Saturday, November 28

Things the Younger Generation Taught Me...

this weekend.

She pronounces her name Adell, not Adele. (Ad-e-lay.)

Who knew?  I should be listening more, and reading less.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Pound it Home:

The Great Recession began in December 2007, and ended officially in June 2009. As of October 2015, the unemployment rates in half the states in the country had fallen to or below their pre-recession levels. In the other half, unemployment rates were still higher than before the recession.

Conditions could be worse. They could also be so much better.

In general, joblessness is currently trending down and job growth is trending up, according to the latest government report on job conditions in the states. Obviously, those are positive indicators of continued healing in the labor market.

On the other hand, the time it has taken just to get to this point suggests that for many if not most people, the standard of living that can be achieved by working has been permanently reduced — by long bouts of unemployment and underemployment, by unstable and insecure employment, by long-term stagnation of wages and, perhaps most significantly, by the failure of Congress to use fiscal policy, consistently and aggressively, to counteract the devastation of the recession and its corrosive effects on the economy.

For some people in some places, steady work is simply no longer a way of life, if it ever was. In several states where jobless rates have fallen to pre-recession levels, including Illinois and Ohio, the drop is due mainly to shrinking labor forces, not increases in hiring. When unemployment rates go down because people have despaired of ever finding a job, the economy is not really improving. Rather, it is downshifting to a less prosperous level.

There are two related ways to counter that downshift. One is to make productivity-enhancing investments that create jobs today and lay the foundation for future growth. Such investments would include bolstered spending for education, transportation, environmental protection, basic science and other fields that are the purview of government. The other is to enact policies to ensure that pay and profits from enhanced productivity are broadly shared, rather than concentrated at the top of the income-and-wealth ladder. Such policies would include strict anti-trust enforcement, steeply progressive taxes, a higher minimum wage and support for labor unions.

If those public investments and public policies were broadly enacted, optimism would be warranted. The economy has recovered from the worst and proven resilient; concerted action by government at all levels, though overdue, could further the progress.

But for now, there is mostly talk – in Congress, in state houses and in the presidential campaign – about investments and policies, and much of the talk, especially from Republicans, is about how government should not step up to the nation’s economic challenges. The economy has recovered from the worst and proven resilient, but it is being held back by what government at all levels has failed to do.

I think Teresa Tritch simply captures the economic realities at the base of so much domestic social unrest.

People with the security of work routines have communities built-in, paychecks to budget and spend, and a sense of purpose and worth.

We need to ask ourselves how best to employ people meeting our country's unmet needs (and there are plenty! -- both physical, educational and social), while the private sector economizes and responds to the marketplace of "best management practices", even if it means coldly reducing the numbers in their permanent workforce.  That's just business, not responsible for social problems like we governments are.

And then vote for the government representatives on all levels who understand the wisdom of financial long-term strategies in employing people (note: I didn't say mailing them a limited monthly stipend...) who in turn will lift the economy and the country via healthy dollar circulation at all levels, in all neighborhoods, just not in equal proportions.*

Dare to Dream...
(or remember, depending on how far you can look back...)


*   (some paychecks obviously will still be 10 times bigger, but having even smaller amounts of money -- able to be counted on regularly -- flowing into more pockets and circulating more freely than in the past decade will empower choice and spur responsibility.  Especially if the money is tied to working, contributing and committing to a steady routine where other humans are counting on your regular participation...)

So Blessed.

An awesome holiday weekend
with loved ones... safe and dry travels
home opening the blinds to just-enough snow
on the pine.  And the American flag flapping
in the breeze, a few flights up.  That's good.

But have we mentioned, it's only Satur-day?
A truly sated one at that.

ADDED:  Maureen Dowd makes me laugh, with her almost-but-not-quite (for the lack of an overflowing table) (commissioned?) Renaissance portrait of the family table, with brother Kevin proclaiming as the head...

(It's all in the hands.)

How does she manage to take two weeks off from column writing, and still capture the national mood from coast to coast?

Cracks me up...

Wednesday, November 25

Tone Deaf.

It's not just awkward, it's embarrassing to listen to our speech-reader-in-chief talk to the country in that tone.   But you can't really blame the speechwriter for the inserted ad-lib here, or the president's being out of the country and missing the mood of the nation this holiday season...

