May 26, 2018

"Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution" and "Elia Kazan: A Biography."

Books Harvey Weinstein carried to his arraignment, reported in The Daily Beast.
Could he have imagined that he would be allowed to carry the books through his booking? Did the mogul picture himself sitting around reading during the brief time before he was released on prearranged bail? Was he at all surprised that he only got as far as the front desk with them?

“Get rid of them now,” a lieutenant commanded.... “I’m guessing those books were placed by some consultant,” the lieutenant said. “Why wouldn’t you leave in the car what you wouldn’t be allowed to take? I’m sure it was some stylist.”
If you were "styling" the movie mogul for his rape arraignment, what 2 books would you put in his hands? "Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution" and "Elia Kazan: A Biography"???

I'd assume he was anticipating downtime and didn't want to be bored. 2 books (actually, there was a third, unnamed, book) is way more reading than makes any sense. So maybe he was trying to send a message. If so, the message is: I love show business.

"A street fight between three men and a single fighter... ended when two men were knocked unconscious and the lone fighter fled before police arrived."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports on something that happened here in Madison (on State Street).

The scrappy lone fighter is described as 5'8" or 5'9" and 145 pounds.

When the café opens at 6:30 a.m....


... and you had to wait 5 hours to be the first person in the door.

"South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a surprise meeting at the demilitarized zone Saturday aimed at keeping inter-Korean relations, and a possible summit between Mr. Kim and President Donald Trump, on track."

"South Korea’s presidential office announced the two-hour meeting after it had wrapped up, saying the two leaders met on the north side of the demilitarized zone and discussed how to successfully stage a summit between Messrs. Trump and Kim" (WSJ).

"While his wife, the actress Cheryl Hines, waited in the car, Robert Kennedy Jr. met with Sirhan for three hours..."

"... he revealed to The Washington Post last week. It was the culmination of months of research by Kennedy into the assassination, including speaking with witnesses and reading the autopsy and police reports. 'I got to a place where I had to see Sirhan,' Kennedy said. He would not discuss the specifics of their conversation. But when it was over, Kennedy had joined those who believe there was a second gunman, and that it was not Sirhan who killed his father. 'I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence,' said Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and the third oldest of his father’s 11 children. 'I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father. My father was the chief law enforcement officer in this country. I think it would have disturbed him if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.'"

I guess it's news that the son of RFK feels like that, but other than that, it's The Washington Post flogging conspiracy theory titillation.

"In Portland, Ore., organizers of the 'Reparations Happy Hour' invited black, brown and indigenous people to a bar and handed them $10 bills as they arrived..."

"... a small but symbolic gift mostly funded by white people who were asked not to attend.... 'It was only $10, but when I saw them I saw their eyes light up,' he said. 'What I saw there was that people felt like they were finally seen.'"

The NYT reports.

So let's see... white people get off making black people "light up" by handing them money — a 10 dollar bill.


ADDED: What if men at a bar funded the practice of offering a $10 bill to women who would come in? I guess some women would step up to take the bill, but I assume a lot of women, like me, would scoff and think you are so pathetic and quit insulting me.

ALSO: This reminds me of those affirmative action bake sales where opponents of affirmative action offer cookies for sale for, say, $1 if you're black and $5 if you are white. Except liberals rankle at that.

"He is prone to unhinged Twitter eruptions. He can’t handle criticism. He scolds the news media for its purported dishonesty..."

"... and threatens to create a Soviet-like apparatus to keep tabs on it. He suckers people to fork over cash in exchange for promises he hasn’t kept. He’s a billionaire whose business flirts with bankruptcy. He’s sold himself as an establishment-crushing iconoclast when he’s really little more than an unusually accomplished B.S. artist. His legions of devotees are fanatics and, let’s face it, a bit stupid. I speak of Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, the Donald Trump of Silicon Valley."

Writes Bret Stephens at the NYT.

"Ireland is set to liberalize some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws after exit polls suggested a landslide vote for change..."

Reuters reports.
Voters were asked if they wish to scrap the eighth amendment to the constitution, which gives an unborn child and its mother equal rights to life. The consequent prohibition on abortion was partly lifted in 2013 for cases where the mother’s life was in danger....

“Yes” campaigners argued that with over 3,000 women traveling to Britain each year for terminations - a right enshrined in a 1992 referendum - and others ordering pills illegally online, abortion is already a reality in Ireland.

The federal government did not lose 1,475 migrant children.

Speaking of headlines... did you notice "The feds lost — yes, lost — 1,475 migrant children" (in USA Today)?

Here's Rich Lowry (National Review) asking "Did the Feds Lose 1,475 Migrant Children?"
[T]hese children weren’t in HHS custody. They were placed with sponsors that HHS vetted. It’d obviously be better if HHS could locate all of the sponsors in its follow-up. Some of them surely moved, and perhaps others, if they or family members are illegal immigrants, may not want to be in further contact with authorities.

Hillary Clinton does not want to be CEO of Facebook.

I know I'm partly to blame for linking to a headline that's in this form because it's clickbait, but I've got to complain about "Hillary Clinton Wants to Be CEO of Facebook." It's getting attention, perhaps as a set-up for jokes about her wretched like-with-a-cloth relationship with technology.

