Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday roundup, brought to you... getting up before the crack of dawn so I can do laundry so that the cat has clean sheets to shed (and hopefully not puke on) while I'm on vacation.

We all pay a price for devaluing women.

Billy Bush's op-ed is good but not that good. He does succeed at framing.
We Americans tend to be, as a culture, skilled at telling and reacting to individual stories, and much less good at appreciating the systems that give those stories their broader shape.
At a conference in Iceland, gender stereotypes are reversed.

Mr. Prats Monné wanted to know more about the building, a striking modernistic structure, and someone pointed him toward a gentleman in a gray suit.
“The building manager or something,” Mr. Prats Monné explained after they spoke.
When I told him later that the man turned out to be the speaker of the Icelandic Parliament, Mr. Prats Monné laughed. “In this setting, when you see a man, you assume he’s the janitor.”
 When Petri's good, she's good.
There's a pretty clear line between something like this: A congressman's accuser: Blackballed and baby-sitting for cash and less power-driven flirting at work.
 It is completely within the norm of human exploratory romantic behavior for people to take steps—sometimes physical steps—to see if the other person reciprocates their feelings. It is OK to flirt with a person who you aren’t sure wants to be flirted with. It is OK to not be 100 percent great at reading signals. It is even OK to be grossed out by someone’s advances, as long as those advances stop once you make clear you aren’t into it. There are predators and harassers, even more of them than I thought, and there are some lines that are simple to draw, even if we haven’t been enforcing them until now... The difference between actions that can get you married and actions that can get you fired can’t simply be whether or not the person you are interested in is interested back. Careers should end when someone tries, and is rebuffed, and does not heed that rebuffing. Careers should not end just because someone tried. We’re not all attracted to the people who are attracted to us.
Kashana Cauley on patriotism.

Even artificial intelligence has to actively combat bias. I mean, look at that flow-chart with the cats and dogs!

Check out these bad bitches.

The Chicago Pile reactor was cool. Scallop eyes are really cool.

Some decent cleaning hacks for pet owners.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saturday roundup (brought to you by Exhaustion)

Because if I were less exhausted, I would be cleaning.

I wouldn't know what to say to people who have lost so much.

As North Korea missile explainers go, this is a very good one. And here's a good one on "gay" wedding cakes.

Just another way a country's xenophobia ultimately just fucks it over. Conversely, as I noted earlier this week,

The tax bill is, needless to say, horrendous.
The story of this Afghan filmmaker gives me life.

Rosa Brooks speaks for so many of us about why we let things go at the time.
They were so common they were forgettable. Inappropriate comments and the occasional drunken assault? They were only what every woman expects to encounter in the workplace.
You don’t get a special “survivor” merit badge when you’ve only gone through what every woman goes through, do you?
There’s a continuum of crappy male behavior, and it runs from the merely obnoxious and offensive all the way through to the clearly criminal... But none of it’s okay, and at every point along that spectrum from merely offensive to actually criminal, crappy male behavior is part of what pushes women out of the national security workplace.
This this this this:
The solution to eliminating sexual harassment is not to lock up women, but to hire and elect them. And ffs, listen to them.
And--this has been said but it cannot be said enough: this wave of accountability and reform must reach beyond white collar workspaces. All women in all workplaces must be free of harassment and assault.

This Veritas thing is amazing in its ineptitude. It's almost satire.

Also deserving of satire: the Times domesticated-nazi profile.

This is how you profile a questionable character (in this case, Jill Stein).

Well, that's creepy.

Getting more people to eat less meat is more effective (at mitigating climate change and saving animals) than getting fewer people to eat none.

Kids often have an intuitive sense that something's not quite right about meat. My stylist was just telling me that her young daughter is turning away from it and will say things like, 'poor chicken!' See also, this awesome kid.

Moving on to Large Adult children... it's amazing how absurd and silly the first children are.

