Friday, May 22

A Loaf of Bread... a Container of Milk...

and a Stick of Butter...

(Some things just stick in your craw for 40+ years.  Like... the shopping list on Sesame Street!)

And also this ("It's the plumber. I've come to fix the sink."), which definitely has Electric Company written all over it... ("Hey you guys!!)

Happy Friday!
Happy Memorial Day!*

"Who are you?
What do you do?
How are you?
Let's hear from you...
We need you!
So won't you ZOOM-ZOOM-ZOOM a-ZOOM?


* I believe the soldiers who served and died in America's wars for freedom would want us to get out in our communities, celebrate our continuing freedoms, and yes, be happy.  It's the least we can do in their memory.  I honestly don't think the soldiers who served in the World Wars, or especially VietNam, would want everyone sitting around Monday with long faces in somber tribute...

They didn't die for that.

The solders who served and lived through the most recent wars probably have the most reckoning to do this weekend, wondering if their sacrifices and contributions -- and those of their fallen comrades -- in retrospect, will be valued when we see how the territories they fought in are faring now, while we remain safe here at home.

Wednesday, May 20

Blue-Collar Mike...

Gets The Job Done!

#SoleSurvivor  #HappyDance

Irregularities in LaCour (2014)
David Broockman, Assistant Professor, Stanford 
Joshua Kalla, Graduate Student, UC Berkeley
Peter Aronow, Assistant Professor, Yale University,
May 19, 2015

Summary:  We report a number of irregularities in the replication dataset posted for LaCour and Green (Science “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality,” 2014) that jointly suggest the dataset (LaCour 2014) was not collected as described. These irregularities include baseline outcome data that is statistically indistinguishable from a national survey and over-time changes that are unusually small and indistinguishable from perfectly normally distributed noise. Other elements of the dataset are inconsistent with patterns typical in randomized experiments and survey responses and/or inconsistent with the claimed design of the study.

Read the whole thing.

You Can't Lie in Science...

If you're good-looking,  try consulting, but don't go trying to fake your way through academia...
Eventually, you'll trip yourself up, even if you're good-looking, persuasive and think you will get away with it.

When Contact Changes Minds: Two Longitudinal Field Experiments on Transmission of Support for Gay Equality

(With Donald P. Green), Science.
Abstract: Can a single conversation change minds on divisive social issues, such as same-sex marriage? We report results from a randomized placebo-controlled trial assessing whether gay or straight messengers were effective at encouraging voters to support same-sex marriage and whether attitude change persisted and spread to others in voters’ social networks. The results, measured by an ostensibly unrelated panel survey, show that both gay and straight canvassers produced large effects initially, but only gay canvassers’ effects persisted in three-week, six-week, and nine-month follow-ups. We also find strong evidence of within-household transmission of opinion change, but only in the wake of conversations with gay canvassers. A follow-up experiment demonstrates that openly gay canvassers only affect support for same-sex marriage and ratings of gay people when the topic of conversation is gay equality. These findings suggest the theoretical importance of contact with minorities coupled with discussion of policy issues pertinent to them.


ADDED:  This last paragraph is also concerning...  Seems he persuaded liberal and conservative editors, alike.  Never underestimate the power of a good-looking man playing professor:
I am a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA.  I research political behavior, public opinion, and media; using experimentation, longitudinal panel surveys, and social network analysis to study the ways in which persuasive communications influence voters.  
My research has been published in Science and Political Communication, as well as featured in: This American LifeThe New York Times, The Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post,  The Los Angeles Times, Science FridayThe UpshotBloomberg PoliticsThe EconomistUSA TodayVox, and HuffingtonPost.
I am very impressed with this paper,” said Todd Rogers, an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a founding director of the Analyst Institute, a voter research group that helps Democratic candidates. Mr. Rogers, who was not involved in the research, said: “There’s a whole infrastructure across the political spectrum devoted to changing people’s attitude and beliefs on important topics, and this has obvious implications. You want a messenger for whom the issue is of personal relevance.”

And look at all those bullets under the Awards and Fellowships section... Impressive!

Cold Steel On Ice.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The game ended at least a dozen times — a post here, a crossbar there, a padded shoulder here, a gloved fingertip there. Sami Vatanen rang one off the crossbar at one end in overtime, then rang one off the crossbar at the other end in the second overtime. Corey Perry drew iron, too, was turned aside point-blank by Corey Crawford, and fired wide from the doorstep. Patrick Kane was robbed. Antoine Vermette was stuffed. Andrew Shaw was denied. Bryan Bickell was stopped, but, oh, just barely.

Crawford made 60 saves, a career-high in a virtuoso effort. Duncan Keith played nine seconds shy of 50 minutes, also a career-high. Frederik Andersen made 53 saves for the Ducks, marvelous in his own right. The Hawks withstood 71 hits, attempted 115 shots, took 112 faceoffs, and dodged countless bullets, all to even the Western Conference final at 1-1. Game 3 is Thursday at the United Center, if any of these guys have the legs to make it through warmups.

“It’s mostly relief,” said defenseman Johnny Oduya, who played 46:06. “You’re happy, but we know, too, it’s one game. This was almost two games, but it only counts as one.”

