messy process.* And he doesn't like us and he wants to destabilize our country, sow doubt about our democracy."

Paul Revere sounded the alarm that the British were coming, as Americans fought our war for independence from a colonial power. Hillary is sounding the alarm that a leader in another country doesn't like our democracy and wants us to doubt our own country. Paradoxically, she is sowing doubts about our democracy through these claims that the Russians are coming. But they're not coming the way the British were coming, to fight a war....

They're coming to buy targeted ads on Facebook. There's no invasion in the offing. A distant foreign power coaxes us to eat away at ourselves from the inside. And Hillary urges us to gnaw away.

* It is an inconvenient, messy process!

September 19, 2017

But you've been using violence against women (and children and men) to entertain people for half a century.

Maybe this is a takes-one-to-know-one situation, but I can barely think of a person who is more implicated in the popularization of the use of images of violence for the casual amusement of the American people.

And if you want to talk about men making entertainment out of terrible things done to  women, look at Stephen King's new book (co-written with his son), "Sleeping Beauties," reviewed here (in The Washington Post):
“Sleeping Beauties” takes place in the little Appalachian town of Dooling, W.Va., which for no apparent reason becomes ground zero of a worldwide gyno-epidemic, known as the Aurora Flu: The moment any woman falls asleep, she’s immediately covered in a sticky white cocoon, like a full-body cotton-candy wrap. What’s worse, terrified family members who break open these cocoons find that their mothers, sisters and daughters have transformed into bloodthirsty killers. “It’s, like, the ultimate P-M-S,” one yahoo says....
But I'm sure King would argue that he's not sexist. He's showing you bad guys who are sexist.
What’s... surprising is the novel’s grim gender politics. The Kings tell us that “hard right conservatives on talk radio were proclaiming the Aurora virus as proof that God was angry with feminism.” 
The right wing, over there, they are bad, like bad old President Trump, laughing about the golf ball.
We’re made to understand that that’s ridiculous, but the story doesn’t do much to supply an alternative interpretation. Despite having a female police chief, Dooling is a town under a dome, a place with little sense that we live in an era of rapidly changing attitudes about sexuality and gender roles. The novel’s theme feels just as essentialist as the spooky virus that always gets its gal. And the Lord-of-the-Flies battle that consumes the final half of the story reinscribes every worn-out trope about peaceful, constructive women and violent, destructive men.
I think that means King wants to be considered pro-woman. Fine. I assume he means well. But President Trump also claims to be pro-woman. He just also enjoys some laughing at a woman knocked down by a golf ball, and King enjoys 700 pages of women knocked out of consciousness and bound up by a sticky white substance. How could only one of these things be indicative of a severely fucked-up mind?

Hey, the WaPo reviewer, Ron Charles, made a pretty funny video about struggling to stay awake to read the 700 page tome:

"This is much worse than Watergate, folks. That was a third-rate burglary that went awry."

"Trump was called a liar. He was mocked for tweeting about Trump Tower being wiretapped. David Gergen, you’ll hear on the sound bites today, practically chokes when confronted with the news that Trump was right and doesn’t quite know what to say about it. But, I tell you what, folks, in many ways it’s worse than Watergate, and it’s still going on even with Trump in the White House. Richard Nixon was accused of spying on the DNC, but Nixon never ordered any such spying. In fact, he didn’t know anything about it. He was accused of using the IRS against his political opponents, but he never did. We know for a fact that Obama did both of these things, used the IRS against political opponents and probably more. There’s no outrage in the media on this. They think it’s great that Manafort’s lock was picked. The New York Times reports this as though it’s something that happens every day. Yep, the FBI showed up, they picked the lock of Manafort’s front door in Virginia and walked in and woke him up along with his family and then started demanding things and taking things...."

Rush Limbaugh, today.

At the Sunflower Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

(And consider shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission..."

"... for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do. It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved. But we must do much more. It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior."

Said President Trump at his speech today at the United Nations.

I think, overall, Trump gave a great speech today, but I cannot figure out why he would take the taunt "Rocket Man" — questionable enough when deployed on Twitter — and use in the U.N. Not only is it too casual, too undignified, it undercuts its own point: that Kim Jong-Un is a dangerous nut. You wreck  your credibility if you yourself sound like a dangerous nut.

ADDED: Scott Adams loved Trump's saying "Rocket Man" at the U.N. (Is his reason anything more than: It tweaks the left?)