This is a spring-2016 interview that I only recently came across; contrast what we see now with the graciousness here:
In some ways, when you struggle for a while, and you’ve had the ability of being an ordinary person and you’ve gone shopping, changed diapers and tried to figure out how to pay the bills and so forth, so that you’re not some overnight success. Then handling some of these issues ends up being easier because you have a better sense of perspective. You don’t sense somehow that this is because I’m just so special, or because I’m so much smarter than that other person. Because in fact you’ve known those other people who are talented and smart and capable. In some ways you got a break, you were lucky. And that, for me at least keeps me grounded because it reminds me that, you know, for all the blessings and privileges and responsibilities that I’ve gotten, I’m just representing a huge cross section of people who are talented and capable and supported me getting to where I came from.

Carolyn Hax rightly appraises this characterization as genius. I've been there.
I seem to be trapped in a producer role for an audience that doesn’t care but won’t leave the theater either.
Yep, this is how I feel about xmas music.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving ramble

Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays growing up; it wasn't religious, and so didn't make me feel either too Jewish or not Jewish enough. My family celebrated it with a set of close family friends they'd met in ESL classes, and whose daughters were my good friends. I hear the people who refer to TG as the genocide holiday, but I subscribe to a different perspective--one of little comfort to Native Americans, I know, but one of immigrants finding each other and finding their way.

My parents' friends became very successful. I recently talked to an admiral who described America as the place where if you immigrate here with nothing and work three times as hard, you can be as successful as your neighbors. It's my job as a voter to make sure that stays true, or becomes true again.

Starting my second year in DC (and in grad school), I started celebrating Thanksgiving with friends--one of them whom I'm joining this afternoon. Not unironically, the friend because of whom I opted out of another Thanksgiving celebration once asked me why I was such a "fag hag." Which Jay will point out that I'm not, but, you know, deplorables. I've celebrated many Thanksgivings with this friend who's hosting today, and I've been to a few countries with him. When we were in South Africa last summer, I reveled in the America that we were the face of, we being two gay men, four African-American women, a Chinese woman, and an immigrant. Traveling together, NBD; that's what makes America great.

I think of the few Thanksgivings I didn't celebrate, especially the one that my parents had planned to come down for but didn't. I thought about it yesterday as I shopped (unsuccessfully) for portabellas for my wellington, thought about all the food I bought and the invitation I'd turned down, and not so much how casually my mother opted out because the weather would be bad for driving, but how she continued to waste my time afterward to convince me that it was my decision.

I think about how my dad still does that kind of thing all the time, to a lesser extent, not out of not giving a shit (which was at least partly my mom's deal) but because he doesn't understand how things work. He doesn't understand that airline tickets get more expensive after a certain point (and there's no use in telling him, just like there's no use in telling him that vegetables will go bad if left out of the fridge). I try to cut my dad slack--he's a good person and I love him more than anything. But I also understand why he habitually drove my logistically-oriented mother batshit. I mean, it was partly her but also partly him.

I still hear my mother's voice in my head, nagging me. Usually it's when I'm running late, but today it was about the wellington: so much fuss for one dish! Which it wasn't, and besides, there's something to be said for putting time into something for a special occasion. I'm sure my mother knew that, but she didn't miss an opportunity to nag. She wouldn't have liked either of these dishes; she would have found plenty to complain about, and she would've tied her complaints into my overall lifestyle. In honor of my mother this Thanksgiving, I'm evicting her voice from my head. Here's my tempeh bacon and mushroom wellington. And for good measure, here's some vegetables I plucked from my own garden for a tofu scramble last weekend.

unrolled: caramelized onions, mushrooms, baby spinah, pine nuts

It will be more golden but it will need to be reheated

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Very random ramble

I don't remember which Bourne movie it was, but I often think about the scene: Bourne and his once-boss on a bridge in Paris, Bourne just said something along the lines of 'you pay me to kill.' His once-boss retorts, 'I don't pay you to kill; anyone can kill. I pay you to be invisible.'

That, my friends, is how I feel about technology (and probably some other things). I don't want it popping up all the time reminding me of what it can do or asking how it can help. I want my programs and apps to do their thing and leave me alone. I'm not talking about ads; I understand advertising. I don't understand apps and programs getting in the way of the things I'm actually trying to do on any given device, to broadcast their presence. That's not what I keep them around for. Take Clippy, the original interloper. It went away, but now there's Cortana. Go the fuck away forever, is how you can help me. Same with Bixby on my phone.