It's so much bigger a role, than just a minor one starring... You!

Just listen to the poor transition (at :53 seconds in)... he goes from describing a picture of him and his wife, kissing, to talking about ... that night of tragedy.  These are two different speeches, two different tones.

"This murderous group, ISIL or Daesh, and its murderous ideology poses a serious threat to all of us.  It cannot be tolerated.  It must be destroyed and we must do it together.  This is the unity of purpose that brings us here today.

"By my bed, in the residence, is a picture of me and Michelle in Luxembourg Gardens, kissing... Those are the memories we have of Paris.  It was early on; I had no gray hair..."

"So when tragedy struck that evening, our hearts broke too. ..."
(Note: no one laughs at grey hair jokes here, dumbass; you're lucky to safely grow old...)

Our president likes to take the familiar, to buddy up and pretend he is just like us.  His power of personality has made all of the work in his administration personally about him. But of course, he's not just a regular Joe, if he ever was, because of his office...

People here care about what is happening on American streets.  Whether or not our minorities are properly assimilating and meeting the social and education needs of their own communities.  We can no longer tolerate the divisions, because we understand better now what we ultimately risk by alienating from the democratic process our own American underclass.

People here are not willing to hear that we are going to war on behalf of France, because their leader came a-calling, and our guy once kissed his wife there and has a special memory.  Our Congressional representatives need to decide that, after hearing from us.

The condescending media is spinning the message, but no body is giving much credence to what wise Americans are saying regarding our own national priorities, social policies, and internal security needs. 

The American people, despite the media push and the primary promises, will no longer quietly bear the costs of fighting for foreign causes, with shifting players, payoffs and promises coming in from abroad too, about what are dollars are buying and achieving, other than a rush of refugees fleeing the chaos that unending warfare leaves behind...

It's time we spent those dollars building trust and security here at home by integrating our own diverse racial and ethnic groups.  Some believe:  if you want to beat terrorism, like if you want to win the war on drugs, or cure your way to good health, you  have to address the causes that make people self destruct. 

(Listen closely to the promises he makes at :32  "poses a serious threat to all of us.  It cannot be tolerated.  It must be destroyed and we must do it together.  This is the unity of purpose that brings us here today.

"By my bed, in the residence, is a picture of me and Michelle in Luxembourg Gardens, kissing... Those are the memories we have of Paris.  It was early on; I had no gray hair..."

"So when tragedy struck that evening, our hearts broke too. ..."

Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. President.  Give Michelle a kiss, and keep your Paris private memories close, as close as the bedside table in your residence even...  but please?

Now that you're back in town, keep your personal and your private separate, and have a bit more respect for the gravity of the situation.

It's really not about you, and anybody who is telling you that was a smooth transition from the personal to the professional is lying to you, sir.

Tuesday, November 24

Names in the News.

and faces too.

That's the officer who shot the man 16 times in Chicago last October, whose dash-cam video a Cook County court ordered released this week after a freelance reporter filed suit under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Dropping It... Non-Fiction Style.

"Chi-Raq" is not a perfect film. Still, I liked it. And I'd pay to see it again
I liked Spike Lee's new movie "Chi-Raq," the story about the gang wars and all the lives lost in the war zone that is Chicago. The politicians and Mayor Rahm Emanuel won't like it. But that's OK.

After it was over, I thought there was one more thing Lee could do for Chicago. He should sell his Knicks courtside seats, forget New York for a while and stick around here to watch the mayor remove the political stones from his shoe in a heater case.Because a new film  -- actually a video -- premieres in a day or two. And this one is nothing like "Chi-Raq."

This one is a silent video from a police dash cam. It is said to depict a Chicago cop pumping 16 rounds into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, a young man stretched on the pavement, twitching as the bullets enter his body.

So in the video, unlike "Chi-Raq" there is no music or dancing, no phallic references or thrusting hips. No beautiful women denying sexual favors to gangbangers until the mean boys drop their guns and stop the killing and become men.

I couldn't help wonder what Lee might do with the McDonald story: white cop emptying his gun, black kid with a knife and PCP in his system, activists primed, City Hall making with the intrigue, Cook County politicians playing the game and creaky old Rev. Jesse Jackson in the wings.
Coming soon, to a neighborhood near you...

