It's too soon to tell, but reading the angry reactions around the web, it might be that the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to withdraw hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to Planned Parenthood ends up costing the Susan G. Komen people a lot more than it costs Planned Parenthood.

I would recommend Barbara Ehrenreich's 2001 essay "Welcome to Cancerland":

More so than in the case of any other disease, breast-cancer organizations and events feed on a generous flow of corporate support. Nancy Brinker [then the head of the Susan G. Komen Foundation] relates how her early attempts to attract corporate interest in promoting breast cancer "awareness" were met with rebuff. A bra manufacturer, importuned to affix a mammogram-reminder tag to his product, more or less wrinkled his nose. Now breast cancer has blossomed from wallflower to the most popular girl at the corporate charity prom. While AIDS goes begging and low-rent diseases like tuberculosis have no friends at all, breast cancer has been able to count on Revlon, Avon, Ford, Tiffany, Pier 1, Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, Lee Jeans, Saks Fifth Avenue, JC Penney, Boston Market, Wilson athletic gear -- and I apologize to those I've omitted. You can "shop for the cure" during the week when Saks donates 2 percent of sales to a breast-cancer fund; "wear denim for the cure" during Lee National Denim Day, when for a $5 donation you get to wear blue jeans to work. You can even "invest for the cure," in the Kinetics Assets Management's new no-load Medical Fund, which specializes entirely in businesses involved in cancer research.
 
 
I really enjoyed this article by Brian Fung at The Atlantic. My response is here.
 
 
Just a couple of new things today: at Democracy in America, a post examining two dueling articles about whether America is becoming more polarized.

And at Free Exchange, I think out loud about the fact that the list of states with a AAA credit rating (from S&P) includes an awful lot of swingers.
 
 
So far, so good. Check out my achievements:
Picture
(When doing something new, I welcome pointless affirmation.)
I started using the site as part of the "CodeYear" project. The point of the site is to teach people to code by getting them to code: you go through lessons on a little console, and you have to write each little bit of code correctly before you advance.

So far, none of the mini-lessons have been too frustrating, although some of them are a bit perplexing and short on context. It reminds me a bit of the problem sets I used to do for symbolic logic, except I'm not always sure what the 'logic' is. (I suspect this is characteristic of the genre It's not as if programmers spend a lot of time talking to people who don't understand the premises of a programming language.)

In any case, it's been a nice change of pace in the usual "read, think, write" pattern of my days. I'm planning to stick with it for a while, at least. For people who want to learn more about Java the old-fashioned way: my developer friend recommends this book.
 
 
"It was a very difficult breakthrough for her, she was crying," Ms. Messinger, who charges from $25 to $75 an hour, recalled of a recent session with the client. "I just made her aware of more options, like maybe you can try Splenda."
 
 
In re: Anna Holmes's piece about the double standard with regard to anger--that men are allowed to be angry, but women aren't...

I think that anger is most productive if it's a) correct and b) commensurate to the offense at hand. If any women reading this need some tips, I recommend this article from Rookie magazine.

You can also refer yourself to Downton Abbey for a primer from the people who mastered withering disapproval:
 
 
In this week's paper, a story about Rick Perry's return to Texas (feels like forever ago that he left the race--such an interesting week in the primary, in retrospect).

At Democracy in America, a post arguing that Barack Obama's state of the union didn't really represent a call to mercantilism, and a call to expand the list of swing states.

And at Johnson, a comment on whether the "readability" score of the state of the union matters. (Hint: Seriously?)
 
 
Service-y:

If you can’t scare a wolf away and you don’t have a viable weapon, you might try to wrestle it into submission. One Canadian man, Fred Desjarlais, dissuaded an attacking wolf by putting it into a headlock; another, Diamond Jenness, reportedly choked a snarling wolf with his hands. Some biologists recommend making a fist with your hand and shoving it down the wolf’s throat to prevent it from biting; if a wolf can’t breathe, it will probably decide that attacking you isn’t worth the effort. Climbing a tree could also compel a wolf to leave you alone, but never run away; doing so could trigger a wolf’s predatory instinct to chase you.
 
 
Bob Dole's statement about Newt Gingrich is pretty damaging:

In my run for the presidency in 1996 the Democrats greeted me with a number of negative TV ads and in every one of them Newt was in the ad. He was very unpopular and I am not only certain that this did not help me, but that it also cost House seats that year. Newt would show up at the campaign headquarters with an empty bucket in his hand — that was a symbol of some sort for him — and I never did know what he was doing or why he was doing it, and I’m not certain he knew either.
 

Wat?

01/25/2012

1 Comment

 
Via my friend Sean, here's a fun Destroy All Software lightning talk by Gary Bernhardt, called "Wat." It seems to be aimed at expert programmers but if you're just learning how to code (as I am) I would recommend it anyway. It's not hard to follow and helped boost my understanding of what coding is. He's basically just pointing out a few oddities in Java and Ruby, two of the programming languages, but in pointing out some quirks where the languages have a logical breakdown, it sort of points to what the logical outcome should be--if that makes sense.

Two additional points about "wat":

1) This word illustrates the limits of Google's new personalized search--as I was looking for a picture to accompany this post I had to wade through dozens of pictures of various friends at Angkor Wat.
2) "Wat" elicits the most sensible definition I've ever seen from Urban Dictionary.