In the previous paragraph, I referred to "any given device." Because I'm now a person with multiple devices, though I was once a person with no devices apart from a computer. Sometimes I even use more than one device at a time. I--who five years ago didn't know I needed an iPad until I won one--am now shopping for a second iPad (in fairness, the first is getting wonky and Apple is no longer updating the OS).

That's why I blog so infrequently now; I live on my iPad and rarely fire up my laptop. I'm not bad at tracking stories I want to link to, but I'm somewhat bad at remembering original things I want to write about. Rather, by the time I've gotten to the laptop, whatever I might have wanted to ramble about earlier no longer possesses my attention.

Except when it does. All of this reckoning over creeps and predators has brought back memories of RM. In fact, even before the reckoning, I was telling a friend/coworker about RM and he kept asking whether I ever thought this guy was a physical threat to me. I don't know why I didn't, or if I should have; I think I fell for the bumbling-idiot act. which I never fell for thereafter. I wonder what ultimately protected me (RM did keep trying, but also stepped back every time my response denied him whatever bumbling-idiot-based plausible deniability he would have sought), and I wonder whether there were other women--perhaps those over whom he held power--who were not so lucky. I wonder whether those women have or will come forward.

I wonder about other bumbling-idiot men, like that dude I went on an terrible date with. He was so creepy, I still feel creeped out just thinking about him. Creepiness aside, that date is the opposite of how I wish dating would be; I wish it would be easy. I wish it would make sense.

For the second year in a row, I withdrew from a Thanksgiving gathering because a deplorable invited herself. It's not so much that I don't want to deal with her; it's more that I don't want to pretend that I don't think she's a terrible person. Instead, I'm going to another friend's (one with whom I've a long tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving). You may be thinking that's a cop-out, and that it would be better to show up and fight, but there is no reasoning with this deplorable (I've tried). There's only frustration. Last Thanksgiving, I stayed home and smashed the shit out of my old toilets (to get them into small enough pieces that the city would haul away). It was a therapeutic response to the election. This year, the most recent election was my therapy, and in the spirit of even more self-care, I'm choosing my own friendsgiving.

I've been pretty good about meditation, this thing that I've long known was a good idea but struggled to make time for. I've gone to a couple of meditation-at-work classes and downloaded their app. One thing that really sunk in after one of those classes, was the truth that the Vice Abbot who led our meditation class in Kyoto told us at the time: the benefits of meditation stem not from doing it well, but from doing it. Other meditation leaders (I got to Interfaith Meditation Initiative when I can, which isn't as often as I'd like) have made the same point: your mind will wander; that's what your mind does. You have not failed because it has. Anyway, I had a particularly fitful session at the most recent mindfulness-at-work class, and nonetheless felt amazing for hours afterward. The act of meditating, no matter how "poorly," benefited me. I didn't previously take it literally when people referred to meditation as "practice," but that's exactly what it is: you're practicing focusing on your breath and bringing your attention back to it. The practice itself will be imperfect, but that's the very point of practice.

I need meditation, and not just because I'm an inveterate schemer (what am I doing tomorrow, and more importantly, in five minutes? did I turn the stove off? did I forget something? what am I getting at the grocery store?). It's difficult for me to turn that voice off, even when I know how unhelpful that voice is (I've never forgotten to go to the grocery store; I'll either remember when the time comes or I'll write it down). If anything, focusing on the present rather than scheming, somehow clears my mind to make room for the reminders I need.

But I also need meditation because I'm my mother's child--my mother, who's always had so little control of her thoughts and reflexes that even in her demented delirium, she mumbles angry thoughts at the people in her head. I understand my mother; I want to tell people to fuck off pretty much every time I take metro (which these days is every day, but even when I biked to work, there were plenty of people on the trail who drew my ire). I'll never have the response reflexes of a saint, but I can do better than attending every verbal and/or mental fight I'm drawn to. To train oneself to pause in that moment between a stimulus and one's response--to manage one's own reaction--would be divine. To keep oneself out of the rabbit hole of obsessive thoughts--that's a life skill I aspire to. Let's see if I can get there.

Pre-TG roundup

As the Butcher of Bosnia is convicted, let's remember ongoing horrors (and recently vanquished ones).

How open-source analysts are figuring out what North Korea is up to.

