February 10, 2016

"From the start, Anna claimed that the 'rape' was nothing of the kind, but rather a long-simmering and unlikely romance that..."

"... after much sensitive discussion, had at last been consummated. D.J. can neither talk nor dress himself, but Anna argued that he was able to communicate using a keyboard, as long as she was there to hold his hand and give support. 'I’ve dreamed about this,' she said he typed the first time they tried to have sex."

From "What Anna Stubblefield Believed She Was Doing." Stubblefield had been the chair of the philosophy department at Rutgers University in Newark and she wrote: "I believed that he and I were intellectual equals, and that our romantic relationship was consensual and mutually loving. I intended no harm, and I had nothing to gain."

From the comments:
I sat as a juror on this trial. This woman is no she-ro and deserves no one's pity. I wish the NYT and the writer would stop trying to persuade the public that she is some tragic hero that is being persecuted for falling in love with a disabled man. She is a predator, and as her husband stated "a pathological liar and narcissistic." She deserves no pity....

"Day 28: thinking about starting a herb garden."

Lovely animation from Ashleigh Green. Check out the whole blog.

"Is It Selfish for a Gay Couple to Have Kids via Surrogacy?"

The NYT "Ethicist" answers a question from David Lat (of Above the Law)("Sometimes when we mention this in conversation, people ask us, in a chiding tone, Why don’t you adopt?")

I noticed this via Facebook, where David Lat says it's the second time The Ethicist has answered a question from him. The first one, back in 2010, was about eating cookies from a minibar and then, before the hotel noticed, replacing them with identical cookies bought much more cheaply from a store. I was more interested in the cookie question, and what I said over there was:
Wow. Congratulations on getting two questions answered by The Ethicist. I haven't read the new one yet, but I enjoyed the cookie one. I had a problem with the analogy, though. It was clearly inapt. He said "You might with similar logic stop by the Staples Center and present vendors with a bottle of the same brand of beer you drank at the Lakers game last night" and ask for a refund, but in that scenario the employees have to do some extra work, interacting with you and processing the refund. In your situation, the minibar looked exactly the same and no one did any extra work. My problem with what you did would be that I wouldn't want to be the occupant of a room with a minibar that is presented as if it were tended to by the hotel's employees but really contains items that have traveled in the possession of some other hotel guest, some stranger. But then every hotel room is full of molecules that have traveled on (or in!) the person of previous guests. It's an ineffable fussiness.
I know the origin of babies is more important than the commerce in cookies, but the particularity of the cookie question intrigued me, and I'm drawn to bad analogies. I feel a sort of ethical duty to expose them. And then there was the underlying current of disgust over the residue of all those unknown guests who have occupied that hotel room that you need to think you can sleep in. As for getting a baby through an egg donor and a surrogate mother... is it selfish? There's so much selfishness in the baby-having business, once you stray away from an absolute spiritual merger between sexual intercourse and open, full acceptance of the occurrence of new life. You ought to think about that, but should you confront other people about what they are doing in that area? It's bad etiquette at least, but it's ethically bad if you're singling out gay people for your lecturing.

"Let's just stop boomersplaining politics to millennials."

Great word, boomersplaining. That's a piece in The Daily Kos (by CCBOhio). Excerpt:
Millennials’ choice of Bernie Sanders for president makes perfect sense, and boomer-age Democrats simply have to stop bashing them for it. Young people are also critical to the future of the Democratic Party. The party would be much better served if its leaders could figure out how to bring young Sanders supporters into the fold rather than ignoring them, silencing them, mocking them, or claiming their priorities will “never, ever” happen.

