October 13, 2007

October sunset.

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Heaven and earth...

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... they seem so disconnected sometimes.

The epitome of indolence.

Eating bon-bons.

Bon bons

But that's what they call their chocolates at Jacques Torres: bon-bons.

Brooklyn — dead and alive.

Dead bird

Live bird

Not today.

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This was some other day. Some warmer day not long ago. Today, I've yet to leave the house. And I really must. So you can take over here. Talk about what you like. I'll join you later.

When the comfort food is that comfortable....

... you've got to blog about it.

"Now is the time where we're going to be laying a very clear contrast between myself and Senator Clinton."

Barack Obama seems to be planning to go after Hillary Clinton some time in the near future. Unless he's referring to 2012, it's too late.

October 12, 2007

"I've been in love with the same women for 30-plus years..."

Did John Edwards say that or did the NYT typo it?

It was a deeply serene evening.

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"Hourly billing is wrong, and it's anti-client."

"There's a disincentive to be efficient since you get paid more if you take longer to finish a matter..." says Jay Shepherd, of Shepherd Law Group, which has abandoned billing by the hour.

Fast work is a good thing. How hateful to be embedded in a system that rewards inefficiency. This was a huge factor in my preference for law teaching over law practice.

What does it take to get commenters to snark at the ABA Journal blog?

They pose this question: "If you could rename your law school, what name would you choose?" A hundred wisecracks should follow. But no. A day later, there are only 5 comments, and two of them earnestly address the problem of confusion between New York Law School and NYU. Two are concerned with excessive clutter in the names:
I would get rid of the Hyphen and change Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis to Indianapolis School of Law.

I’d change Wake Forest University School of Law to Wake Forest Law School.
Now, I agree on that last point. Every law school that's calling itself "School of Law" (or, worse, "College of Law") ought to make it just Law School. But, jeez, where are all the hilarious insults? Are you just afraid to expose your bad attitude to the ABA? Fine. Put it here.

It was a dark and stormy morning...

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Are the humans to blame?

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Or are the gods angry that all the world is bowing down today to Al Gore and his theory that the humans cause the storms?

"Mom, that school tells me I'm fat."

So the Denver Public School District gave kids health reports to take home, and one child discovered that her weight put her in the "overweight" category:
"The part that upset her the most as she started reading it, there it stated that she was overweight and she started to cry saying, 'Mom, that school tells me I'm fat.' So, it was very heart wrenching," said Flaurette Martinez....

"My daughter is big boned," said Martinez....

"If she would have dropped this letter, a student may have found it and may have exposed it to other students," said Martinez. "Anything specific to the child should be mailed. It should not be given to the child."...

Martinez says that decision is causing her daughter emotional distress.
That would be the decision of the school to send the notice home with the child... not the decision of the mother to tell the world that her daughter is fat (and traumatized).

Now, what's for dinner?

Orgasmic moments in film/film reviewing.

Manohla Dargis describes a scene in the new movie "Elizabeth: The Golden Age":
Declaiming from atop her white horse, her legs now conspicuously parted as she straddles the jittery, stamping animal, she invokes God and country, blood and honor, life and death, bringing to mind at once Joan of Arc, Henry V, Winston Churchill and Tony Blair in one gaspingly unbelievable, cinematically climactic moment. The queenly body quakes as history and fantasy explode.
This movie is getting a lot of bad reviews, possibly from people who don't get or don't appreciate what it's trying to do. Let's check in with Steven D. Greydanus of Decent Films Guide:
A lurid sort of Christopher Hitchens vision of history pervades Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Shekhar Kapur’s sequel to his 1998 art-house hit Elizabeth.
Christopher Hitchens? He's everywhere. (Omnipresent.)
The earlier film, which made a star of Cate Blanchett as the eponymous Virgin Queen, celebrated the triumph of bright, happy Elizabethan Protestantism over the dark, unwholesome Catholic world of Bloody Mary. Even so, that film’s church-bashing was tame compared that of this sequel, in which everything bad, evil and corrupt in the world ultimately is ultimately the bitter fruit of Religion. And by Religion, I mean Catholicism....

In attacking England, Philip [II of Spain] is convinced that he’s on a mission from God: “England is enslaved to the devil,” he declares. “We must set her free.” Certain that God is on his side as he leads his nation into a holy war that becomes a debacle, Philip couldn’t be a blacker, nuttier Hollywood villain if his middle initial were W.
Wait. Isn't Spain al Qaeda?
Other flirtations with topicality in this pre-election year include assassins and conspirators praying secretly in a foreign language while plotting their murderous attacks, and the Machiavellian Sir Francis Walsingham (returning Geoffrey Rush) torturing a captured conspirator during an interrogation. (Tom Hollander, who costarred with Rush in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, is running around somewhere in this picture, an odd juxtaposition in another film that ends with a sea battle with cannons.)