It was a historic game for the Hawks, but only barely. It was the Hawks’ fourth triple-overtime game in the past three postseasons, and their second in the past month. They know the drill — take off your skates at intermission to mitigate the soreness, eat fruit and grab a snack, drink plenty of water, stretch as much as you can. And more than anything, don’t get too caught up in the drama and the tension — the excruciating, agonizing, beautiful tension.

“Eat, drink, stay mentally focused more than anything,” Sharp said. “I think that’s the toughest thing. You’re thinking about the game all day, and end up playing for four, five, six hours. It wears on you. We’ve got a veteran group that’s been down that path before, and thankfully we came away with a win.”

Memorial Day Weekend is Coming.

So here's a mid=week PSA for blog readers.



“Any experienced paddler wears a P.F.D. all the time, every time, period,” said Brian Grahn, who owns Hudson River Expeditions, an outfitter in Cold Spring, N.Y., referring to a personal flotation device, or life jacket. “You would never see a professional paddler without it, whether you’re on a pond or in the Mediterranean. It’s a big deal.”
"Don't Just Pack It,
Wear Your Jacket."

(Have you ever tried putting on your jacket after the boat overturns, especially if you conk your head on a river rock falling into the water?  Neither have I. )

Saturday, May 16

Poorly Performing School Districts, not Prejudice.

Jamelle Bouie Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a Slate staff writer covering politics, policy, and race.
As I noted in a Wednesday column, “... only 25 percent of white respondents said they would live in a neighborhood where one-half of their neighbors were black.”
At the same time, this polling doesn’t tell us why.
I implied prejudice, but there are other options.

It could be ethnocentrism—positive feelings about your racial compatriots.

Or it could be a class difference, where whites avoid black neighbors—and black neighborhoods—out of real or perceived differences in the quality of homes, schools, services, and amenities.

And if so, there’s a related question: Do blacks act similarly, avoiding black or significantly black neighborhoods for the same reason? 

If he wants an honest answer, let me give him one: 
plenty of people, black and white, value the quality of their local school districts.  For whatever reason -- culture, poverty (even in the middle classes?), the legacy of slavery *cough, cough* -- when the population of a public school district begins to shift to majority black students, the test scores and quality of the classroom education received in those schools often drop.*

Even in "good" solidly middle-class districts, it seems when the black population tips to majority numbers, the collective school district either does not value keeping the quality of the academic programs up (b/c of the stigma of "acting white"?). or is incapable of it.  White people, and black, as well as others, see the decline in school quality, and then the accompanying decline in property values, which so often are based on the quality of the public schools.  (More and more in this country, you need a 21st century education to compete, if you're not in the inheriting classes...)

Retirees, empty nesters, singles and gays without children, can remain living in these neighborhoods.  But too often, young white -- and black -- families read the tea leaves and sell.  Private schools at the large high school level can be an option for families with school-age children remaining in the district, if the public elementary "feeder" schools are still capable of providing a disciplined academic base to build upon.

But who -- black or white --is willing to sacrifice their own children's education and potential futures by sending them to a majority black public school with dismal test scores, non-challenging curricula, and disciplinary troubles in the hallways? **

Speaking honestly, and with significant background study of the issue:  That's one reason, Mr. Bouie, perhaps why "only 25 percent of white respondents said they would live in a neighborhood where one-half of their neighbors were black.”

They simply can't afford it.


* Why?  Back to Mr. Bouie, and the stats analysis, on this one...
** Believing this behavior to be racist, and not rational, is too easy and misses the point...

Tuesday, May 12

"What are she and Huma doing?"

"Are they robbing that place?"

It's the voice that cracks me up...
"Ah they rah-bin that place?"

Make it a great midweek, people.
Be an original in your works and deeds... Yes you can.

Monday, May 11

"Aw, who would ever wanna be King?"

Viva la Vida.
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listened as the crowd would sing
Now the old king is dead long live the king
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

I hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
Missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
Once you'd gone there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world

It was a wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become
Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

I hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
I know St Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

Thursday, May 7

Spring comes and goes...
In that order)


I love birds chirping at 4:13 in the morning

out the window.  I do.
It makes you glad to be alive,
glad it's warmer, and happy
to be up.  Above ground...

Wednesday, May 6


He settled down,” Quenneville said, when asked how much Crawford has improved since his shaky start to the postseason. “He came back in Game 6 against Nashville, the game’s on the line, and he did what he had to do to get the win. He got some confidence off that, and he’s been rock-solid in this series. We’re very happy with how he’s handled things.”

Crawford deflected much of the praise Tuesday to his teammates, who stood with him when the Wild buzzed the loudest. He said they allowed him to see every shot, swept away loads of rebounds and limited the Wild’s close-range chances.

“[Crawford] shut the door,” said Patrick Kane, who scored the game’s only goal. “He’s played huge, especially down the stretch here.”

Avian Flu.

Many turkey flocks are being put down in Barron County, as more than a handful of turkey producers have infected birds, and then they kill them all for prevention. Jennie-O is a big employer here.

Put your Thanksgiving turkey on layaway, and keep an eye on the wild fowl (?).

I was reading last night about the H5N2 virus transference rate, and thinking about Buddy walking along the lakefront with bare paws...

(They're not your kids, but there's a strong instinct of preventative worry. My mind, at least, always goes to 'how can you eliminate risks?', rather than 'how can I deal with an emergency?', which for so many seems to often result in running around like a chicken w/the head cut off.)

Not for me.
Long-range planning;
Know thyself.

* Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, May 5

Honest to Goodness...

Will a little more love make you stop pretending?
Will a little more love make a happy ending?
Will a little more love make it right?
... I thought those were the lyrics being sung. Nope.

And to this day, I thought it was a Bee Gees song.

Wrong again. Olyvia (sp.) Newton-John.
Who knew?
* This is one reason it's good to hear what you hear, and take what you can for yourself from art. Easier to get on and apply it. You can make it fit.

That's why I like reading more than watching (people tell me).

Monday, May 4


or, More Flarse.

Saturday, May 2

Speaking of White Privilege...

there's a new royal baby in the world today.

No, no.  Not Mila Hagar, who sources say is Hispanic.  (If the baby is hispanic, then it transfers over to the parents and grandparents, I hear... GWB might need some color to match his brother's, dontchaknow?)

It will be fun to watch the American press fall all over themselves because a royal white baby has been born to bless the globe.

First, the boy (what was his name?  Honestly I forget... oh, George!)
Now a princess girl.

Except... unless you believe in royalty, or are English, those are just two overly pampered children, born to a mother and father who have not done much themselves, absent playing soldier boy and motherless child.

The world they are coming into is not the same one Grampy Charles was born into.  Something tells me, before their lives are over, these two white entitled children will renounce the throne, and their privileges.

The world is changing, they say.
Lets's see, in the decades to come, if the change in attitudes is real, or if we keep worshipping the white Brits, while putting down the blacks here at home.

Waiting to see how the American press proclaims this birth...
(It would be fun to see little baby George marry a black woman say, and his offspring to be bi-racial.  Maybe Kim and Kanye's kid could be a real princess someday, if she nabs him before he renounces his worldly privileges, in embarrassment and perhaps to someday save his skin... White privilege is fading, and there is no one more privileged than the Windsors, fake royal elites.)

Black Lives Matter? Seriously?

It will be interesting to see if the accused get a fair trial. I don't think so.

The lynch mob is out. EVERYbody knows that cops, for years, in B-more have been taking poor blacks on these spine-tingling rides...

This black driver will pay the sins to appease the mob. He's black too, but his life doesn't matter.

It all goes to show... you can't conduct justice by lynch mob and bumpersticker slogans.

Meanwhile, 4 people died in Chicago on Friday, and more were shot up. When will we teach black mothers and fathers that the little lives they create have worth and are as valuable as white children?

Black Lives Matter, so teach that to the black people already.
If black lives really mattered, you would see a change in the black culture to support their children and families, discipline their own, and take care of their own.

I am for justice, and I think all lives matter.

It will be interesting to see how the mob justice in this case plays out.  I suspect, black people will be disappointed once again, because in the rush to charge, there seems to be very little evidence proving the officers killed Freddie Gray.

The missing links ... are simply not there.

Unless one of the officers is going to tell a story of a concocted plot to intentionally injure Mr. Gray, good luck proving that his injuries were due to the way the van was driven.

Here in Wisconsin, I am amazed at the speed some of the motorcyclists are getting up to on spring, pothole-filled roads.  We had a bitterly cold winter, concrete expands and contracts, and our local governments here have so much more on their plates now than just fixing the streets...

I'm sure Baltimore had its bad roads too.  Did the van hit a pothole or two, intentionally or unintentionally?  Did the van take a sharp turn, and cause the deceased man to fall over the van bench?  Likely, we will never know beyond a reasonable doubt.

Another theory:  what did the toxicology tests of Mr. Gray's body show?  Was he drugged up?  IF so, heroin especially, perhaps he did not have strong enough body control to hold himself upright on the seat in the van.

The officers, under a new policy clarification, are supposed to seat belt in shackled prisoners in the newer model vans.  If the prisoner is resisting, and the officer might sustain personal injuries himself, do the union rules still require him to get that close to the prisoner's (unrestrained) mouth and head to seat belt him in?  Maybe placing him on the floor, if he refuses to be buckled, is safer under the circumstances?

Instead of responding to the violent mob,
the investigation should have continued and the evidence brought before a grand jury.

Here, the 35-year-old prosecutor with political ties jumped the gun.  She brought charges that she is unlikely to prove, in a court of law.

It appeased the Baltimore masses, but it is unlikely to bring change or justice to the force.  You see, these 6 officers are not being charged for the crimes of the past, but this one particular incident.  Do people understand that?

I believe in due process, and the American concept of being innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  I think the black police officers' lives matter too.  Let the black van driver have his day in court, minus the threats of violence against him.

Black Lives Matter, afterall.
Violence and drugs can kill you.
So can the inability to sit up straight, wear seat belts regularly, and cooperate with police during an arrest.

A false arrest?
Don't chant bumpersticker slogans in the street.
File complaints, use the system non-violently, and learn the law.

White people who value their babies should be seen as role models, perhaps, of how to raise children with discipline, non-violence, and independence.  Those who take care of their own don't need lynch mobs burning up the neighborhoods to collect lawsuit money;  they understand there are better ways to live, and those ways are available to all those who understand the law and have faith in tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 29

I love birds chirping at 4:13 in the morning

out the window.  I do.
It makes you glad to be alive,
glad it's warmer, and happy
to be up.

Tuesday, April 28

A. Seek Allies.

Q.  What could the black kids in the streets of Baltimore learn from the recent progress of the gay rights workers -- in the public and private spheres?