Monday, November 23

Chickens Coming Home to Roost.

Just... wow.
Super-feminist, rape survivor, law professor and Fox pundit Susan Estrich appears to pull a 180 here, re the importance of "embryos" and the ultimate role of the female human body.  (Hint:  if you thought the mind was the primary driver, Susan plucks a line from the past...)

An embryo is not life, but it isn't an expensive painting or a block of stock, either. Commodifying it, treating it like any other object of a contract, seems wrong — not from the point of view of the expanding cells in the embryo, but from that of the parents, and especially the mother. The ex-husband can look forward to someday having a family with another woman. Dr. Lee is losing the only chance she has at what is, for many of us, the most important thing we ever do, which is to have our children.
Quite revealing, really.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Monday Morning Prayer...

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life...
and I had to start again
with just my children
and my wife...
Well I'd thank my lucky stars!
to be living here today
where the flag still stands for Freedom
and they can't take that away...

And I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free...
and I won't forget all those who died
and gave that right to me...
And I'll gladly stand up -- next to you
and defend her, still today...
'cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God bless the U.S.A. !
Happy Thanksgiving week, all.

(Next time I get my hands on the camera, I'll have to post you the views out my current apartment home in Oakdale and workplace in Eagan.  Smashing views of oversized American flags in both places;  no, I didn't plan it that way... but at home, I especially like the way the flag, waving in the winds and afternoon autumn sun, ripples the wall shadows inside...*)

* "I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round..."

Saturday, November 21

Michigan State Upsets Ohio; No Safe Space for Badgers in Madison.

Northwestern won at Camp Randall
playing defense.  Go Cats.

Friday, November 20

We Won't Stop...


Frrrrrrrriday, friends!
Do it up right now...

Sign o' The Times.

After 30 Years in Prison, Jonathan Pollard Is Freed.
He was sentenced to life for his crimes against the country, remember?

Poor traitorous fella. He has to live with himself, still.
Did he ever have a soul to sell?

Women in Hollywood.

Waiting for the Green Light:
"The No. 1 script motif I read is a woman chained to a wall. It’s almost de rigueur now. I look back nostalgically at slasher films. At least then, the girls were main characters in speaking roles."
"All they like is ‘Superman,’ ‘Batman,’ those kinds of things, because it sells foreign, because it doesn’t have a lot of dialogue. Even the comedies are sophomoric. They remake things that are lying there while the people who have done it already are still alive. I’ve read and seen horrible stuff. Sometimes the people who are in charge of things are a little dumb."
"I feel that there is something going on underneath all of this which is the idea that women aren’t quite as interesting as men. That men have heroic lives, do heroic things, are these kind of warriors in the world, and that women have a certain set of rooms that they have to operate in."
"I’d love to work at a clip of a film a year. We don’t get the benefit of the doubt, particularly black women. We’re presumed incompetent, whereas a white male is assumed competent until proven otherwise. They just think the guy in the ball hat and the T-shirt over the thermal has got it, whether he’s got it or not. For buzzy first films by a white male, the trajectory is a 90-degree angle. For us, it’s a 30-degree angle."
"There’s a myth in the business that young males drive the box office. Maybe a decade ago or so that was true. I don’t find that true now at all. I actually think women drive the box office."

"Remember the great Ebola scare of 2014?"

"The threat of a pandemic, like the threat of a terrorist attack, was real. But it was greatly exaggerated, thanks in large part to hype from the same people now hyping the terrorist danger."

The more we learn, the more we understand that the brothers attacking in Paris last week -- in a plot organized and orchestrated by one of them -- sound much like the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston. Just smarter, and involving others.

The "mastermind" was the final attacker of the eight, allegedly killed in a raid days later, just as one Tsarnaev brother was killed, and another taken alive in the days after the Boston terror attacks.

I was proud at how Boston responded: back on her feet, up and moving as quickly as possible. Paris will get there too.

Luckily, the French did not bomb Belgium to smithereens.

It remains to be seen whether the world over-reacts and shoots itself in the economy responding to the deaths, in kind; Whether we choose to compromise our morals, and accept the consequences of a 'Life is Cheap' attitude here at home, which is what the killers always want to teach us.

What lessons will you take away from the past week, and who is teaching you today?

