How Washington Ruined Your Washing Machine

Front-loading washing machine
No, no, no, no!!!

Lo the trusty top-loader. Alas, poor top-loader. Top-loader, I knew you well and loved how you put gravity on my side and did not require me to bend down and stuff things in your side. Like I have to do now!

The art of the headline . . .

The flag of Fort Worth, Texas currently in use...
Bullish purchase here

. . . not dead yet.

Consider this, from Wall St. Journal, heading a story about steel vs. aluminum in lightweight cars:

Aluminum Tests Its Mettle Against Steel in Drive for Lighter Cars

And from same newspaper, for another about the sale of a Fort Worth building as sign of “the rebirth of the commercial-mortgage-backed-securities market”:

Loan Star: Texas Site Sells As CMBS Market Rallies

Not quite in the “headless body found in topless bar” class, but let’s hear it for at least one copy desk anyhow.

Sex on campus, after class

What this country needs is more thoughtful discussion of controversial topics.  Take that sex demo at Northwestern U
“We had kind of a duty, I think, to educate these students in a functional and effective way. Psychology students… and my other reason for doing this– if these were going to be psychologists then they have a need to know about this esoteric knowledge that could help someone in the future,” said [Jim] Marcus [male member of the demo team].
John Michael Bailey, the professor in question, is for thoughtful discussion, as above.  He considers it “a cornerstone of learning.”
For one student:
“It reminded me of how comfortable you can be with your body because she [the female member] was unfazed,” said Sam Hazlett, Northwestern student.
At first NU, anonymously thru a spokesman, was not fazed either.  Then alums and others chimed in, and so did the president, finally:

On Thursday in a second statement, the university’s president said he was “disappointed” and “disturbed.”

“It represented extremely poor judgment on the part of our faculty member,” said President Morton Schapiro. “I simply do not believe this was appropriate, necessary or in keeping with Northwestern University’s academic mission.”

In addition [besides], outraged parents and alumni [had] been calling the school.

It’s the joy of sex, mechanically produced.  Who said anything about love?

Later: The prof apologized.

Movie time: KC Confidential

Cover of "Kansas City Confidential (MGM F...
'50s revisited

1952 movie last night at the PC: Kansas City Confidential, with handsome John Payne and very pretty Coleen Gray, all in all a thing of joy. A gun is called a “heater,” to kill someone is to “burn” him, and the bad guys, including Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam, are certifiable. more more more at Blithe Spirit original . . .

Don’t just stand there, buy something

Healthcare USA, after Anton Bruehl

The Florida judge who just shot down Obamacare, on the requirement to buy insurance:

If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain, Judge Vinson wrote.

It’s a you-buy-this-or-else proposition, a no-go.

Now if it were being ordered to buy a good dictionary, I could be more open-minded. On second thought, not even for such an important item as that.

A little racial segregation, please

Sean Connery at the 2008 Edinburgh Internation...
"Finding Forrester" was the movie

Black and white together not working out, says this Lancaster PA principal.

Bill Jimenez said the school noticed that black students were not performing as well as other students, and that research had shown that same-race classes with strong same-race role models led to better academic results.

Mr Jimenez admitted that no other students were divided by race at the school, but he added that academic data dictated the school take a different approach with its black students.

This is old research too. Shelby Steele‘s identical-twin brother Claude at U. of Mich. had results years ago showing that being with whites in class, that is, competing with them, threw black students off their feed. It’s here, I think, in a 1992 Atlantic article.

Or so I understood it at the time. Claude Steele chalks it up to stereotypes that are internalized by black students. A fair translation of that is their fear of competing because they don’t think they can succeed. Better that they be by themselves, at least some of the time, so they can relax and gain confidence.

Same argument goes for same-sex schools, though it’s hotly debated, of course.

The Sean Connery movie about the reclusive white writer who goads a young black kid to write well applies here. The Connery character pushed the kid, stood for no nonsense, and in the end stood up for him vs. white teachers. Standard white teachers, I may add, but the point is still a good one. Everyone has his demons, why not black kids?

The Lancaster principal is calling for a mere six minutes a day, 20 minutes twice a month, by the way. It’s not a full-scale preferential-treatment program in which one thing after another is tried, frantically by school administrators, teachers etc.

Making down time work for us

Young striker off sentry duty sleeping on asse...
On strike, dreaming

In the category of it-takes-all-kinds, in a Times Lit Supplement review of THE SECRET WORLD OF DOING NOTHING (280pp. University of California Press. $55, paperback, $21.95), 11/12/10, p. 33, subscription only:

A couple wages a “constant battle” about whether to keep the door to the kitchen open: the man, it transpires, comes from a working-class family which habitually congregated in the kitchen; for the woman, the area was reserved for cooking, and the smell of food seeping into the rest of the apartment was deemed a “vulgarity”.

More to the point of daily life as we know it:

Touched upon (but sadly then forgotten) [by authors Billy Ehn and Orvar Lofgren] is the notion that routines of “doing nothing” have evolved from productive to consumptive ones. In the past, we might have sat with the embroidery or in the woodshed; now we are more likely to be found semi-comatose in front of the television.

On the other hand, a word for the assembly line:

Industrial society has provided plenty of scope for “doing nothing”. As the authors note, Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division, enjoyed factory work because “I could daydream all day”.

To be perfectly frank, the mass does that for me, which is one reason I like it quiet and uneventful.  Not quite daydream, but a sort of lightly reminding myself of its being the sacrifice for the sins of the world, including mine.