I will never forget one of my better law professors explaining to us.  She was prescient, had a big class, and could see some of what was coming, I suspect.

Take This Back Home with You
is what she seemed to say, in so many words.
Even if you don't end up working in the legal firms, or even the legal field, take what I am teaching back to your homes, your neighborhoods and communities, your workplaces, your peoples.  Take this knowledge, take this better understanding of how laws and policies work, and put it to use in your worlds.

She wanted that, you could tell.
Like many law professors, she was Jewish -- many of the women on the law faculty who were not, were once married to the Jews.  You don't have to believe law and order came down from the heavens, necessarily, to understand for good reason, that particular ethnicity has been involved in the legal system in good numbers from the beginning...

I went home this past weekend -- to the home in Thornton where I was raised, where we moved in 1972, days before I turned 4...  Chicago was changing then, rapidly. As was the country...

Fires are burning in the streets again now, in baltimore.
Police officers are being attacked for who they are, not what they've done. We're "tribing up", not thinking of each other as individuals using reason rather than violence.

Today -- win or lose -- gay people across the country will have representatives arguing that they should all be able to get in the game, no more sitting the bench thinking there's no place on the team.  No more moving across the country in search of open playing fields. 

No more getting judged by how the group acts, even if there's no way you'd be in the mix doing that...

Baltimore burns, in places
and sadly, the cause once again seemingly is for Blacks Only.

It's not about Police Brutality,
it's about Black Men.
After the videotape of the man being shot multiple times in the back was released, I was hopeful.  Everybody was on board.  But then, the black pundits and columnists reminded us this was their turf, and it got spun again into a racial issue.  (I even heard more than one person sound like the answer is that more white men should be shot dead by police when acting violently, as if that would even things out.)

The gay rights movement will win today, even the Court rules against them, because they are there, where change happens.

The poor blacks, burning off anger in the streets, will hoist a reparations-seeking spokesman or two, who will be handsomely rewarded himself, and might even create ripples of change, advantaging others.  Say what you will, but the Jesse Jacksons, say, do acquire granted concessions, except in the long run, without the systematic changes, such indulgences don't go very far.

Seek Allies.
Define your Cause.
Read, Read, Read, Read.
Know Your Histories, yours and mine.

Get it through the courthouse doors.  You can get attention throwing your heels, fighting back, burning tires, tipping cars.  But eventually, you need to turn to the scholars, the level-headed reasoners, to bring it home. 

Season of Life.

Bengal, Baltimore... death, drones...
If you merely followed the headlines, and not the weather patterns, you could be excused for thinking death and destruction were upon us.

But today, the work going on in the Court,
the work going on in the classrooms,
the work going on in our heads,
trumps the deadly intentions
and disastrous deeds
so many commit to.

Never forget:  Spring is the season of life.
The green always turns out, and covers all,
as the poem goes...


By Carl Sandburg*
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
                                          I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                                          What place is this?
                                          Where are we now?

                                          I am the grass.
                                          Let me work.
* "Poetry is a pack-sack of invisible keepsakes. Poetry is a sky dark with a wild-duck migration. Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment."
H. L. Mencken called Sandburg "a true original, his own man." No one, it is agreed, can deny the unique quality of his style. In his newspaper days, an old friend recalls, the slogan was, "Print Sandburg as is." It was Sandburg, as Golden observes, who "put America on paper," writing the American idiom, speaking to the masses, who held no terror for him.

As Richard Crowder notes in Carl Sandburg, the poet "Had been the first poet of modern times actually to use the language of the people as his almost total means of expression.... Sandburg had entered into the language of the people; he was not looking at it as a scientific phenomenon or a curiosity.... He was at home with it." Sandburg's own Whitmanesque comment was: "I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass. Did you know that all the work of the world is done through me?" He was always read by the masses, as well as by scholars. He once observed: "I'll probably die propped up in bed trying to write a poem about America."

Sandburg's account of the life of Abraham Lincoln is one of the monumental works of the century. Abraham Lincoln: The War Years alone exceeds in length the collected writings of Shakespeare by some 150,000 words. Though Sandburg did deny the story that in preparation he read everything ever published on Lincoln, he did collect and classify Lincoln material for thirty years, moving himself into a garret, storing his extra material in a barn, and for nearly fifteen years writing on a cracker-box typewriter. His intent was to separate Lincoln the man from Lincoln the myth, to avoid hero-worship, to relate with graphic detail and humanness the man both he and Whitman so admired. The historian Charles A. Beard called the finished product "a noble monument of American literature," written with "indefatigable thoroughness." Allan Nevins saw it as "homely but beautiful, learned but simple, exhaustively detailed but panoramic ... [occupying] a niche all its own, unlike any other biography or history in the language." The Pulitzer Prize committee apparently agreed. Prohibited from awarding the biography prize for any work on Washington or Lincoln, it circumvented the rules by placing the book in the category of history. As a result of this work Sandburg was the first private citizen to deliver an address before a joint session of Congress (on February 12, 1959, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth).
What he wanted from life was "to be out of jail,... to eat regular,... to get what I write printed,... a little love at home and a little nice affection hither and yon over the American landscape,... [and] to sing every day." He wrote with a pencil, a fountain pen, or a typewriter, "but I draw the line at dictating 'em," he said. He kept his home as it was, refusing, for example, to rearrange his vast library in some orderly fashion; he knew where everything was. Furthermore, he said, "I want Emerson in every room."
"Sandburg was writing for the children in himself ... for the eternal child, who, when he or she hears language spoken, hears rhythm, not sense."   ~ Verlyn Klinkenborg