Happy and healthy weekend to all;
we went from pushing 60 degrees on Wednesday, blustery and springlike with the winds from the south, to hovering at 30 degrees yesterday, also a windy one, but overcast with none of the previous day's sunshine. Snow swirled, winter announced her presence, but my feeling is she will be milder this year. Not so deadly cold.

Thursday, November 19

Angrier and Angrier.

The murderous terror has struck Gush Etzion and Tel Aviv," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, according to Ynetnews. "My heart is with the families of the murdered and I send my wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded. Whoever condemned the attacks in France needs to condemn the attacks in Israel. It’s the same terror. Whoever does not do this is a hypocrite and blind.”

It's Jeb!

Looks like his mother there.

* Cartoon by Ann Telnaes.
The Sheep and the Goats*

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?

'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"

The Word of the Lord.
"Thanks be to God."

* Matthew 25:39.
(whereby the righteous are blessed to understand that they share in eternal life.)
But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Wednesday, November 18

"You Won't Have My Hate..."

I don't think you have to be a Christian to share this man's thinking, or understand his love for his child.  That's who really benefits here by his refusal to harden his own heart, out of hatred or fear...

"Vous n'aurez pas ma haine":

"Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional person, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you won't have my hatred. I don't know who you are and I don't want to know, you're dead souls
If this God for whom you so blindly kill made us all in His image, each bullet in my wife's body was a wound to His heart.

No. I won't make you this gift of hating you. You have it coming, but to respond to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance that made you what you are. You want me to be afraid, to look at my fellow citizens suspiciously, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You lose. The player still plays."

Oh hell. Read the whole thing...
“Vous n’aurez pas ma haine”
Vendredi soir vous avez volé la vie d’un être d’exception, l’amour de ma vie, la mère de mon fils mais vous n’aurez pas ma haine. Je ne sais pas qui vous êtes et je ne veux pas le savoir, vous êtes des âmes mortes. Si ce Dieu pour lequel vous tuez aveuglément nous a fait à son image, chaque balle dans le corps de ma femme aura été une blessure dans son coeur.

Alors non je ne vous ferai pas ce cadeau de vous haïr. Vous l’avez bien cherché pourtant mais répondre à la haine par la colère ce serait céder à la même ignorance qui a fait de vous ce que vous êtes. Vous voulez que j’ai peur, que je regarde mes concitoyens avec un oeil méfiant, que je sacrifie ma liberté pour la sécurité. Perdu. Même joueur joue encore.

Je l’ai vue ce matin. Enfin, après des nuits et des jours d’attente. Elle était aussi belle que lorsqu’elle est partie ce vendredi soir, aussi belle que lorsque j’en suis tombé éperdument amoureux il y a plus de 12 ans. Bien sûr je suis dévasté par le chagrin, je vous concède cette petite victoire, mais elle sera de courte durée. Je sais qu’elle nous accompagnera chaque jour et que nous nous retrouverons dans ce paradis des âmes libres auquel vous n’aurez jamais accès.

Nous sommes deux, mon fils et moi, mais nous sommes plus fort que toutes les armées du monde. Je n’ai d’ailleurs pas plus de temps à vous consacrer, je dois rejoindre Melvil qui se réveille de sa sieste. Il a 17 mois à peine, il va manger son goûter comme tous les jours, puis nous allons jouer comme tous les jours et toute sa vie ce petit garçon vous fera l’affront d’être heureux et libre. Car non, vous n’aurez pas sa haine non plus.

I saw her this morning. At last, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell head over heels in love with her more than 12 years ago. Of course I'm devastated with grief, I grant you this small victory, but it will be short-lived. I know she will be with us every day and that we will find each other in heaven with free souls which you will never have," he writes.

"My son and I, we will be stronger than all the armies in the world. I cannot waste any more time on you as I must go back (to my son) who has woken from his sleep. He is 17 months old, he'll eat his snack like any other day, then we will play like every other day and all his life this little boy will dare to be happy and free. Because No, you won't have his hatred either," says the gut-wrenching post.

Tuesday, November 17

#Admit It.


Monday, November 16

Letter to the Editor...

Interesting reading:

Autumn is upon us in Wisconsin, and a bountiful harvest season is well under way.

Farmers throughout the state continue to work hard, invest in new technologies, and take steps to increase the productivity of their operations.

