April 1, 2015

"This case is garbage. It’s a garbage case. It’s a RICO case that means nothing."

Said one of the lawyers in the case against Atlanta teachers who were accused in a systematic scheme falsifying students' scores in at least 44 schools.
Eleven of the former educators were convicted of racketeering charges, The Associated Press said, in a decision announced [today] in a Georgia courtroom. Only one of the 12 educators on trial was acquitted of the racketeering charge; verdicts on the theft and false statements charges were mixed.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson sent the RFRA bill back to the legislature to be amended to look just like the longstanding federal RFRA.

"This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial. But these are not ordinary times," he said. He wants Arkansas to be known as "a place of tolerance."
“What is important from an Arkansas standpoint is one, we get the right balance,” he said, “and secondly, we make sure that we communicate we’re not going to be a state that fails to recognize the diversity of our workplace, our economy and our future.”...

Several businesses and tech companies, including the state’s largest employer, Walmart, as well as the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Municipal League and other civic groups have spoken out against the legislation.
Meanwhile, in Indiana, under time pressure from — of all things — basketball, the state legislature is working on amending the language in its RFRA.

At the Indiana-Rolls-Her-Own Café...


... come on in, there's CAKE for everybody.

Talk about whatever you like. Consider — if you must shop — using The Althouse Amazon Portal. And click there anyway, because Amazon went retro for April Fool's.

The photograph was taken at Paul's Books in Madison, where there are many delightful little things taped to the bookcases. What "Indiana/Intellectually She Rolls Her Own" means, you'll have to speculate.

"I could literally show you 20 charts, and 19 of them would show no relationship between the amount of parents’ time and children’s outcomes... Nada. Zippo."

Says Melissa Milkie, a sociologist co-author of "the first large-scale longitudinal study of parent time to be published in April in the Journal of Marriage and Family."
The study’s findings shook some parents, many of whom had built their lives around the idea that the more time with children, the better. They quit or cut back on work, downsized their houses or struggled to cram it all in....

Building relationships, seizing quality moments of connection, not quantity, Milkie said, is what emerging research is showing to be most important for both parent and child well-being. “The amount of time doesn’t matter, but these little pieces of time do,” she said. Her advice to parents? “Just don’t worry so much about time.”
What's missing from this analysis, I think, is that a single-earner household can be less stressful and complicated with a division of labor, so that it creates the space in life for those quality things — building relationships and seizing moments and so forth. If you say, I'll go off to work and I'll transport the kids in and out of day care and get everything done including some seized moments, how good will those moments be? I think the real issue here is whether a single earner brings in enough money for the family to live on. But I'm also perceiving the usual encouragement to women to get out there and make careers for themselves. Don't worry about it.

"One of our editors... found some Polaroids from 1977 that showed a large excavation project at The [Playboy] Mansion."

"We asked the new general manager at The Mansion about these photos. He said, very matter-of-factly, 'that’s probably when they built the tunnels in the 70s.'"
So, according this blueprint, tunnels were built to the homes of “Mr. J. Nicholson,” “Mr. W. Beatty,” “Mr. K. Douglas” and “Mr. J. Caan.” We’ll go ahead and assume they’re talking about Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Kirk Douglas and James Caan – all of whom lived near the Playboy Mansion during the late 1970s and early 1980s. There are no dates on the architectural schematics, but the dates on the Polaroids were from 1977.

Cass Sunstein on Friedrich Hayek on the effect of Harriet Taylor on John Stuart Mill.

An essay in The New York Review of Books. Excerpt:
[I]t is crucial to see that in contending that people may be restrained only to prevent “harm to others,” Mill was speaking of the effects of social norms and conventions, not merely of government. Much of his attack was on the oppressive quality of public opinion.... His particular case for liberty emphasized the immense importance of allowing “experiments of living.” In his view, “the worth of different modes of life should be proved practically, when any one thinks fit to try them. It is desirable, in short, that in things which do not primarily concern others, individuality should assert itself.”

And you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the rock, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it.

The inventor of the Pet Rock has died. "Gary Dahl, the man behind that scheme — described variously as a marketing genius and a genial mountebank — died on March 23 at 78."

Shouldn't that be a genial genius and a marketing mountebank?
One night in the mid-’70s, he was having a drink in Los Gatos.... The bar talk turned to pets, and to the onus of feeding, walking and cleaning up after them.

His pet, Mr. Dahl announced in a flash of bibulous inspiration, caused him no such trouble. The reason?

“I have a pet rock,” he explained.

A pet rock, Mr. Dahl quickly realized, might just have legs.

“People are so damn bored, tired of all their problems,” he told People magazine in 1975. “This takes them on a fantasy trip — you might say we’ve packaged a sense of humor.”
Meade sent me that link along with a second link, which he thinks is good material for a bloggerly riff: "Scott Walker, Allergic to Dogs, May Run Against Political History."
Jeb Bush can lament how he lost a Labrador (named for his brother Marvin) to cancer. Marco Rubio has a Shih Tzu, with a name like a gift from heaven: Manna. Ted Cruz goes one better: His rescue mutt is called Snowflake. (“Dear Jesus, please, please, PLEASE bring us a puppy,” his daughters prayed, according to Mr. Cruz’s Facebook page.) And if Mr. Walker makes it to November, he could face Hillary Rodham Clinton and her toy poodle, Tally.

Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with “worry,” perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own. But he is allergic to dog dander, an aide confirmed.

And in that, he is running against the long sweep of United States political history. If the ritual for presidential candidates wooing American voters had a handbook, “must love dogs” would be somewhere near the front....
Meade thinks Scott Walker could get a Pet Rock and go all Nixon....

And you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the rock, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it.

Bo Ryan was the pinball wizard of Pennsylvania.

He was better than anyone at freezing the flippers, he says. But what's happening in that second video? Nigel Hayes says: "We care more about suckoffs than smash battles. We’re a super smash brothers team. FIFA’s taken a back seat to that, all we care about is suckoffs." Okay, I had to research that. I don't even know what FIFA is, let alone suckoffs. So I think FIFA is a soccer videogame. And I'm going to trust Reddit on "suckoffs":
Is he talking about blowjobs or am I outta the loop on something?

I imagine they are all bad at Smash, so matches are "suckoffs" because they are seeing who sucks the most? That's all I got.
ADDED: You know, there's a lot of pressure on the Badgers to be adorably weird.

"The Problem Isn’t That Trevor Noah Is Offensive. The Problem Is That He’s a Giant Dope."

Headline at Slate.
The problem is not that Trevor Noah tells offensive jokes. It’s not even that he routinely breaks The Daily Show's covenant of speaking truth to power in favor of speaking truth to fat chicks or Thai hookers or, as the Washington Post’s Wendy Todd points out, black Americans who give their kids names that Noah disapproves of. The problem is that Noah’s jokes are so annihilatingly stupid.
Jeez, they're swarming this poor man. A giant dope? Isn't that insult dopey? I read the article, and it seems that Noah's problem is he needs better joke-writers. I'd say: He's getting "The Daily Show"'s joke-writers, so the question is only how he looks, how he delivers the jokes, and how he manages the interviews. If you're not going to rest on the ground that his old jokes were so offensive that he can't be the face of the brand, what's the problem? He's a giant dope? That makes zero sense. It's as if the writer — Jessica Winter — doesn't know that there are writers. That's annihilatingly stupid.

Now, the Wendy Todd article (linked above) makes a much stronger point: It seems that "The Daily Show" may be installing Noah because he's been getting away with mocking black people. Todd, who is black, says:
[On "The Tonight Show"] Noah joked that black people are misidentified as African Americans. “They’re not African, but we’ll play along,” he said, adding, “Many of them really try to connect with Africa, you know? Some of them have these African names. They’ll be like, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s my girl Wanda, yeah, yeah. Yeah that’s right, that’s Dashiqua, or dat’s Taniqua.” Noah emphasized all this “hilarity” by using stereotypical B-Boy hand gestures to drive it home — because this is how all black people communicate, obviously. Leno’s predominantly white audience ate it up....

Not only did Noah get away with these routines, now he’s being rewarded for them. And the sadder thing is that the next time we have this “there aren’t enough people of color in the late night arena” conversation, people will point to Noah and say, “See, we gave you another one.”

Have we just lost the last person who was alive in the 19th century?

Misao Okawa, born March 5, 1898, has died. She had the distinction of being the oldest person alive, but who is the oldest person now?

Japan identifies a 115-year-old woman as its new oldest person. She was born on March 15, 1900. Perhaps beyond Japan, there is someone older, but it may be that there is suddenly no one left from the 19th century.

IN THE COMMENTS: I am made to regret that I didn't title this post: Have we just lost the last person who was alive in the 1800s?

March 31, 2015

"The contents of the suitcase, an extraordinary collection of found materials that chronicled the adulterous relationship..."

"... between a businessman and his secretary in the late 1960s and 70s, are now on display for all to see at an art gallery in New York."
What makes a man document his affair so meticulously? Did he want to preserve the relationship to relive it later? Was this industrial businessman searching for a creative platform to express his love? Or merely the confirmation of his control over the situation, as he mastered the art of adultery?

The ice regresses on Lake Mendota.




Today, in Madison, where the temperature was 60°, the icy remnants of winter were locked in a struggle to the death with the puffy-clouded sky.

"Trevor Noah, From Progressive Icon to Villain in 24 Hours."

David Weigel looks at the uproar.

"It would be strange indeed to give a clause that makes federal law supreme a reading that limits Congress’s power to enforce that law..."

"... by imposing mandatory private enforcement — a limitation unheard — of with regard to state legislatures," wrote Justice Scalia in an opinion called Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, issued this morning.
To say that the Supremacy Clause does not confer a right of action is not to diminish the significant role that courts play in assuring the supremacy of federal law. For once a case or controversy properly comes before a court, judges are bound by federal law....

