Friday Miscellany

A little bit of this, a little bit of that:

  • So you're a conservative Republican mayor, deep in Mississippi, who ran for Congress in 2008 "on a conservative, family-values platform," according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Wouldn't you think you'd keep yourself from using your official credit card "at a visit to an adult store catering to gay men while on a recruitment trip to Canada"? #justsaying

A review by The CA shows that Davis spent thousands of dollars at the Mesquite Chop House in Southaven and thousands more at local liquor stores. Also included in the receipts is a charge for $67 at Priape, a store in Toronto that is described by its website as "Canada's premiere gay lifestyle store and sex shop."

  • New York City is reporting a drop in its schoolchildren's obesity rates. If the drop is real, and if Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Dr. Thomas Farley, the city's activist health commissioner, have really caused it with their recent multi-pronged anti-obesity campaign (bans on sugary sodas, other changes in school cafeteria and vending machine foods, active promotion of exercise), what a spectacular advance for American public health! I find it so depressing to use airport restrooms in the midwest and south, and to find the "sharps" containers for diabetics who need to dispose of their insulin needles without endangering cleaners' lives. But I wonder whether New York City's campaign could be replicated anywhere else. I have a hard time imagining it happening in any other political scenario, without such a deep-blue city, Bloomberg, and a public health commissioner willing to be called a Stalinist commissar. Still, who would have imagined, even as recently as 1975, that in just a few decades, public smoking would be all but gone?
  • You've read by now that the world has lost Christopher Hitchens, who (we do need to say it) was a brilliant literary and political provocateur who was cruelly eaten away by alcoholism and felled by cancer. There are some fabulous tributes and comments, large and small, including Christopher Buckley's at The New Yorker, June Thomas's at Slate, a page at Vanity Fair, and David Frum's brief reminiscence at The National Post. Given my role, here, as the Gender Desk, I was happy to find this in Frum's piece:

Far from suffering fools gladly, he delighted in making fools suffer. When he heard that another friend, a professor, had a habit of seducing female students in his writing seminars, he shook his head pityingly. “It’s not worth it. Afterward, you have to read their short stories.”


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