For their efforts, farmers have been rewarded with near record grain production – along with low commodity prices.

In many cases, if someone does their job well, they are rewarded with a raise. All too often in farming, the opposite is true.

While farmers are told that the key to success and increased profitability is to grow more food more efficiently, we continue to encounter situations like this year: Record crops accompanied by low commodity prices that barely cover a farmer’s cost of production.

Low commodity prices and high input costs did not “just happen.” They are a direct result of a lack of competition in agricultural markets.

Currently three firms (Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, and Syngenta) control over half of the global seed market, up from 22 percent in 1996.

These same three firms also control more than one-third of the global pesticide market.

This intense industry consolidation, along with the near disappearance of seed saving practices, has led to a dramatic increase in seed prices. It has also led to situations in which a single firm owns the rights to (and controls the price of) both the seed a farmer purchases and the chemicals that a farmers relies on to protect that seed.

In some cases, a farmer who purchases a specific variety of seed is contractually obligated to also purchase proprietary chemicals owned by the same firm.

Just last week, another case of industry consolidation slapped family farmers in the face when the Department of Justice announced the purchase of Cargill Inc.’s pork unit by JBS SA.

With approval of the deal, more than 70 percent of the pork processing ability in the United States is now controlled by just four companies.

The move reduces marketing opportunities for family farmers and could directly impact pork prices for consumers.

Farmland prices have also dramatically increased, further narrowing the profit margin for farmers.

From 2009-14 farmland rental prices rose from $79 per acre to $130 per acre, a 65 percent increase.

The driving factors of this increase are agricultural policies that encourage increased production without consideration of the effect on the farmer’s bottom line.

This increase in price also makes it difficult for beginning farmers to access land, which is troubling considering that the average age of the American farmer is 58 and climbing.

The above issues are all symptoms of a much larger problem – our current system of agricultural production is rigged against family farmers.

Instead of markets and government policies that help all to thrive, we have markets and government policies that enable the largest operators, processors, input manufacturers, and crop insurance companies to become even larger.

These firms have everything to gain and nothing to lose from using their wealth, power, and influence to maintain the current “get big or get out” system of agricultural production, in which farmers must continue to adopt new technologies and strive to increase production regardless of demand.

Farmers – not large corporations – are the ones forced to tighten their belts in response to low commodity prices.

But there is another way.

In order to level the playing field, robust competition within agricultural markets is vital.

We must advocate for increased and improved enforcement of federal anti-trust laws pertaining to agribusiness concentration.

Federal and state regulators should revise and reform existing legislation to ensure fair market pricing and avoid non-competitive monopolistic and oligopolistic market control.

Crop insurance must undergo major reforms and become a true risk-management program that no longer encourages the overproduction of a few commodity crops.

Now is the time to work for changes that favor sustainable production rather than overproduction.

Now is the time to advocate for a system that allows farmers to earn a decent price for the food they grow rather than one that prioritizes enormous profits for a few large corporations.

We must all work together to take these important steps.

Because farmers deserve better.
Zach Herrnstadt, Government Relations Associate
Wisconsin Farmers Union

Good News from the Group of 20 summit meeting...

He had me worried for a minute there, as you never know who has the president's ear...

Mr. Obama insisted that he has not shown any hesitation to act militarily, citing his approval of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and his decisions to expand the number of troops in Afghanistan. But he said he would not be pressured into “posing” as a tough president by doing things that will not make the situation better.

What I do not do is to take actions, either because it is going to work politically or it is going to somehow, in the abstract, make America look tough, or make me look tough,” he said.

Can Hillary say the same?

Comments Closed at 10:30am, after only 63 post.

Oy vey! Where was the editor on this one?

Midway, Midwest 4 hours ago
psst. Charles?

The deadly Paris attacks reinforce: all lives matter. We all bleed red. In a free society, there can never be any guaranteed safe spaces, not in classrooms, concert halls, stadiums, or sadly, even churches. We must all "swing together' in the choir of a shared humanity...

As we see more and more social integration, bi-racial children, and world re-settling, it is time for all good men and women to step up and reaffirm what has not changed by the events of last Friday: Life is Precious. Life Matters. Hatred/Division is Easy and Cheap.