There are many important points in Adam Serwer's piece on nationalist voters, including a rebuttal of the Calamity Thesis, but this was the part I wanted to excerpt:
From a different vantage point, what Trump’s supporters refer to as political correctness is largely the result of marginalized communities gaining sufficient political power to project their prerogatives onto society at large. What a society finds offensive is not a function of fact or truth, but of power. It is why unpunished murders of black Americans by agents of the state draw less outrage than black football players’ kneeling for the National Anthem in protest against them. It is no coincidence that Trump himself frequently uses the term to belittle what he sees as unnecessary restrictions on state force.
There is something seriously wrong with you if you can't avoid sexual harassment or assault without avoiding women. It's not that hard to be the good guy.

It matters that misogynists wrote the story of the last election (and have generally led political coverage).

I don't often recommend Jennifer Weiner, but I do today.

Do you need to generate an apology?

On fake Jews.

Look at the majestic red golden pheasant.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday roundup (brought to you by kitty poop)

I was going to rake this morning before Jay stopped by on his way down south, but I lost enough time cleaning up kitty messes that I decided to just get you your roundup sooner than later.

Polish nazis never really went away, and now they're not afraid to operate openly,

I don't agree with everything in this analysis of policy toward the Middle East as a whole and Saudi Arabia in particular (the author is a graduate school classmate of mine), but most of it is spot-on.

Hold sexual predators accountable regardless of political affiliation or talent, but focus on those in power. I don't quite agree with either of these takes on Al Franken's future as a Senator, but both are valuable.

OMG what the fuck is this:
“All I really know is that Christians will always be attacked no matter what,” said Pamela Hicks, an apartment manager who attended Mr. Moore’s speech on Tuesday. “It could be true, it could be false, but he’s led by God, and that’s all that matters.”
Rebecca Traister's piece is so good that I can't help but excerpt extensively.
Part of it is the decades we’ve spent being pressured to underreact, our objections to the small stuff (and also to the big stuff!) bantered away, ignored, or attributed to our own lily-livered inability to cut it in the real world. Resentments accrete, mature into rage.
Considering all of these angles, it’s easy to conclude that this moment actually isn’t radical enough, because it’s limited to sexual grievances. One 60-year-old friend, who is single and in a precarious professional situation, says, “I’m burning with rage watching some assholes pose as good guys just because they never put their hands on a colleague’s thigh, when I know for a fact they’ve run capable women out of workplaces in deeply gendered ways. I’m very frustrated, because I’m not in a position right now to spill some beans.”
...I couldn’t help but think of all the women who’ve wanted to be writers for 30 years, who’ve yearned to make the world a better place by telling stories of injustice, but who haven’t had the opportunity in part because so much journalistic space is occupied by men like Taibbi: dudes who in some measure gained their professional footholds by objectifying women — and not just in big, bad Russia. Take the piece Taibbi wrote in 2009 about athletes’ wives. “The problem with the Smoking-Hot Skank as a permanent life choice,” he opined, “is that she eventually gets bored and starts calling up reporters to share her Important Political Opinions.” Taibbi may feel demoralized because the hilarious misogynistic stylings of his youth are now interfering with his grown-up career, but lots of women never even got their careers off the ground because the men in their fields saw them as Smoking-Hot Skanks whose claim to having a thought in their heads was no more than a punch line.
and, about a former harasser
But here’s a crucial reason he behaved so brazenly and badly for so long: He did not consider that the women he was torturing, much less the young woman who was mutely and nervously watching his performance (that would be me), might one day have greater power than he did. He didn’t consider this because in a basic way, he did not think of us as his equals.

As for Lili Loofbourow's piece on The Bumbler, I will likely write a separate post about it because it is sooooo RM, but for now
The bumbler doesn't know things, even things about which he was directly informed.
The bumbler's perpetual amazement exonerates him. Incompetence is less damaging than malice... The bumbler takes one of our culture's most muscular myths — that men are clueless — and weaponizes it into an alibi.

The line on men has been that they're the only gender qualified to hold important jobs and too incompetent to be responsible for their conduct.

This is how the culture attempts to normalize this stuff: by minimizing the damage to women and the agency of men. 
Also on normalizing:

See also what Michelle Wolf has to say.