Held many odd jobs, including work as milk-delivery boy, barber shop porter, fireman, truck operator, and apprentice house painter; sold films for Underwood and Underwood; helped to organize Wisconsin Socialist Democratic Party; worked for Milwaukee Sentinel and Milwaukee Daily News; city hall reporter for Milwaukee Journal; secretary to Milwaukee Mayor Emil Seidel, 1910-12; worked for Milwaukee Leader and Chicago World, 1912; worked for Day Book (daily), Chicago, 1912-17; System: The Magazine of Business, Chicago, associate editor, February to early fall, 1913 (returned to Day Book); worked for Chicago Evening American for three weeks in 1917; Newspaper Enterprise Association (390 newspapers), Stockholm correspondent, 1918, ran Chicago office, 1919; Chicago Daily News, 1917-30, served as reporter (covered Chicago race riots), editorial writer, and motion picture editor, later continued as columnist until 1932; wrote weekly column syndicated by Chicago Daily Times, beginning in 1941. Presidential Medal of Freedom lecturer, University of Hawaii, 1934; Walgreen Foundation Lecturer, University of Chicago, 1940. Contributed newspaper columns to Chicago Times Syndicate and radio broadcasts such as "Cavalcade of America" and foreign broadcasts for the Office of War Information during World War II. Lectured and sang folk songs to his own guitar accompaniment.

Monday, April 27

May Day!

Monday morning,
Looking ahead: this is a week of incremental greatness...

Don't believe me;
just watch.
* Make it a great week, all!

Sunday, April 26

How to Get On in Life.

Sunday home version.

Don't promise when you're happy;
don't reply when you're angry;
and don't decide when you're sad.
April is the cruelest month.
It's the weather:
With the barometric instability, you can get fooled if you let your guard down.
And then when it's safe to finally relax, you can keep your defenses up too long...
Still, summer comes.
An apple a day...
keeps anyone away,
if you throw it hard enough.

I Love the Correction* (ouch) ...

on this Alessandra Stanley story about Bruce, his Kardashian family, and what it means to be a woman.

Correction: April 25, 2015
A earlier version of this article mischaracterized Bruce Jenner’s stepchildren. Mr. Jenner has three stepdaughters and one stepson, not four stepdaughters.

Rob says:
Do Your Homework, Lady;
This Whiteboy keepin' his Junk!

First Bruce. Now Frank?
Did Frank Bruni of the NYT just come out as a Republican too?
Jeb Bush’s tack is more comprehensible. He utters much of what religious conservatives want to hear. But he also brings enough gays or Republicans who support same-sex marriage into his campaign to give Americans a signal of where so many of us in the party really are.

(Oh nevermind... I forgot he was writing the memo "in character".)

Saturday, April 25

Inheriting the Earth...

Hell yeah!
*What? That was my meek...

Rise and Shine.

Another new day...

(and a Spring Saturday, to boot...)

Make it a great one, no matter where you're headed.

Friday, April 24

One of Yours.

Big Surprise Tonight*: Bruce Jenner Comes Out as a ... Republican!

When asked about Barack Obama addressing LGBT rights in his State of the Union, the 65-year-old former Olympic athlete said that didn’t affect him much.

“I’ve always been more on the conservative side,” Jenner said.

Sawyer, looking shocked, asked if he identifies as a Republican, to which Jenner answered, “Yes.”
How do you like them apples?

* I don't watch trash tv, but I do read the Internet and skim the stories...

The man sounds megalomaniacal. His "Cause in Life" ... “This is why God put me on this earth…to deal with this issue.”
Jenner confirmed that he has not had gender reassignment surgery yet, but it could be down the line.

“I would do it so quietly no one would ever know.”
Maybe next, with lines like that, he could try his hand at being a comedian: The E! series also announced today that Bruce(?) will star in a gender-transitioning reality show set to premiere in July.

My take? A lot of young athletes miss out on an awful lot of early life, because of time spent in the pool, or on the track. A lot of them... (can we say it?) for that reason, are just plain dumb.

I wonder too, if years of recreationally taking hormones affects the brain, the way taking steroids affects the mind and body.

Let me just say, between the Kardashian crowd and the attention-seeking, I don't think this personal story will turn out well for him, once the spotlight dims and he has to simply live with him/herself, cameras off.

Perhaps what we have here, is an attention whore, which all transgenders clearly are not... (and which, of course, even non-transgendered people can be. Like with drugs, I think as your tolerance builds up, these types of addicts resort to wilder, and odder, ways of seeking attention...)

Somebody who loves him ought to pull Bruce(?) aside, like you do a typical teenager who is down in the dumps with worry over something trivial and offer this advice: "While it no doubt means the world to you right now, the truth is... the world is so big, it really is not concerned with the trivial details of your little life, when in the grand scheme of things, nobody cares about this as much as you."

Privacy, I think, is something he'll come to regret, one day, casting aside... Call it a hunch.

** Something you think might be weighing just as heavy on his conscience -- the killing of the woman in the traffic accident via his alleged vehicular negligence -- apparently was not discussed.