I invite you to join us, Charles. Don't write generically, telling us what "one" has seen and what "one" must do. You and me make us. Together, we shall overcome the slavery issue of the 19th century, the segregation of the 20th, and the demanding issues of citizenship, identity and race in the 21st.

It's not just words, Charles. That's not the "work" needed. It's the daily actions of workers, of every color and creed, who get up and accomplish something daily. Forget the labels, prizes and awards. What did you do to respect the lives of others today? How did you help? The more you think like that, the less you will self-isolate and swing alone.

In response to:
Before there were the Paris terror attacks that changed everything and the second Democratic presidential debate that changed nothing, much of America had been transfixed by the scene playing out on college campuses across the country: black students and their allies demanding an insulation from racial hostility, full inclusion and administrative responsiveness.

There was a part of the debate around those protests that I have not been able to release other than by writing here, one step off the news, but hopefully in step with the history of this moment.
You can’t condemn the unseemly howl and not the lash.

Furthermore, I fully understand the desire for safe spaces, for racial sanctuary, particularly in times of racial trauma. I have always had these safe spaces, not by black design, but as a byproduct of white racism.

I grew up in the rural South when racial segregation was no longer the law, but remained the norm. I have gone to predominately black schools most of my life, schools that began so or became so because of white people’s deep desire to resist racial commingling. But what was born of hate, black folks infused with pride and anointed with value.

There existed for me a virtual archipelago of racial sanctuaries, places — communities, churches, schools — where I could be insulated from the racial scarring that intimate proximity to racial hostility can produce.

That is, I assume, what these students want as well.

In Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s foreword to Harvard professor emeritus Martin Kilson’s American Book Award-winning 2014 book, Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880-2012, Gates quotes an interview that Kilson gave The Crimson in 1964. Kilson said: “I suppose we’re looking for a new Negro identity, a psychological process, which has its roots in a broader Negro community.” Kilson continued, “It’s true that Negroes, like anyone else, prize individuality. But the thing the compulsive liberal can’t understand is that we also like to swing together. You know, like we did in my good father’s church back home.”

At no time is swinging together more important than when the death threats start to come and media vultures start to circle.

"Forget it, he's rolling..."

Ann Althouse has her own "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" moment this morning. Lol.  Philip introduced the phallic, and ann bit!

From a NYT interview of the 2 women (who are sitting together in RBG's chambers):
Philip Galanes: Let’s start with a glaring inequity. Only one of you has a rap name.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: I like the way mine began. A second-year law student at N.Y.U. was outraged by the court’s decision in the voting rights case. But instead of just venting her anger, she took up my dissent.

PG: Happily, there are rap-name generators online.

Gloria Steinem: They have those?

PG: Yours, if you want it, is GlowStick.

GS: We may need to work on that.
Imagine getting your rap name from Ruth Bader Ginsburg and not laughing or saying something positive. What goes on in Gloria Steinem's mind?

Nothing with "stick" or anything that could be construed as phallic? Or, just, nobody's going to be assigning names to me — I and I alone define myself?

Anyway, the results are in: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is more fun than Gloria Steinem.

posted by Ann Althouse at 6:24 AM on Nov 16, 2015

Israeli Soldiers Raid West Bank Refugee Camp.

Turns out,
Paris didn't change much of anything, afterall.

Ah well, some will always seek to benefit by the deaths of others.... it's a short-term mindset, particularly when your country is currently guaranteed secure borders and an American-guaranteed "safe space" under an American-taypayer-financcd Iron Dome.

How can people afford to live like that, decade after decade, I wonder? They've never tasted true freedom, nor the blessings of true independence in their homeland, I guess. Thank God for the American Constitution here, it makes all the difference.

"Wise Men say:
Only Fools Rush In

Israel recently revived the tactic of house demolitions after a break of a decade because of human rights concerns and questions about its effectiveness as a deterrent. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel recently pledged to expedite the legal process for approving demolitions as part of an effort to curb the recent wave of violence. Human rights organizations have denounced the measure as a form of collective punishment.
“During the activity, suspects opened fire at the forces,” the military said in a statement, referring to the raid at the camp. “In response to the immediate danger, forces fired towards the attackers.”