Beware the manspreader. He feels entitled to that space he's encroaching upon and he'll fight you for it.

So this is really not true.
Government analysts have always viewed open-source information, or OSINT, as it is called in the intelligence world, as a poor substitute for classified information. Intelligence officials often dismiss the importance of public pronouncements by foreign leaders, actions recorded by journalists, data collected by university professors, and discussions at open conferences.
Government analysts know where the good stuff is.

Milbank on Bernie Bernstein.

For the gazillionth time: your offspring is your responsibility. If you bring it out in public, make sure it doesn't destroy shit.
Parents are responsible for their charges. If one of them starts screaming, the little lungs have to be removed from the situation until they calm down. And under no circumstances should a child be allowed to roam a dining room unattended -- not with hot food, busy waiters and sharp knives in the mix. 
This is the parent's job, not the restaurateur's job. Teaching children good manners at the dinner table at home is the best way of making sure they behave in restaurants. Cooking a variety of foods is how you expose them to different cuisines. Other than that, if you have a 1 - to - 5 year old, get a babysitter.

And don't go crying mom-shaming; if you let your kid destroy shit, you deserve to be shamed. That is the function of shaming in society.

Flies are gross but they're also cool.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday roundup

Diana Nyad speaks out. Every time another woman tells her story you think you'd understood how endemic and pervasive sexual assault is, but holy shit, who knew it was so beyond pervasive?

How people in communities all over the country drastically reduced crime.

On some level, most of us want to be liked, but how random people react to us is a matter of them, not us.

Yes, I've previously thought/said this about exercise: it trains you in comfort with discomfort.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday roundup (brought to you by my heater not working)

Ethiopia's surveillance state.

If you've been wondering wtf is going on in Saudi Arabia.

Your regular reminder to never give to the Red Cross.

There's a special place in hell for those who endanger and cage animals.
“They have consciousness, empathy and understanding,” said Jef Dupain, an ape specialist for the African Wildlife Foundation. “One day we will wonder how did we ever come up with the idea to keep them in cages.”
Those (like Susan Sarandon and the Bernie bros) who forget history are destined to repeat it. Anne Applebaum reminds us:
Using a formula that would be imitated and repeated by demagogues around the world for decades to come — up to and including the demagogues of the present, about which more in a moment — he and the other Bolsheviks offered poor people simplistic answers to complex questions. They called for “peace, land and bread.” They sketched out beautiful pictures of an impossible future. They promised not only wealth but also happiness, a better life in a better nation.
The chaos was vast. But many in Russia came to embrace the destruction. They argued that the “system” was so corrupt, so immune to reform or repair, that it had to be smashed. Some welcomed the bonfire of civilization with something bordering on ecstasy.
As the philosopher Roger Scruton has observed, Bolshevism eventually became so cocooned in layers of dishonesty that it lost touch with reality: “Facts no longer made contact with the theory, which had risen above the facts on clouds of nonsense, rather like a theological system. The point was not to believe the theory, but to repeat it ritualistically and in such a way that both belief and doubt became irrelevant. . . . In this way the concept of truth disappeared from the intellectual landscape, and was replaced by that of power.” Once people were unable to distinguish truth from ideological fiction, however, they were also unable to solve or even describe the worsening social and economic problems of their society. Fear, hatred, cynicism and criminality were all around them, with no obvious solutions in sight. 
It may not be an accident that neo-Bolshevik language has so far enjoyed unprecedented success in Britain and the United States, two countries that have never known the horror of occupation or of an undemocratic revolution that ended in dictatorship. They therefore lack the immunity of many Europeans. On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxon world has its own advantages: the bonds of old and long-standing constitutionalism, the habits created by decades of rule of law and relatively high standards of living. It may be that as Americans and Brits slowly learn to recognize lies, they will become less susceptible to the fake nostalgia on offer from their leaders.
But some of us do learn, and we leverage our anger and fight back. And win. And change norms.