The film does go on to concede that the Spanish have other grievances against the English besides religion, such as the Queen’s tolerant stance on English pirates like Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) raiding Spanish ships.
Sex, religion, politics, pirates... Let's go to the movies!

Al Gore!

He's won the Nobel Prize!
"His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change,'' the citation said. "He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted."

Does this mean we'll see some more "strong commitment" to "political activity"? Al Gore for President!

Oh, go ahead and talk about whether he deserves it, blah, blah, blah, blah. But we've already been through that.

I want to talk about what happens now. Is Al supposed to sit home and content himself with his collection of every prize but the presidency? Or is he going to emerge from his world of warmth — where everyone effuses over his brilliant goodness — and come back to the cold reality of a presidential campaign?

And what is Hillary thinking right now?

October 11, 2007

Columbia University won't turn over the video showing who hung the noose on the black professor's door.

So. The evidence is: Columbia University won't turn over the video showing who hung the noose on the black professor's door.

Infer.

UPDATE: Decision reversed. Good. It's absurd to report this to the police and then not cooperate. If you want to keep it private, resolve it internally.

ADDED: This Daily News article has a picture of the noose hanging from Professor Madonna Constantine's doorknob. There's also some info about her colleague Professor Suniya Luthar, whom Constantine is suing for $100,000 — some defamation case that we'll need to hear more about. We're told Luthar is not a suspect, but right under the picture of the noose, the newpaper has a picture of Luthar with worried expression on her face. In the photo, Luthar is caught wearing an oversized "Phantom of the Opera" T-shirt and short shorts. This exposure of Luthar — we see her thighs — seems really unfair.

AND: By contrast, this long NYT article about Constantine doesn't even mention Luthar's name. We're told only that Constantine has "filed a defamation lawsuit against another professor in her department" and that she "declined to elaborate on the case." (I want to add that it strikes me as inconceivable that Luthar is the culprit here.)

Acid rain.

In New York, when it rains, people overreact absurdly, as if the rain were acid. There was a normal, gentle rain falling as I was walking home from work today, and I saw people cringing, looking deeply distressed. And absolutely everyone had an umbrella. There's this myth that New Yorkers are tough. I don't believe it.

"And another thing - the crotch, down where your nuts hang - is always a little too tight..."

"... so when you make them up, give me an inch that I can let out there, uh because they cut me, it's just like riding a wire fence. These are almost, these are the best I've had anywhere in the United States..."

Oh, my Lord! It's LBJ, on the phone, ordering pants!
But, uh when I gain a little weight they cut me under there. So, leave me , you never do have much of margin there. See if you can't leave me an inch from where the zipper (burps) ends, round, under my, back to my bunghole, so I can let it out there if I need to.
When you're done laughing, listen to the audio version, and re-experience the mirth.

ADDED: This is hilarious, but when you finally get past the laughter, you may notice the serious side of it. What is Lyndon Johnson doing here — besides ordering pants? Why is the President of the United States getting his clothing this way, with a phone call, describing what he wants in this kind of detail, but without any measurements? Does he even want the pants, which he extols as the best pants ever but seems also to hate for numerous reasons? Why is he going on about his body parts and burping loudly without excusing himself? He's humiliating the man on the other end of the line who is forced to respond in the most servile way. I think this is a species of phone sex — perverted phone sex.

Can the President direct the states to follow a ruling of the World Court on the meaning of of a U.S. treaty?

This is the subject of Medellin v. Texas, argued — with great vigor — in the Supreme Court yesterday. SCOTUSblog summarizes:
With cross-currents of constitutional and international law flowing freely, what appeared to be a majority of the Justices looked askance at a Presidential memo in February 2005, directing nine U.S. states to give 51 Mexican nationals convicted of crimes in those states a new chance to test their rights under an international treaty, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. What was troubling those Justices the most, it seemed, was that the President had sought to make binding a ruling by the World Court that would otherwise not have controlling effect on states’ ciminal [sic] procedures. That was worrisome for two reasons: it might intrude on the Court’s role to say what the legal meaning and effect of treaties is, and it might empower the World Court, in effect, to dictate the substance of American law....

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy ... twice raised concerns about whether the President could “displace the authority” of the Court to interpret judgments of the World Court. ... The World Court ruling itself, [Medellin's lawyer] said, is federal law — binding on the states by virtue of the Supremacy Clause, and also binding because the President had concluded through his Article II power to it was in the nation’s interest to comply with the World Court judgment.