The military said three people had been shot in the raid, adding that hundreds of Palestinians had clashed with the soldiers and thrown firebombs, improvised explosive devices and rocks at them.
The Palestinians who were killed were identified as Laith Manasra, 21, and Ahmad Abu al-Aish, 28. Witnesses said that a third Palestinian who had been critically wounded was removed from a Palestinian ambulance by Israeli soldiers, who detained him and transferred him to Israeli custody.

Bassam Manasra, 24, a mechanic and the cousin of Laith Manasra, said troops entered the camp at 2 a.m.

“The youths went out and began to clash with them in an attempt to stop them from entering further into the camp,” he said.

Mr. Manasra said the forces had spread out into every alley of the crowded camp and had placed snipers on rooftops. He said he had heard yelling and the sound of automatic gunfire...
After noon prayers on Monday, thousands of Palestinians joined the funeral march to the camp cemetery with the two bodies of those killed the night before. Participants were flying the flags of Fatah; of Hamas, the Islamic militant group; and the Palestinian flag.

After the burials, hundreds of Palestinians violently clashed with Israeli forces at the nearby military checkpoint. The Israeli forces responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Talk about pinpoint precision for punishment... not.
When will the Israelis learn that others believe in justice and avenging the deaths of their own too? Only when American taxpayers pull the plug on protection?

Blurred Writing.

Well now, it's not fair to pick onDavid Brooks, when a younger female columnist was caught making the same tonal mistake over at the Bloomberg News.

Drinking to Blur Party Lines
Nov 13, 2015 2:57 PM EST
By Megan McArdle

There was perhaps a time in America when your political affiliation was a modest part of your identity, like your preference for the Rotary Club over the Lions Club, or for Fords over Chevys. Perhaps. If that time ever existed, it is clearly gone. Increasingly, politics is tangled up with your choices about everything from friendship to cars. The Republican who likes avant-garde novels and $200 nose-to-tail dinners, the Democrat who confesses to an unironic affection for Nascar and marshmallow Jell-O salad -- these aberrations may be tolerated, but there will always be a little asterisk next to their names, denoting a suspicion that they are not reliable party faithful.

In such an environment, no detail of your consumption should be left to the happenstance of personal taste, lest you inadvertently signal some sympathy with the amoral cretins of the opposition. Your house, your clothes, your home furnishings -- are all reflections of who you are as a person, which is to say, as a voter. Even your choice of wines may be safely left up to political ideology, now that National Review on the right and the Nation on the left have started offering wine clubs to their fans.

Naturally, I had to subscribe to both.
If it weren't time-stamped, I'd swear she stole a page from Brooks' playbook: you know, going in, that you're shamed to be spending so much for so very little (is the plated nose-to-tail dinner for example, a freshly caught and finely cooked fish? for $200? somebody's pockets are leaking money...)*.

So like Brooks, McArdle turns up her nose at what she's not paying for...
For $70 apiece, I was sent two boxes of wine, each containing 14 bottles. Then I invited over my friend Matt Ficke, a software developer who used to be a sommelier and the manager of DC’s fanciest cocktail bar. We sat down with his wife, Becks, and my husband, Peter, to discover what we had.
It took us three bottles to get to anything that anyone would consider drinking for any reason other than scientific inquiry.
The next bottle, a Silver Pony Cabernet Sauvignon from the Nation, represented a substantial regression. Matt licked his lips, stuck out his tongue and looked pained. His wife dumped the glass into our spit cup, declaring that it was too sweet. Indeed, when I tasted it, it was unpleasantly reminiscent of communion wine.

Things did get better after that, though they were uneven. ...
“Why would they send you a 2012 sauvignon blanc?” asked Matt. Sauvignon blancs are generally supposed to be drunk young.

“Under no circumstances would I finish a glass,” said Peter.

“This is my new cooking wine,” said I. Becks gave it a 3, but only for use in white wine spritzers.
If you read it for fun, the story is a hoot, complete with "scientific" tabulating in the end -- after the drinking -- comparing the "republican" wines with the "democratice" wines from the two clubs, and declaring a "winner".
And who won the showdown? National Review won, even though they didn’t have the best bottle. However, the Nation was getting dragged down by the 0 points everyone had awarded the rose, and it felt a little unfair to the Nation to judge them on a bottle that had been corked -- something that does happen despite the best efforts of vintners and distributors. So I re-ran the numbers knocking out the highest and the lowest rated wine from each box … and National Review still won. Conservatives who feel dissed by wine-sipping coastal snobs now have a rebuttal ready.