The dissent agrees with us that the Supremacy Clause does not provide an implied right of action, and that Congress may displace the equitable relief that is traditionally available to enforce federal law. It disagrees only with our conclusion that such displacement has occurred here.
The dissenting opinion is by Justice Sotomayor, who is joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Kagan.  The statute the 2 sides are interpreting is the Medicaid Act.

ADDED: In the comments, Smilin' Jack says: "WTF? Have they run out of those Easter-Bunny-Display-in-National-Park cases? At least those were funny."

Yes, let's get back to talking about cake. The important thing in America right now is cake. Why are we all hepped up to talk about RFRA (which had previously bored the bejeezus out of everyone)? Cake.

"Our city lost today because the mayor wouldn’t listen to the voices of moderation and pragmatism."

"This should be an issue of local control and, in the end, we are seeing Democrats and Republicans gang up on the city as we were unable to act over the course of months."

Said Madison mayoral candidate Scott Resnick, about a new and bipartisan bill in the Wisconsin legislature that would authorize companies like Uber to operate throughout the state and block local legislation imposing various limitations of the sort Resnick and his opponent Mayor Paul Soglin have been showing enthusiasm for in their campaigns. Soglin said:
"The point is, Uber has got a lot of muscle, they’ve got a lot of money, they have a lot of influence, they’ve done this around the rest of the country, and they have absolutely the best, most vulnerable legislature in the country in Wisconsin to use their campaign dollars to get the legislation they want which is not in the best interest of the riding public. The public needs essential cab service every day of the year, every hour of the day.”

"Auction houses, consignment stores and thrift shops are flooded with merchandise, much of it made of brown wood."

"Hardly a day goes by that we don’t get calls from people who want to sell a big dining room set or bedroom suite because nobody in the family wants it. Millennials don’t want brown furniture...."

"Millennials have stuff on discs and flash drives.... I don’t think my sons are going to want my walnut table, eight chairs and buffet."

The children of Baby Boomers don't want their shit.

"Jackie lied, Erdely lied, Rolling Stone lied, Teresa Sullivan — at best — went along with a lie. All should face more consequences than they have so far experienced."

Writes Instapundit in what might be the longest ever Instapundit post — with excerpts from Ashe Schow ("Why the Rolling Stone gang-rape story will never be labeled a hoax") and Cathy Young ("The UVA Case and Rape-Hoax Denial").

My question is: Why "more consequences" and not the usual and classic free-speech-loving remedy more speech? It seems as though more speech is working out well enough, or is the complaint that anti-rape activists are still going to use Rolling Stone story to maintain the feeling that something terrible is happening out there? That complaint is a concession of the weakness of your side of the debate. Improve your debate. Your more speech needs to be better. The grim call for consequences is chilling.

ALSO: This post was down for a short time, not because I intentionally took it down, but because I mishandled an open window.

AND: Instapundit responded to this, saying:
Yes, “more speech” is a remedy for opinions one doesn’t like. When speech falls into the category of actions — which false accusations certainly do — it calls for more than simple talk as a response. (But note that Jackie was smart enough not to file a police report, though that should have been a tip-off). And I should note that the fraternity in question was the victim of violent mob action that was ginned up in part by the University of Virginia itself. Is the only remedy for officially-inspired thuggery “more speech?” No. That’s one remedy, but it’s not the only remedy, nor should it be.
I strongly disagree with the proposition that if free-speech law permits negative consequences to be imposed that we ought to want these consequences. I am promoting the more speech approach where the First Amendment would permit negative consequences.

Instapundit quotes a commenter of mine who says "The proper remedy for slander is not 'more speech.' The proper remedy... are [sic]  'consequences.'"

Proper remedy? I'm not purporting to be the arbiter of propriety here. I'm saying what I think is the better policy and the better approach to this political discourse. I called for more and better speech and rejected the "grim call for consequences" as "chilling."

"Saying 'no' has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined."

"No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know. We are not taught to say 'no.' We are taught not to say 'no.' 'No”' is rude. 'No' is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. 'No' is for drugs and strangers with candy. Creators do not ask how much time something takes but how much creation it costs. This interview, this letter, this trip to the movies, this dinner with friends, this party, this last day of summer. How much less will I create unless I say 'no?' A sketch? A stanza? A paragraph? An experiment? Twenty lines of code? The answer is always the same: 'yes' makes less."

From "Creative People Say No."

"People often ask me what to teach girls or what they themselves can do to challenge sexism when they see it."

"In general, I'm loath to take the approach that girls should be responsible for the world's responses to them," writes Soraya L. Chemaly, who has come up with a specific and very practical answer: "I say to them, practice these words, every day...."

The words are 3 phrases. Perhaps you can guess before looking. What 3 phrases would do a lot of good for girls if they had an ingrained reflex to say them forthrightly at the appropriate time?

"Justice Dept. sues a university for firing a professor who switched gender."

WaPo reports.