One point you make throughout your writing is that your generation of women has faced untold amounts of blatant sexism.  I get that.... But: Sexism is not the only issue that matters.  It is one of your main issues, and it is important.  But other issues are also important.  What bothers me so much about your ongoing defense of yourself through Hillary Clinton is that you do not seem to care about anyone or anything else. Please: Stop boomersplaining and start listening....
I found that as I was Googling to find my way back to something else I'd seen recently, the idea that Millennials — perhaps younger Millennials — have a newly emerging capacity to love Boomers — as we Boomers become what is to them the grandparent generation. The idea — developed as an explanation for the Bernie Sanders phenomenon — is that the loathing of Boomers happened as we were the parent generation. Each new generation must grow up and become independent of its parents, and some part of that necessary process of maturation is going to be experienced as rebellion and hostility. It's the age-old strife between children and parents. But grandparents are in a different position, at a greater distance. They intrude less into your life, but they are there, loving you, admiring you, wanting the best for you, inspiring you to rise to treasured, traditional ideals, not expecting too much for themselves, but truly hoping the world will live on with a new set of good people. The grandchildren can find their way into good feelings that the children withhold.

There's still plenty of hostility toward Boomers, and it's natural and understandable. But as one generation moves into later stages of life and a new generation comes on the scene... well, the aging Boomer in me writes that sentence and the song that distracts my train of thought is: One generation got old/One generation got soul/This generation got no destination to hold/Pick up the cry/Hey, now it's time for you and me/Got a revolution (got to revolution)/Hey, come on now we're marching to the sea...

Oh? See? That was a test... that worked as test. Do you hate the Boomers? I went full Boomer on you. Did you like that "revolution" theme? Everyone's saying "revolution" today, after the numbers Bernie (and Donald) racked up in New Hampshire. You know, Bernie Sanders is not a Boomer. He was born in 1941. He's in the grandfather generation and can attract the love of those who still feel the need to distance themselves from the Boomer-parent generation. We Boomers need maybe 5 more years to feel the kind of love that currently flows to Grandfather Bernie.

Okay, I've done enough boomersplaining. I'll stop now and get a little older.

"Hillary Clinton is set to campaign with Trayvon Martin’s mother and Eric Garner’s mother."

And so we turn to South Carolina.

The narrative of the primary season proceeds from ethanol, to heroin addiction, to black people. Are black people pleased to find themselves the subject of the week or is this irksome?
[The Clinton] campaign, sources said, is expected to push a new focus on systematic racism, criminal justice reform, voting rights and gun violence that will mitigate concerns about her lack of an inspirational message.

“The gun message went silent in New Hampshire,” remarked one ally close to the campaign. “Guns will come back in a strong way.” She is expected to highlight the problem of gun violence as the leading cause of death among African-American men as she campaigns in South Carolina on Friday.

In her [New Hampshire] concession speech... Clinton began to preview that new message... “Where people are held back by injustice anywhere in America, that demands action,” she said. “We also have to break through the barriers of bigotry.”
South Carolina has an open primary, by the way. Consider:

You said you wanted a revolution...

Well, you know...

You want a revolution? (Check all that apply.)
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"We’re all complicated people voting for complicated people. We’re not census subgroups falling in line."

"I’ll go to the barricades for that imagined gay candidate if he or she has talents I trust, positions I respect and a character I admire. If not, I’ll probably go elsewhere, because being gay won’t be the sum of that person, just as womanhood isn’t where Clinton begins and ends."

Writes Frank Bruni (who is gay) in the NYT in "Feminism, Hell and Hillary Clinton."

I'm quoting this, even though it is utterly banal and shouldn't even be worth saying, and maybe it's not anymore, as we see what's happening to Hillary. But I'm blogging it, perhaps in the hope that we are experiencing the end of an era in which insights like this were published as profundities and bloggers quoted them as if indeed they were. I'm making a show of the perspective I have, a little dance in the Theater of Optimism.

"It’s hard to avoid the suspicion that the [Iowa] party establishment is trying to protect Hillary."

Says Howard Kurtz, observing the suppression of the raw vote totals.
Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that McGuire, an Iowa co-chairman of Clinton’s 2008 campaign, drives a Buick with the license plate HRC2016.

February 9, 2016

It's some kind of revolution in New Hampshire...

... as far as I can tell, watching the pre-returns CNN. It's a lefty thing, I think. They're very jazzed up about Bernie Sanders. But what about Donald Trump? Isn't that a revolution too?

ADDED: Trump, winning by 18% or so, plays the song "Revolution."

"It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director."

"It was pretty glowing about us... It’s so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now."

