27 March 2017


JFK on Education at Vanderbilt University, 1963.

It seems particularly apropos:

H/t CZ @ SP

26 March 2017

Charlie is at the AIPAC Conference

My son was one of two teens at our synagogue who were given to the opportunity to go the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference.

We dropped him off at the bus at 7:00am this morning

We've had some text  message exchanges, and they have been a complete hoot.  (We share our pinko proclivities)

I would appreciate hints on how to best extract an archive of Android text messages to a usable format, please respond.

15 Minutes of Fame ……… Expired

Conservative firebrand, and spokes blond Tomi Lahren has been fired from right wing web site The Blaze:
Tomi Lahren won’t be appearing on Glenn Beck’s multiplatform network, TheBlaze, anymore.

Sources say Lahren — who was suspended last week after flip-flopping on abortion and declaring herself pro-choice — has been banned permanently.

“Glenn is reminding the world of his conservative principles by sidelining Tomi after she insulted conservatives by calling them hypocrites,” one Beck insider told me.
Gone before even her first wrinkle. (She's 24)

That's gotta hurt.

25 March 2017

106 Years Ago Today

Workers who fell to their death
Wikimedia Commons
The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire:
Today marks the 106th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which in twenty minutes consumed the lives of 146 people, mostly young immigrant Jewish and Italian women and girls who worked in the New York City factory. The youngest victims, Kate Leone and Rosaria Maltese, were just fourteen years old.

In the wake of what went down as the worst industrial disaster in New York history, labor activists mobilized the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and the wealthier Women’s Trade Union League to win worker protections that we still enjoy to this day. More than a century later, March 25 stands as a pivotal date in the history of feminism and organized labor in America.

Triangle carries a particular significance for Jewish-American radicals. Many of the most prominent leaders of the post-fire mobilization — including the seamstress, lesbian, and feminist socialist Rose Schneiderman — were Jewish-American women.


After the 1905 and 1909 strikes, most factories had settled with the unions. But Triangle refused. Their thousands of peak-season employees were paid $5.50 an hour or less in 2016 figures, and had to work nine hours during the week and another seven on Saturdays. They fired union employees and resisted making any improvements in working conditions.

In the Triangle factory — located just off Washington Square Park, occupying the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors of a building that is now part of New York University — workers endured cramped conditions, poor ventilation, and blocked fire exits (which were intended to deter walkouts). Other doors were locked to prevent employee theft; managers would only unlatch them at the end of the shift, checking women’s purses as they left for the day.

Just days before the Triangle disaster, Schneiderman had documented similar conditions at a shop in Newark, where fire escapes were blocked to prevent workers from stealing. There, twenty-five people had perished when the building caught fire. At Triangle, the toll would be well over one hundred.

On March 25, 1911 — which happened to be Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest — five hundred employees reported for work.

At about 4:40 PM, a discard bin that contained two months’ worth of cloth caught fire and quickly spread to the several hundred pounds of cloth surrounding the bin. The alarm sounded. Employees on the eighth floor managed to escape and warn those on the tenth floor. But workers on the ninth floor were trapped. The managers with keys to the locked doors had already fled. Twenty people made it to a flimsy fire escape, but it collapsed, and they fell to their deaths.

The only way out was the elevators. Three times, the elevators ran up to the ninth floor — until the heat buckled their railings. Desperate workers still on the ninth floor pried the elevator shaft doors open and plunged to their deaths, the impact of their bodies on the elevator warping its metal frame.

The sight on the street was equally horrifying: firefighters’ ladders couldn’t reach the ninth floor, so passersby watched as sixty-two people jumped to their deaths. Louis Waldman, a socialist who became a New York assemblyman, recalled the gristly scene: “Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies.”
Remember this when some politician starts talking about job killing regulations.

These regulations don't kill jobs.  Their absence enables the worst of the worst to kill and maim their workers.

24 March 2017

Now It's an Off Broadway Play

Remember passing mentioned I made that someone reenacted the Trump Clinton debates, and found that Hillary did ever worse when gender roles were reversed?

Well, it's going to play the Jerry Orbach Theater in Manhattan:
After watching the second televised debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in October 2016—a battle between the first female candidate nominated by a major party and an opponent who’d just been caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women—Maria Guadalupe, an associate professor of economics and political science at INSEAD, had an idea. Millions had tuned in to watch a man face off against a woman for the first set of co-ed presidential debates in American history. But how would their perceptions change, she wondered, if the genders of the candidates were switched? She pictured an actress playing Trump, replicating his words, gestures, body language, and tone verbatim, while an actor took on Clinton’s role in the same way. What would the experiment reveal about male and female communication styles, and the differing standards by which we unconsciously judge them?

Guadalupe reached out to Joe Salvatore, a Steinhardt clinical associate professor of educational theatre who specializes in ethnodrama—a method of adapting interviews, field notes, journal entries, and other print and media artifacts into a script to be performed as a play. Together, they developed Her Opponent, a production featuring actors performing excerpts from each of the three debates exactly as they happened—but with the genders switched. Salvatore cast fellow educational theatre faculty Rachel Whorton to play “Brenda King,” a female version of Trump, and Daryl Embry to play “Jonathan Gordon,” a male version of Hillary Clinton, and coached them as they learned the candidates’ words and gestures. A third actor, Andy Wagner, would play the moderator in all three debates, with the performances livestreamed. Andrew Freiband, a professor in the Department of Film/Animation/Video at the Rhode Island School of Design, provided the video design. (Watch footage from a Her Opponent rehearsal below.)

The two sold-out performances of Her Opponent took place on the night of Saturday, January 28, just a week after President Trump’s inauguration and the ensuing Women’s March on Washington. “The atmosphere among the standing-room-only crowd, which appeared mostly drawn from academic circles, was convivial, but also a little anxious,” Alexis Soloski, a New York Times reporter who attended the first performance, observed. “Most of the people there had watched the debates assuming that Ms. Clinton couldn’t lose. This time they watched trying to figure out how Mr. Trump could have won.”


And this was just the first phase of the project: Her Opponent has been adapted as an off-Broadway play opening at the Jerry Orbach Theater, and its creators envision adapting a recording of the experiment as a classroom teaching tool to explore the complex ways our personal biases influence how we receive messages. The gender-swapping technique, Salvatore suggests, could also be used to explore the communication styles of different political figures in other charged confrontations.
This has gone from an interesting factoid to something profoundly weird.

Freudian Slip

Pauly Ryan says that he wants to destroy American healthcare:


Tweet of the Day

I have no urge to see the movie, but the fail by the Talibaptist right is amusing.

I Want What He Is Smoking

In a discussion of the Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare, Cornell Professor Robert Frank drops this incredibly panglossian turd:
If the repeal effort stalls, attention will shift to what comes next. In an earlier column, I suggested that Mr. Trump has the political leverage, which President Obama did not, to jettison the traditional Republican approach in favor of a form of the single-payer health care that most other countries use. According to Physicians for a National Health Program, an advocacy group, “Single-payer national health insurance, also known as ‘Medicare for all,’ is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands.” Christopher Ruddy, a friend and adviser of the president, recently urged him to consider this option.
This is not going to happen.

I would like for this to happen, if just to see how both the Clinton and Obama wings of the Democratic party twist themselves into knots to oppose this, but it's NOT going to happen.

I know, yadda yadda yadda, Nixon going to China, but it ain't going to happen, particularly when he would have to get it through the Senate, where his own Vice President would oppose this as its presiding officer, and the filibuster still exists.

Na ga na happen.