Changing topics: you don't need that much protein. And you should definitely watch this video of a shark head-butting a submarine.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Saturday roundup

If you've ever heard someone say there's no such thing as rape culture, point them to this finding:
Indeed, experts note one last trait shared by men who have raped: they do not believe they are the problem.
And to this:
When the entire culture of a place is lewd, it makes it impossible to tell which men are dangerous. The raunchiest man in the kitchen had no part in the assault, but a quieter cook apparently did. In the din of dirty kitchen-speak, I could not have told you the difference between them.
Gray areas are what perpetuate the idea of plausible deniability, which in turn emboldens predators.

Charles Blow gets it.
We have to stop, listen and receive other people’s experiences, validate those experiences and honor the feeling with which they are expressed. And we have to center the speaker and not the listener, center the person who lacks the privilege and not the one who possesses it.
So does James Fell.

When Christian rehab turns out to be forced labor

Speaking of forced labor, some threads on Robert E. Lee. 

I dislike Max Fisher but I'll give him credit where it's due, and this isn't it. This needs to be said--
 In their zeal to find a simple solution to the complex problem of political change, they overlook their heroes’ flaws, fail to see the challenges they will face in power, and assume that countries are the products of their leaders, when it is almost always the other way around.
But it's a shallow analysis. FP did it better, years ago.

Surprise! Monsanto (among others) is screwing over farmers who don't buy their shit.

Drezner's complete 'toddler thread.'

CEOs, including Ruth Simmons--who was at Smith when I was--talk about showing up and doing the job you have.

I'm glad this plutonium soap is vegan but I wonder why they chose Pu-244.

Don't let anyone tell you that exercise doesn't help with weight.

Cultivate self-esteem, not narcissism, in your children.

I'm an xennial.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Saturday roundup

This has the single-best plain-English explanation I've seen on why solid rocket propellants matter.

A police chief found a better way to police in the Philippines.

Uzbekistan appears to be opening up.

I mostly agree with Bret Stephens on the left's double-standard on communism. I don't agree that reigning in Wall Street abuses and excesses is communism.

Karma is a bitch (and I think highly of bitches).

There is too much good writing on the harassment and #MeToo phenomena; I'll just share a few pieces. First, Rebecca Traister explains about what it means when these awful but powerful men set the public discourse. Eve Peyser explains why we shouldn't let pass 'harmless' or 'good-natured' assaults on our dignity. You might have seen Lupita Nyongo's infuriating experience. And Margaret Renki sums up the saddest part--that pervasive harassment is endemic.
There is nothing unusual about these stories. They are the ho-hum, everyday experiences of virtually every woman I know, and such stories rarely get told. There will never be a powerful social-media movement that begins, “Today I ate breakfast” or “Today my dog pooped and I cleaned it up” or “Today I washed my hair with the same shampoo I’ve been buying since 2006.” We tell the stories that are remarkable in some way, stories that are surprising, utterly unexpected. The quotidian doesn’t make for a good tale.
Lindy West takes on another double standard:
What happens when #MeToo meets “I’m not a feminist, but”? It goes without saying that men across the political spectrum routinely victimize the women in their lives. It goes without saying because feminists have already been saying it for years. Yet, in the flood of anger and catharsis this past week, I’ve seen multiple eloquent and heartbreaking accounts of rape and abuse from conservative women, who are careful to specify that they are not like those other women, those radicals, those tedious, troublesome feminists. That’s fine. Whether you like us or not, we carved out this space for you.

Samantha Bee's PSA is priceless:

Moving on... contrary to what the Third Way will try tell you, some people aren't interested in coming together and getting along.

On a lighter note, someone inadvertently dictated an amazing comment.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday roundup

Watch this Holocaust survivor tell her story.

We can negotiate with North Korea.

We've been collectively deceived about the safety of glyphosate. You can worry less about radiation, but here's how to get any residual cesium out of your food.

Good for this kid for sticking to his values and god help his mother for her lack of boundaries.