Don't you want to lean on the Bernie Sanders guy with the silky-soft, mouse-brown raincoat?

ADDED: Meade was consuming this through headphones and I heard him say "Oh, my gosh." What was that? Oh, he was just repeating what some young woman in the video was saying as the guy in the raincoat embraced her. Then Meade said "I think Gloria Steinem was right" and starts singing "Where the Boys Are."

"Why Young Democrats Love Bernie Sanders... They have a lot in common with Ron Paul supporters."

According to Nate Silver. "Young voters have a more favorable view of socialism," but...
That doesn’t mean America is undergoing a leftist or revolutionary awakening, however. The biennial General Social Survey has a long-standing question about wealth redistribution, asking Americans whether the “government in Washington ought to reduce the income differences between the rich and the poor … perhaps by raising the taxes of wealthy families or by giving income assistance to the poor.” ...

... What’s distinctive about both the Sanders and Ron Paul coalitions is that they consist mostly of people who do not feel fully at home in the two-party system but are not part of historically underprivileged groups.

The future of nostalgia.

Get ready. Here it comes...

"Sometimes when I am on a stage like this, I wish that we weren't married, then I could say what I really think."

"I don't mean that in a negative way. I am happy."

Said Bill Clinton, introducing his wife.

I puzzled over that for approximately 3 seconds. The phrase "I wish that we weren't married" is certainly striking, coming from a husband, but obviously he means for us to imagine the much harsher words he'd be free to use if he were an independent speaker. As a husband, what he says automatically attaches to her, and he needs to be careful. He knows he needs to rein himself in and not say something like what got him in trouble back in 2008: "Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen."

ADDED: He wants to be a Hillarybro.

"The hard, jagged object... dark blue and small enough to be held in a closed hand" fell from the sky and killed a man...

... in India:
The object slammed into the ground at an engineering college over the weekend, shattering a water cooler and sending splinters and shards flying....
It needs to be tested to determine if it's a meteorite or some man-made junk. 

Where did it come from — this myth of "Bernie bros"?

I'm seeing articles like "Bill Clinton Accuses Bernie Bros of Sexism." But what are "Bernie Bros"?
Fully committing to the patently false idea that Sanders’ supporters are uniquely nasty, TIME reported on Clinton’s recent New Hampshire speech thusly:
Clinton also called attention to a collection of male Sanders supporters dubbed ‘Bernie bros’ who launch vitriolic attacks on Clinton supporters online in solidarity with the Senator’s cause. Though the Sanders campaign has distanced itself from the “bros,” Clinton suggested that Sanders supporters made it difficult for women to speak freely about his wife’s campaign online.

Bloggers “who have gone online to defend Hillary, to explain why they supported her, have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat,” Clinton said Sunday.
Dubbed? Who dubbed? Are there guys who've adopted that term for themselves or is this the way Clinton supporters have decided to collectively insult male Sanders supporters? It's weird to be reading this so soon after Gloria Steinem — in her ham-handed effort to help Hillary — said that young women who are for Bernie are going where the boys are.

My ancient ear isn't well-tuned to the nuance of "bro," but to me it feels like a sexist insult, perhaps a mild one, like calling young women, "chicks." But I sense that "bro" refers to a particular type of man, and yet, I'm not picturing the type of man who'd be hanging out in a left-wing political campaign (which is another reason why Steinem's remark didn't work very well).

I'm seeing at ThinkProgress: "Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Don’t Want That Crap.'" Does that mean Sanders acknowledges the existence of a cadre called "Berniebros" (or Bernie Bros)?

"[E]qually fit men and women demonstrate their fitness differently."

"Whether physical fitness standards discriminate based on sex, therefore, depends on whether they require men and women to demonstrate different levels of fitness.... [T]he numbers of push-ups men and women must complete are not the same, but... the fundamental issue [is] whether those normalized requirements treat men in a different manner than women.... [A]n employer does not contravene Title VII when it utilizes physical fitness standards that distinguish between the sexes on the basis of their physiological differences but impose an equal burden of compliance on both men and women, requiring the same level of physical fitness of each."