But Hillary was doing a "lightning round" interview in which the question was sprung on her, "If you could be a CEO of any company right now, what would you choose?"

She had to say something fast, and she blurted out what is the name of the most conspicuous company, Facebook. That doesn't mean she wants to run the company. It just means she thought of an answer to the question and she had some ideas about how to use the question to get to some things she had ideas about, which is what she did.
The former secretary of state explained that Facebook “is the biggest news platform in the world.” “Most people in our country get their news, true or not, from Facebook,” she said. “It really is critical to our democracy that people get accurate information on which to make decisions.”
Some people think it was outrageous for Donald Trump to apply for the job of President when he had no experience in political office, and maybe it was, because the application worked and now we've got him running the country, whether he knows what he's doing or not. But here comes Hillary purporting to offer to run a company when she has no experience or expertise in the area. She openly states that she wants it because it's where the power is.

Except she doesn't really want it, not the actual responsibility of running Facebook.

And how ridiculous to think that Facebook could solve its problems of how to function in a democracy by installing as its leader a person completely identified with one political party!

"Given the torrent of revelations of abuse against women in the #MeToo era, the [term 'wife-beater,' for the sleeveless undershirt] suddenly seemed grossly inappropriate."

That line was a forehead-slapper for me. It's by Moises Velasquez-Manoff in "Are We Really Still Calling This Shirt a ‘Wife Beater’?" (NYT).

The word that got me was "suddenly." Is Velasquez-Manoff telling us that he just noticed the transgressive violent edge to "wife-beater"? It's right out there. If you think it's okay that you didn't mind until #MeToo woke you up, then why should we condemn the men who are at the receiving end of #MeToo accusations? Without #MeToo to enlighten them, they didn't realize how bad their behavior was. Why not indulgently advise Harvey Weinstein, et al., to go and sin no more?

I've never not noticed that "wife-beater" is a terrible joke of a name for a shirt. And that's what it is, a joke:
“People aren’t calling it a wife beater because they believe that beating your wife is O.K.,” Adam Klein, an assistant professor of communication studies at Pace University, told me. But the willingness to casually evoke violence against women implies a strange double standard. “We accept misogyny as cool,” he said, even as we know that racism is unacceptable.
The question is whether you think it's a good joke. You know what it is. You hear the words, but did you/do you think it's cool? And "'We accept misogyny as cool,' he said, even as we know that racism is unacceptable" is a nonsequitur: Those who know racism is unacceptable may still use "hipster racism" — expressions that are racist but are thought not to  convey actual racism because they come from someone who is understood not to be racist. It is accepted as cool (by some!). And it's the same way with misogyny. Even among those who know it's unacceptable, it can feel cool. It's a joke. It's hipster sexism.

I think it's a bad joke, though I can picture myself in a situation, with an intimate friend, where I might let loose and say, "I see you're wearing your wife-beater." But as a casual, general term, it sounds like you don't care about domestic violence or you think you have hipster privilege... and that's not a good look.

May 25, 2018

Trump's antagonists are enjoying themselves over the break in the momentum toward a North Korean deal.

But the process isn't over, and I assume it's a dealmaking dance in which breaks like this a part of the process. Isn't that what Trump wrote in "The Art of the Deal" and has talked about innumerable times? Trump haters shouldn't exult over his failure until they see how this ends. And maybe even then, they shouldn't exult. Don't we all want a better, safer world? Or is seeing Trump fail better?

"The increasingly irascible Tesla chief executive went on a 24-hour, anti-media tirade from Wednesday to Thursday..."

"... culminating in an online poll that saw nearly 700,000 people showing their support for his plans to create a website to vet journalists’ credibility," the NY Post reports.
[Elon] Musk said that he is thinking of a site where “the public can rate the core truth” of news stories, as well as track “the credibility score” of journalists and publications. The website would be called “Pravda,” the Russian word for “truth” and also the name of the official newspaper of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party.....

“Come on media, you can do it!” Musk taunted. “Get more people to vote for you. You are literally the media.”
Come on, media, drive traffic to my new website. You can do it!

"Once the blaze was doused, firefighter Thomas Hunt’s eyes zeroed in on the ashes: clothing, jewelry, and a human nose and fingers appeared to be in the smoking pile."

"'Why are you burning a body?' the disturbed firefighter asked the homeowner, Ouissem Medouni, Hunt would later testify. 'It’s a sheep,' Medouni, a French Algerian financial analyst, replied. 'Bollocks,' the firefighter answered. Later, Hunt would tell a court Medouni then insisted the remains were from an animal, but that a look of 'resignation' crossed his face, as if 'the game’s up.'"

From "A London couple’s shared delusions led to the torture and death of French au pair" (WaPo).
[T]he judge in the case noted the crime was a remarkably rare instance of “folie a deux” — or dual psychosis. [Sabrina] Kouider, diagnosed with depression and borderline personality disorder, had affected [infected?] her lover with her own unhinged delusions. The testimony presented at the trial showed the couple submitted the young au pair to starvation and brutal torture until she admitted her part in the fantasy that had twisted both Medouni’s and Kouider’s minds — a convoluted paranoia about Kouider’s ex-boyfriend, a famous Irish pop star.... Mark Walton... of the 1990s boy group Boyzone....