I'll spare you all the awful takes on Weinstein, though you should definitely read Wonkette's take-down of them. Always read Jessica Valenti, Alyssa Rosenberg, and Laura Bates. Rosenberg here:
More women, and men like Terry Crews, are going to have to speak out about their experiences. Men are going to have to join them in speaking up about behavior they’ve witnessed and reckon honestly with the times they failed to intervene in bad situations. More companies are going to have to suffer escalating and maybe even fatal costs to their bottom lines and reputations before they have the incentives that will make it essential that they take every allegation of wrongdoing seriously every single time. And law enforcement officials like Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who declined to prosecute Weinstein, will have to learn that it is fatal to their careers not to aggressively pursue sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. We actually have to vote against candidates who are on the record bragging about how they grab and assault women, rather than excusing their behavior as inevitable or their talk as hyperbolic.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Quick Tuesday ramble

"What's your secret?" asked the woman who carded me at the checkout at Trader Joe's the other day. "I was way off." I thanked her and passed up the opportunity to say, "I eat plants."

I saw a bunch of old friends over the weekend (at and around a mutual friend's wedding), one of whom had been vegan but was no longer because "it wasn't working for her." She was, apparently, making poor food choices. This is a friend who has struggled with her weight and watched me lose twenty pounds without trying upon eschewing animal products, but I was already eating healthily when I made the change. There's nothing magic about vegan; if you eat vegan crap, you won't lose weight.

I was going to ramble to you about a bunch of other things--being sick of project management in my personal life (related to the wedding on Saturday and a friend who came into town for it) but I'm sick of being annoyed at people and things. I come by easy annoyance honestly; my mother was annoyed by everything, and I don't want to be like that. In the past 24 hours I've told off two customer-service people who didn't read my message and copied-and-pasted a canned response that was not helpful to me. I am legitimately annoyed at people who do that kind of thing. I've also been annoyed at a friend or two for essentially being more lazy and less logistically inclined than I, and for making it my problem, which is also possibly fair. But god knows I've also made my shit other people's problem, and either way, I'm sick of being annoyed. I'm ready to let things go.

Tuesday roundup, brought to you by...

...American Airlines, which made it impossible for me to buy a ticket via tablet, so I had to rev up the laptop.

On male allies and double standards for feminism.
I don't think either of my parents ever got quite this crazy, but Fox News definitely poisoned them both, especially my mother.

I've always preferred the direct route to delivering disappointing news. Recall how my ex tried to make a production out of breaking up, which would have really upset me more if I hadn't also been trying to break up with him.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday roundup

The village where Che was executed still remembers that day. The photo at the end is amazing.

How would our press cover the Las Vegas massacre if it had occurred abroad?

The Justice system can be Kafkaesquely unjust.

The Times is not fucking around.

New York DAs have a corruption problem.

There are some good cartoons here.

If you've followed NYT's mindfulness series, this is an amazing parody.

Have some tweets:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tuesday roundup

Don't test a thermonuclear weapon in the ocean.

If you've been following the Times' somewhat absurd mindfulness series, this will amuse you.

Look for the helpers and these days, the late-night comedians.

Hotels are nickel-and-diming.

This is satire but this is the sexting that would work on me.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

So many *ings

Everyone knows about ghosting, and I've previously posted about breadcrumbing, and now apparently, submarining is a thing. And everything in between: ghostinghaunting, and benching

Dating is hard without any of that, and I've had my share of relationships (serious and lesser) that in retrospect I could've done without, but I'm ever so grateful for every clean break, and every instance of closure

I was just light-ghosted last week--ghosting after one date isn't technically ghosting, but it was still inconsiderate. I'd just a month or so ago acted differently (i.e., more honorably) in a similar situation: I went out with someone once (and didn't want to see him again), but we'd corresponded enough in frequency and substance that I thought it was right to actually turn him down rather than disappear. I've certainly not responded to men's asking me out on a second date, but that was when there was really nothing to say. So I'd gone out with a dude a week and a half ago, and we'd had plans to go out again and had been actively chatting by email, when he abruptly disappeared. I had my reservations about this guy (but I thought he was worth a second date--that's all), so it wasn't a huge disappointment practically. But it was just annoying.

And I have a serial breadcrumber who roared full force into my life this past week. I have no feelings for this man, but I just wish he f* off forever because I don't want to be reminded that he's there. That is evidently not going to happen; we are apparently destined to troll each other indefinitely. But there's a silver lining, as we have to actually communicate: The next best thing to zero contact, is closure.