Said the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Bauer v. Lynch, decided January 11, 2016, dealing a loss to a man the FBI rejected because he couldn't do the required 30 pushups. He could do 29. If he'd been a woman, 14 would have been enough. But if he'd been a woman, he wouldn't have been able to do 29 pushups, now, would he? What's harder, for a man to do 30 pushups or a woman to do 14? The FBI is trying to set a standard that makes the 2 tasks equally hard. That's equality enough for Title VII purposes.

Isn't it odd that he could do 29 but not 30, when 30 was the requirement? How does that happen? Such perfect facts for the argument he ended up making. A losing argument, it turned out.

What do you think of these "gender-normed" standards?

"She just said a terrible thing. You know what she said? Shout it out because I don’t want to — OK, you’re not allowed to say..."

"... and I never expect to hear that from you again. She said — I never expect to hear that from you again! — she said he’s a pussy. That’s terrible. Terrible."

For the annals of saying something without saying it. But he said it! No, he didn't. It's the old use-mention distinction.
The use–mention distinction is a foundational concept of analytic philosophy, according to which it is necessary to make a distinction between using a word (or phrase) and mentioning it, and many philosophical works have been "vitiated by a failure to distinguish use and mention."
Trump even chided the woman... and yet, the chiding was comical. The man who normally denounces political correctness — who says we haven't got time for political correctness —  is scolding a lady for saying Ted Cruz is a "pussy."

So, he got the word out, got his distance from it, displayed some comic chops, and reminded us that political correctness isn't something to be completely thrown out. You transgress it strategically, and you call it back strategically. Keep them guessing. He wants to be unpredictable.

ADDED: Clint Eastwood calls a kid a "pussy" to "man him up a little bit":

What's going to happen after Trump wins big in New Hampshire?

Consider the scenario, described in The National Review — which hates Trump — by David French — who uses the subjunctive because he thinks Trump might not win big:
[T]he race would move on to South Carolina with Ted Cruz wounded slightly by the New Hampshire results, Rubio wounded badly, and the trio of governors energized just enough to stay in and keep attacking Rubio in the quest to gain exclusive ownership of the so-called “establishment lane.” Under this scenario, the loyal Trump plurality gives him disproportionate power not just in South Carolina but in the massive “SEC primary” that follows one week later. The longer the muddle lasts, the more powerful his plurality becomes. He can keep coasting as his rivals tear each other apart in their quest to create a true three-man race. Who will be the first to drop out when their polls are no better or worse than those of multiple competitors?  The primary calendar is front-loaded with states friendly to Trump and Cruz, and unless there is sufficient clarity following New Hampshire and South Carolina, the GOP establishment may just claw itself into irrelevance.
Too many governors! You can't have 3, doing the same thing. If only one of them were stronger than the others. If only the strengths of each could be merged into one Super Governor. But the GOP establishment is stuck with 3 governors, all incapable of running to the front in the governor lane. So they take shots at Rubio, and their argument is, basically, he's not a governor. He's not responsible for any consequences in the real world, because that's what it means to be a Senator. How funny for Trump to be loping along easily in the I'm-not-even-a-politician lane! How grim for the Trump-haters! And just when the Democratic Party is collapsing in an even more ludicrous scenario.

How are you feeling about this? (Multiple answers OK.)
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"Men should protect women. They should not shelter behind mothers and daughters."

"Indeed, we see this reality every time there is a mass shooting. Boyfriends throw themselves over girlfriends, and even strangers and acquaintances often give themselves up to save the woman closest to them. Who can forget the story of 45-year-old Shannon Johnson wrapping his arms around 27-year-old Denise Peraza and declaring 'I got you' before falling to the San Bernardino shooters’ bullets?"

From "Only a Barbaric Nation Drafts Its Mothers and Daughters into Combat," an editorial in The National Review.

This is a traditionalist view of the female role, but it is deeply connected to physical and emotional differences that hold true for many (though not all) males and females. It's one thing to open the military to woman who, knowing themselves, choose to volunteer. But the many women who feel drawn to the caring, nurturing role should be allowed to hold their place back home, preserving the reality of home — a place with children and old people — and the idea of home — which must live in the minds of those who go far away to fight.