Nor is there anything online about whether Diane followed up and asked him if he would prefer to see Jeb, Scott, Marco, Ted or Chris as his party's primary nominee. (I guess Bruce got to just speak freely on his own terms, without a decent interviewer asking any hard questions of him. Missed opportunity. What if God put him on earth not to spread the family-reveal details of his cross-dressing hobby over the years and where he intends to go with it, but to urge people to take more care behind the wheel, to avoid taking other people's lives? Like I say, I just don't see this life ending well, once the tv series' are through with him, and there is no more audience to compete for or entertain... Best of luck to you though, ma'am. Honestly.)

*** I think what makes Bruce Jenner here different from other transgendered people, like Jennifer Finney Boylan, say, is that the latter actually has a life, aside from her gender identification.
Jenny Boylan has published twelve books-- a collection of short stories, three adult novels, four YA books written under a pseudonym, two memoirs, and two middle grade books in the "Falcon Quinn" series. Her next book will be a memoir about "parenthood in two genders," STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU, scheduled for publication by Random House in 2013. Before coming to Colby College in 1988 she worked with the original cast of Saturday Night Live as managing editor of "American Bystander" magazine, and also served on the editorial staffs at Penguin Books, Viking Press, and E.P. Dutton Inc. She was the Charles Walker Bassett "Professor of the Year" at Colby in 2000-01. Her academic concerns include fiction and nonfiction writing, American literature, and gender studies.  
Again, being a prized young athlete, Bruce likely did not develop any intellectual, social, artistic, or other life-related skills. Like an uneducated young actor with nothing to fall back on, I do believe that post-Olympics, Bruce has probably spend a good part of his life trying to define or "find" himself, to use the new-age lingo. Freed from the burden of having to actually work for living, he was able to create and pass through multiple families, all the while enjoying his hobby (cross-dressing) privately, before the Kardashian crowd taught him how to desire the warm glow of media attention, which he seems to shun... and then invite back into his intimate family life.

Again: it really might help to remember that despite the megalomania, you are just a person inside, Bruce. Just one individual, in a country and a world of many. Relax, dig deep, and try to find something to focus your life on, other than solely yourself, your family, or your attention-getting needs. (btw? All women are not into displaying themselves like that, which perhaps he never picked up on being around look-at-me! ladies, like Kris, Kim, Kylie and Kendall... Surely they're not in it for the money?)

Thanks Koch Brothers!

Gov. Scott Walker uses Koch money to help influence the vote in Wisconsin, and he's proud of the changes he's made on behalf of rentiers over workers up here.*  Speaking with pundit provocateur Glenn Beck, Walker gushed:

Deep, deep under fire and battle tested, I think I have extra layers of battle armor on there. You’re right: Madison, Wisconsin, which is kind of to the left of Pravda… it is the home of the progressive movement, the home of—AFSCME was started there, collective bargaining was started there… it was the state that had the first income tax. Who would have thought that that city and the state of Wisconsin that hasn’t gone Republican since 1984, we would be able to take on the public employee unions four years ago and not only win that battle but win the recalls against a whole bunch of state senators, win the recall against me and the lieutenant governor in the state, but now Wisconsin when it comes to public employee unions we have no seniority or tenure, we can hire and fire based on merit, we can pay based on performance, we’re the 25th state in the nation to have Right-To-Work, we require photo ID for voting, we’ve defunded Planned Parenthood and pushed pro-life legislation and we’ve passed concealed carry and castle doctrine, we cut taxes by $2 billion—in fact property taxes are lower today than they were four years ago—who would have thought all that would happen? But we said shortly after the 2010 election that we had to go big and we had to go bold and it was put up or shut up time. Even in Madison, Wisconsin, we were able to get that done.

But if you follow the money..
I would like to call for transparency, and ask Univ. of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse, and her second husband Laurence Meade -- a white transplanted Hoosier who romanced the professor online -- to be transparent about the recent donations to their blog, solicited both directly via PayPal, and indirectly pocketing a commission for products sold at

The professor blogs daily, and offers dubious legal analysis on behalf of Scott Walker;  she and her husband videotaped and mocked government workers legally protesting the elimination of collective bargaining rights in our state.

* Note:  Gov. Walker never went after the tenured professors here, who collect hundreds of thousands annually, while teaching perhaps 2 classes a semester, and neglecting legal scholarship once tenured.  Publishing a personal blog really is not the same as publishing scholarly legal analysis, akin to the weighty topics discussed on other legal blogs, where the scholarship is both recognized, cited by courts, and accompanied by publication in legal journals where these specialized matters are studied and discussed.

Althouse-Meade made no secret of their partnership:  Mr. Meade, a middle-aged father, divorced and with no college degree, is the non-working stay-at-home spouse, sharing the state employee's spousal benefits, and marital tax deduction that -- can we be honest? -- was meant to support the growth of families with children, assuming children are better raised with one parent in the home not working during their primary years.

Mr. Meade does take neighbors' dogs to the dog parks, where he photographs and posts on his own blog pictures of Madison-area pets, presumably with the owners' consent.  And he is a big opiner on his wife's blog, where his lack of education is proudly on public display, as in this post regarding Charlie Hustle:
Dozens of games that season, I would buy cheap center field tickets because my 3 yr-old was crazy about Eric Davis and she loved to chant his name at the end of every top inning. I still have the ball he tossed us.