On Monday I posted a column from Carolyn in which she talks about being happy for people who have what you don't. This isn't generally a problem for me--I have an easy time being happy for my friends--but I do sometimes fall into spells of 'why (not) me?' I talk myself through that and try to get to gratitude for what I do have, which is nothing to sneeze at. But what pushes me into the questioning is seeing people for whom it looks so easy. Which is when it helps to remind myself (not out of schadenfreude, but out of perspective, that dating sucks for most people. That's why the internet is riddled with articles about ghosting and submarining. I guess we'll get through this together. 

Saturday roundup

Dennis Ross reflects on what was an overtly anti-semitic State Department.

Bruce Blair reflects on (and appreciates) Stanislav Petrov.

On Kaepernick and his detractors. And supporters.

Scarborough wonders what happened to people.

Are charity balls worth it?

We should let heterosexuals have kids, even though statistically they're not the best at it.

I've not experienced a miscarriage, but I've experienced lesser $hit in shitty ways, so I appreciate this perspective and my heart goes out to the people going through it.

On emotional labor (though some of this stuff is actual labor, i.e., project management). It's like a written out, more personal version of You Should Have Asked. I still get hives when I think about the ex who couldn't/wouldn't do anything, not even the things that were for his benefit.

And now, this:

Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday roundup

Hello, friends. Let's start by wishing for the man who averted nuclear war that he rest in peace. And let's talk about averting nuclear war now [wonkiness warning].

On small nuclear weapons. And the zen of nuclear.
In a much longer paper, Ford's 90-page, footnote-heavy 2010 dissertation for the chaplaincy program, he examines "undertaking public policy choice through the prism of Buddhist engagement." In the paper, Ford argues in part that despite its reputation, "engaged Buddhism" is not strictly pacifist and, in some contexts, the use of force is appropriate."Sometimes 'not taking sides' is to take a side: the side of the status quo. Engaged Buddhists clearly understand this point in the context of other social justice issues, but many of them remain curiously resistant to admitting it in the arena of organized violence," he writes. "Nor is it the case that we always have an entirely nonviolent option when confronted even by the difficult choices presented by everyday life."
Refugees are good for the economy. The travel ban is not. Denying entry into the country to reasonable people is anti-life.

Aung San Suu Kyi is hardly the first opposition leader to struggle with transitioning a country to democracy, and she's not in full control of her government.

We hear a lot about how nuclear power plants may fare in a natural disaster, but not about coal ash.

Competing with coal ash for environmental menace is, the hog industry. Also, read about how the dairy industry kills its own.

Men who think that diversity has gone too far

This is a good thread on safety and free speech.

We would do well to listen to women.

Eastern Europeans don't f* around with meaning. That's one area where I certainly mirror my mother. I've written on these pages about askers and guessers, which Deborah Tannen describes in different words here:
The very first paper I published was about the confusion caused when one speaker means words literally and the other thinks they are hinting at something else. And indirectness is a key example I use in cautioning that what is sometimes attributed to psychological, even pathological, motives may simply be differing linguistic styles. Those who expect requests to be expressed directly, for example, may perceive someone being vague as being manipulative, or even passive-aggressive.
What Carolyn says here applies to so many things.

It’s natural to turn your sadness and anger onto a nearby target, but it’s not the way you’re going to feel better. On the contrary, it’s a way of rewarding those feelings with a sense of superiority, which of course will ultimately feel false to you because you’re just tearing somebody down.

Though this sounds contradictory, also look your inner finger-pointer in the eye and say, “No. I won’t do that. I’m better than that.” Love is  your most profound ally — against injustice, anger, illness, unfairness or just giving in to the feelings of envy and resentment we’re all susceptible to.

I use Russian characters because I speak Russian; don't try it at home.

I'm not married but this so, so resonates:
Like the women I knew who cheated, many of the interviewees said they liked their husbands well enough. They had property together. They had friendships together. They had children that they were working together to raise. But at the same time, they found married life incredibly dull and constraining and resented the fact that as women, they felt they consistently did a disproportionate amount of the invisible labor that went into maintaining their lifestyle. One woman in Walker’s book told her, “The inequality of it all is such an annoying factor that I am usually in a bad mood when my spouse is in my presence,” and another said that while her husband was a competent adult in the world, at home he felt like “another child to clean up after.”
These gas station signs; this text book illustration; these kittens and otter; and these tweets:

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