Fifteen months before her death, Sophie Lionnet had come to work for Kouider and Medouni..... At the trial, prosecutors stated that during the last six weeks of Lionnet’s life, the couple had become convinced Walton had seduced Lionnet, and that in return the au pair was drugging Medouni so Walton could sneak into the home and sexually abuse Medouni.

The couple began starving Lionnet and subjecting the au pair to brutal interrogation sessions, beating and dunking her head underwater until she admitted she was in league with Walton, according to testimony. The couple recorded the sessions on their cellphones. Police recovered eight hours of interrogation footage.

“So where is [Mark Walton’s] house? Because you fancy him, he is charming. . . . I don’t think he abused you, you wanted it,” Kouider told the au pair in one of the final sessions, according to the Telegraph. “And whenever you come back to the house, I smell sex.”

"Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who posed as black, charged with welfare fraud."

WaPo reports.
The investigation into Dolezal began in March of last year when an investigator from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services learned she had written a book that had been published.... At this time, Dolezal had been reporting a monthly income of less than $500.... In total, between August 2015 and September 2017, Dolezal’s bank statements showed she had deposited nearly $84,000, documents said. Investigators believe the money came from her book, speaking engagements and selling art, soaps and handmade dolls....

"Behind the Scenes of Harvey Weinstein’s Arrest."

By Ronan Farrow at The New Yorker.
After a seven-month investigation, the producer Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to the New York Police Department's First Precinct on Friday morning to face sexual-assault charges. According to law-enforcement officials, the charges against Weinstein are based on the allegations of two women. One is Lucia Evans, a marketing consultant and former aspiring actress who told The New Yorker last October that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in his Manhattan office, in 2004. The day after the publication of that story, police detectives began trying to meet with Evans about filing a formal criminal complaint. One of the police sources called Evans “a highly credible witness with corroborating evidence.” In an interview on Thursday, Evans confirmed that she was pressing charges against Weinstein. “At a certain point, you have to think about the greater good of humanity, of womankind,” she told me....

The day after the New Yorker story was published online, two detectives drove to upstate New York to visit Evans’s parents at their home.... The officers had told her that they might not be able to bring charges without her coöperation. “They said that if I do nothing, Harvey would walk,” Evans said. “I think the significance hit all at once.” Evans said that she initially felt “proud to be a part of this movement, just knowing I could do this for everybody.”...

After months of what Evans described as sleepless nights, she decided to proceed with the complaint against Weinstein. “We gave her time,” a source involved in the investigation said. “We worked with her gradually to make sure she was comfortable. Even when she came in and told us the story in the D.A.’s office of what had happened, we still weren’t, like, ‘Boom, it’s going forward.’ ”

"Smoked 3 joints been bothered by non cops 6 times... Suck my d--k San Antonio... San Antonio sucks and so do their tacos."

Tweeted the comedian Ronald Funches, quoted in "Comedian unhappy with San Antonio shows leaves a crude message for the city" (LMT online).

I'm blogging this because: 1. I think the contrast between the insults and the headlines is funny, 2. I can't tell exactly how hostile/self-critical Funches really is and the complexity intrigues me, 3. The concept of "non cops," 4. The specificity of the numbers 3 and 6 and the issue whether details like that are essential to humor, 5. This is the second post of the day and the first post had brats and this one has tacos.

Robert Indiana's last sculpture — in the style of his iconic "LOVE" — "BRAT."

"Brat," meaning bratwurst, commissioned by Johnsonville Sausage, the Wisconsin manufacturer of brats.  There's a lawsuit accusing Indiana's associates of taking advantage of him in his old ages, the NYT reports, and the revelation of "BRAT" seems
[A] company that had long acted as Mr. Indiana’s business agent, Morgan Art Foundation, accused [Michael McKenzie, an associate of Mr. Indiana, who worked with the fabricators of "BRAT"] and the artist’s caretaker in Maine of isolating him from his old friends and business connections so they could market unauthorized or adulterated versions of his work....
McKenzie noted that Indiana had renamed himself after his home state and was into midwesternness, and brats are a big Wisconsin thing, but no one seems to be saying that Indiana had a special love of brats. I guess the question is whether Indiana chose to make money by trading on "LOVE."

It seems particularly prostitute-y when LOVE is for sale.

I feel sorry for Johnsonville Sausage, which bought something cool for itself and now finds a cloud hanging over it.

Pop art has always had playful reference to commercial art, so are commissions like "BRAT" really a sellout?

Here's a photo of one of Indiana's "LOVE" sculptures I took the last time I was in Indianapolis:


Indiana did many versions of "LOVE." Here's a list at Wikipedia. If he did all those, why wouldn't he do "BRAT"? How serious was he about "LOVE"? And, more importantly (from a Wisconsin perspective), how serious are brats?

May 24, 2018

At the Springtime Café...


... blossom.


Background: "Women accuse Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior, harassment" (CNN).