There's a photo in SI when the Reds were fighting to hold onto first place against the Giants. Hal Morris is going head over heels into the home dugout after a high foul pop the just above the dugout is being caught by me and my two buddies. Well, one of my buddies is actually catching the ball. But, HEY, I had my hands up and I was reaching for it! 
All of Pete's marriages were gay. But he did not like his nipples played with. I remember reading that in his Playboy interview. What a great hitting gay weirdo he was.

The greatest hitting gay weirdo ever.
He's joking, of course.
But what's not really funny is how he, and his wife, are collecting money for ignorant and polarizing comments like that -- using social issues, esp. re. teh gays, to distract voters -- and the numerous posts defending Gov. Walker's legally questionable actions on her personal blog.

Who is donating?
Why not continue the Wisconsin tradition of transparency, and tell us who is donating how much and who is "employed" by the blog's revenues?

It is so easy for politicians' PACs to pump money into social media sites like that, where the professor trades in her years of legit teaching at the state law school, to influence the uneducated (*and perhaps fearful?)  white male voters in the state like her husband, who believe her legal work to be solid.  It's not.  She has a bias in her bonnet, and ought to decide which Master she is serving:

■ the state university that employs her and expects disciplined and unbiased scholarship;
■ the as-yet undisclosed money collected online to keep the blog spewing lowest-common-denominator opinions, which have noticeably been influenced in recent years by the presence of the undereducated and unemployed dependent she keeps at home.

(unless of course, for tax purposes, he's an "employee" of  her anonymous donation-soliciting blog...)

* Gov. Walker is also looking to suck taxpayer funds from public schools, available to all children, and subsidize, via tax redistribution vouchers, those families that choose private -- often religious-based -- educations for their children.  No thank you.
Walker, who's beginning his second term, delivered the spending plan to the GOP-controlled Legislature amid growing interest in his likely Republican presidential run. The $68 billion budget covering taxing and spending in Wisconsin over the next two years is the last one Walker will release before the 2016 campaign for the White House.

Walker said his budget would help deliver the "American dream" to people who have felt left out in recent years.

"Our plan is based on growth and opportunity, which leads to freedom and prosperity for all," he said. "Secondly, our plan will use common sense reforms to create a government that is limited in scope and, ultimately, more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to the public."

But his plan is already running into opposition from Republicans and Democrats alike, who cite concerns over a 13 percent cut to the University of Wisconsin System, no increase in money for public schools and a 30 percent increase in borrowing for roads and infrastructure spending.

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, clad in a red Wisconsin badger T-shirt beneath her black blazer, said proposed cuts to the UW system and public schools would lead the state in the wrong direction.

"This budget we think is going to be balanced on the backs of our middle-class families and our children," Taylor said.

Walker's budget would cut $300 million from the UW System. Tuition would be frozen over the next two years, while UW would be given more freedom from state oversight and laws.  Both Republicans and Democrats have said the cut is too large and will do irreparable harm both the university and state economy.

Walker is also calling for removing a 1,000-student lid on the private-school voucher program. Going forward, the program would be available to students transferring in from public schools at any point, and also private school students entering kindergarten, the first grade or ninth grade. Money to pay for it would come from state aid sent to those public schools losing the student.
School spending would be held in check to fulfill Walker's re-election promise to lower property taxes. Bills on a median-valued $151,000 home could go down $5 in each of the next two years.
Don't spend it all in one place, American Dreamers.

Thursday, April 23

Imagine There's No Borders...

I wonder if you can.

From Libya to the Middle East to our own country here at home, it's interesting to see what happens when we replace logic, reason, and the rule of law with guns and the non-respect of rules or borders.

How can we complain here at home when we see what we've done to Libya and the Middle East? That's destabilization, my friends.

We really don't have a refugee crisis like that here at home.
Just ... new neighbors.

(and the press, once again, is determined to make future elections about the importance of... gay marriage, standing up against "bullying", and Bruce Jenner's new look. While they're still studying and solving "Who is Responsible for the Jewish Holocaust", many voters are looking at all our military men and women have accomplished and wondering, "Who is Responsible" for the ongoing holocaust and displacement our "Good" wars have wrought? Another day, friends. Put that aside for another day... your children and grandchildren can figure it out, while we sit stunned wondering about the bigger issues of the day*... "Does Bruce still have his penis, or not?")

Imagine there's no gender


* I hope BaBa WaWa Diane Sawyer asks the questions that people REALLY care about... Like, were you ever charged with your actions that clearly resulted in the woman's death in the traffic accident, when you and your trailer rear-ended her in heavy traffic, pushing her into the path of an uncoming vehicle whose impact cost the woman her life?

What was THAT woman's name, Bruce?
Do you feel any shame over your inattention behind the wheel, and taking a life? Isn't all this "look at me! I'm as pretty as a lady will ever be..." a bit Kardashian, given the woman's recent death caused by your actions?

What are your priorities as a "woman", Bruce?
Is it all superficial show -- "girls as glam", or is there anything real still under there? Like perhaps, compassion, a conscience, or simply the need to run away from your high-end circus?

Wednesday, April 22

Lady Executive.*

Get On Off the Bus.

* (which translates to Marsupial in Italian, I hear...)