But if you weren't reading for fun, but for advice?
If you prefer a Miller Lite, of course, then you should probably skip the wine club. You can always devote more time to your Facebook rants to prove your party loyalty. To whichever party.

I think the biggest takeaway, the most pertinent exclamation of our mindless times is this:
Take the Freebies! A healthy expense account, whether it be trips you're not gung-hu about or wines you spit out, is really the ultimate 21st century status symbol. For both parties, no?
Well, I canceled our subscriptions, but that’s because we now have 30 bottles of wine sitting in our house waiting to be drunk. (Yes, I forgot to cancel right away, and I ended up with a second shipment from each club.) At the introductory price of $70 a box, the shipments were a great value. At the regular price -- about $10 a bottle -- it sort of depends on what you’re interested in.

* Nope. Nose-to-tale is just a native throwback: new chefs are discovering ways to eat the whole animal, with little wasted. In some places, that never went out of style...

ADDED: I'm not a big drinker myself, but I think for younger patrons, many are passing on the wines and going iin for the craft brew craze. No political signaling, but then, this is not DC.


Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care
Leave but don't leave me
Look around and choose your own ground

For long you'll live and high you'll fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

Run, rabbit, run
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down, it's time to dig another one

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.


Lessons the NeoCon Republicans Taught Us...

"We won't get fooled again..."

(Somebody turn Mitt on to the news.)

The president was right when he called the Islamic State a cancer, but it is a cancer that metastasized on his watch. Paris is proof. So are Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and North Africa. What we saw Friday we will see here if we continue on the present course. It’s time to change that course, secure the safety of our homeland and preserve our democratic values. Now is the time, not merely to contain the Islamic State, but to eradicate it once and for all.
Only America can lead this war, and that leadership means being willing to devote whatever resources are required to win — even boots on the ground. We have the best-equipped and most dedicated military for good reason. The president must stop trying to placate his political base by saying what he won’t do and tell Americans what he will do.

We must do what it takes.
It takes much, much more than guns and soldiers, Mr. Romney. That's the scary thing...
(Think: Conviction of the Heart.)

Sunday, November 15

Lose a Game, but not your Voice.

After some yahoos at Lambeau Field today allegedly hollered "Muslims Suck" to end the mandatory moment of silence before the football game in memory of those killed Friday in Paris, the Green Bay Packers went on to lose to Detroit.

The quarterback saw fit to address the issue, in the news conference after the game.

"I must admit I was very disappointed with whoever the fan was that made a comment that was very inappropriate during the moment of silence," Aaron Rodgers said.

"It's that kind of prejudicial ideology that puts us in the position we're in today as a world."
Lots of Muslim-Americans in Detroit... I'm glad the Lions got a win today. Maybe Detroit needed it more...

In other big news...

Holly Holm shocked the world
with her upset of Ronda Rousey
last night.

I don't follow, but Mal always has the tv on...

In that world, this is big.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Ronda Rousey was the UFC's unstoppable force until Holly Holm used the former champion's aggression against her to produce one of the sport's biggest upsets.

Rousey chased Holm around the ring at UFC 193 on Sunday — looking for the right hold and taking head shots along the way — until Holm saw an opening 59 seconds into the second round and snapped a kick to the head that immediately dropped her more fancied opponent to the canvas.

Holm (10-0) jumped on the prone Rousey, delivering several blows to her head before the referee intervened, ending Rousey's 12-fight unbeaten run and handing Holm the bantamweight title.

An ecstatic Holm jumped around the ring while Rousey stayed on the canvas as she received medical treatment amid the roar of a stunned, record UFC crowd.
Picture at the link.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow.

Luke 18:1-8

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
As for me and my house...

"She Wanted to Have a Different Life..."

AP video, up at The Washington Times:

"She was very independent, since she was little. ... She was so happy... she was hoping to have a different life, not only like most of our people, who go to work and come back home every day.  She wanted to have a career... and a family."
Pray for Peace, people everywhere...
And don't give in to the hate and xenophobia.

Never give up, never never never.
"I can feel it in my heart that she's ok. That's really...
I just... I just said, 'okay'."