Thursday, April 16

Hey Kids, Let's Put on a Show!

Another NBC reporter's war story crumbles...
Knowingly, or unknowingly, it appears NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel was cast in a deadly rescue mission ... that wasn't:

NBC News on Wednesday revised its account of the 2012 kidnapping of its chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, saying it was likely that Mr. Engel and his reporting team had been abducted by a Sunni militant group, not forces affiliated with the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

In a statement posted on the NBC News website Wednesday evening, Mr. Engel said that a review of the episode — prompted by reporting from The New York Times — had led him to conclude that “the group that kidnapped us was Sunni, not Shia.” *  He also wrote that the abductors had “put on an elaborate ruse to convince us they were Shiite shabiha militiamen.”
Interviews by The Times with several dozen people — including many of those involved in the search for NBC’s team, rebel fighters and activists in Syria and current and former NBC News employees — suggested that Mr. Engel’s team was almost certainly taken by a Sunni criminal element affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, the loose alliance of rebels opposed to Mr. Assad.  The group, known as the North Idlib Falcons Brigade, was led by two men, Azzo Qassab and Shukri Ajouj, who had a history of smuggling and other crimes.
NBC executives were informed of Mr. Ajouj and Mr. Qassab’s possible involvement during and after Mr. Engels’s captivity, according to current and former NBC employees and others who helped search for Mr. Engel, including political activists and security professionals. Still, the network moved quickly to put Mr. Engel on the air with an account blaming Shiite captors and did not present the other possible version of events.
NBC’s own assessment during the kidnapping had focused on Mr. Qassab and Mr. Ajouj, according to a half-dozen people involved in the recovery effort:
  • NBC had received GPS data from the team’s emergency beacon that showed it had been held early in the abduction at a chicken farm widely known by local residents and other rebels to be controlled by the Sunni criminal group.
  • NBC had sent an Arab envoy into Syria to drive past the farm, according to three people involved in the efforts to locate Mr. Engel, and engaged in outreach to local commanders for help in obtaining the team’s release.
  • Ali Bakran, a rebel commander who assisted in the search, said in an interview that when he confronted Mr. Qassab and Mr. Ajouj with the GPS map, “Azzo and Shukri both acknowledged having the NBC reporters.”
Several rebels and others with detailed knowledge of the episode said that the safe release of NBC’s team was staged after consultation with rebel leaders when it became clear that holding them might imperil the rebel efforts to court Western support.

Abu Hassan, a local medic who is close to the rebel movement, and who was involved in seeking the team’s release, said that when the kidnappers realized that all the other rebels in the area were working to get the captives out, they decided to create a ruse to free them and blame the kidnapping on the Assad regime. 

“It was there that the play was completed,” he said, speaking of the section of road Mr. Engel and the team were freed on.

Thaer al-Sheib, another local man connected with the rebel movement who sought the NBC team, said that on the day of the release “we heard some random shots for less than a minute coming from the direction of the farm.” 

He said that Abu Ayman, the rebel commander credited with freeing the team, is related by marriage to Mr. Ajouj, and that he staged the rescue.

Mr. Engel, in his statement, said he did not have a “definitive account of what happened that night.” He acknowledged the group that freed him had ties to his captors, but said he had received conflicting information.

“We managed to reach a man, who, according to both Syrian and U.S. intelligence sources, was one of Abu Ayman’s main fund-raisers,” he wrote. “He insists that Abu Ayman’s men shot and killed two of our kidnappers.”

Mr. Engel said the kidnapping “became a sensitive issue” for Mr. Ayman. “Abu Ayman and his superiors were hoping to persuade the U.S. to provide arms to them,” he wrote. “Having American journalists taken on what was known to be his turf could block that possibility.”

In his Vanity Fair article, Mr. Engel described one of his captors lying dead. In his statement Wednesday, he acknowledged that he did not see bodies during the rescue. ...

Is it worse as a reporter to be honestly deceived, or to come back and hype your narrative, omitting inconvenient facts that contradict the righteousness of the rebel-support drama?

 (I know the answer for liability purposes;  I'm just asking about personal pride in the fact-gathering/story-telling craft, your job well done and all...)


*  I'm just a singer of simple songs.
I'm not a real political man.
I watch CNN, but I'm not sure

I could tell ya, the difference in Iraq and Iran...
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
and I remember this from when I was young...
Faith Hope and Love are some good things He gave us...
and the greatest is Love.
~ Alan Jackson.

Who Do You Love?
~ Thorogood & the Destroyers.

Tuesday, April 14

Undercover President.

I'm Lovin' It... :
Nor did the restaurant’s staff notice Mrs. Clinton, until this reporter, tipped off that she had dined there, telephoned. 
The Chipotle manager, Charles Wright, insisted at first that the tip must have been false.

But he offered to review his security-camera recordings, and quickly reversed himself. There was Mrs. Clinton, in a bright pink shirt, ordering a chicken burrito bowl — and carrying her own tray.
“The thing is, she has these dark sunglasses on,” Mr. Wright said. “She just was another lady.”
Some people in the restaurant at the time had even noticed that a man was taking pictures of Mrs. Clinton, he recalled, but no one had wondered why.
His employees, he said, were “kicking themselves right now.” Mr. Wright, 29, said that he was a Republican and was not planning to support her, but that knowing he had missed a chance to meet her “really hurts.”