... [Solicitor General Paul] Clement stressed that the government did not support Medellin’s argument that, without the President’s action, the World Court decision would be binding on the state courts in the U.S. “The President’s role is critically important,” the Solicitor General argued....

Two members of the Court who often talk of the value of looking to foreign law for guidance, Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, were clearly the most willing on Wednesday to show support for the World Court’s authority and the duty of the U.S. to fulfill its promise of obeying World Court judgments in interpreting the Vienna Convention. Thus, they were the most energetic questioners of Texas’ state Solicitor General, R. Ted Cruz.

Justice Breyer sought Cruz’s response to a simple “chain of logic,” going from the language of the Constitution making treaties “the law of the land,” the U.S. agreement to the Vienna Convention and its agreement to abide by World Court rulings applying that treaty, and then to the requirement of the World Court that states take full account of the Convention’s strictures. Cruz said that Texas did not dispute that treaties were the law of the land, but said that what was at stake here was the action of the President in seeking to make the World Court judgment binding on the states in contradiction to their own laws. The Convention, he said, is not a self-executing treaty, and the President cannot make it so on his own....
This is an extremely difficult question. Here's the PDF transcript of the argument. I will write something more about it later.

City view.

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ADDED: There's some discussion in the comments about how this picture would look in black and white. Here's your answer:

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Another guy in shorts walking dogs in Brooklyn Heights.

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Analyze.. including the fact that I don't disapprove of this one. There's some exception to my anti-shorts rule to be figured out.

Doris Lessing wins the Nobel Prize.

For Literature... some of which I've read right through to the end and some of which I've read part of and then tossed aside, pursuant to advice I first read in Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook," the first book I tossed aside, pursuant to its own advice. I haven't been the same since. Doris Lessing changed my life, my book-reading life. Which books did I read through to the end? "The Fifth Child" — which I actually assigned in a class I used to teach called Women in Law and Literature — "The Summer Before the Dark," and "The Four-Gated City."

October 10, 2007

Gore's movie has 9 errors.

Says British judge.

ADDED: More:
In what is a rare judicial ruling on what children can see in the class-room, Mr Justice Barton was at pains to point out that the “apocalyptic vision” presented in the film was politically partisan and not an impartial analysis of the science of climate change.

“It is plainly, as witnessed by the fact that it received an Oscar this year for best documentary film, a powerful, dramatically presented and highly professionally produced film,” he said in his ruling. “It is built around the charismatic presence of the ex-Vice-President, Al Gore, whose crusade it now is to persuade the world of the dangers of climate change caused by global warming.

“It is now common ground that it is not simply a science film – although it is clear that it is based substantially on scientific research and opinion – but that it is a political film.”

The analysis by the judge will have a bearing on whether the Government can continue with its plan to have the film shown in every secondary school. He agreed it could be shown but on the condition that it was accompanied by new guidance notes for teachers to balance Mr Gore’s “one-sided” views.
This was no anti-Gore judge, as he agreed “[t]hat climate change is mainly attributable to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (‘greenhouse gases’).” Moreover, as you can see above, he considers Gore a "charismatic presence."

Althouse meets Instapundit and Dr. Helen.

As you can see if you read Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds is in New York City to do a Popular Mechanics conference. So I took a cab into Manhattan to meet him...

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... and his wife Helen Smith — Dr. Helen — for lunch.

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You might think we all already know each other, but in fact, I'd never met them.

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Glenn had to go to his conference, and Helen and I went off to indulge in a little shopping.

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Are you the kind of shopper who enjoys getting your shopping companion to buy things? I am!

ADDED: Helen says she loves the shoes. Glenn says he felt like we were old companions. Good point.

The Breaking Wave.

Breaking wave

"When you're attacked continually in American politics, you either give up or get disoriented or you either lose or leave..."

"... or you persevere and show your resilience."

Hillary Clinton makes an observation, and she's talking about herself. Of course, the same thing applies to President Bush. "Resilient" — it's a good word, a good substitute for relentless, remorseless, impervious, incurious...

(By the way, she's touring Iowa right now, and the tour is called the "Middle Class Express." Catchy, no?)

Deflecting asteroids.

It's all done with mirrors.

Is a celibate priest allowed to be in love with a woman?

He promises to keep the relationship chaste, and he's asked for "a dispensation to go out with her." The answer is no:
The Rev. Sante Sguotti can no longer work as pastor in his Monterosso parish and cannot hear confessions from the faithful, the diocese of Padua said in a statement....
Is the main problem that they don't believe he'll remain chaste — the woman had a baby that he helped name — or that we don't want to see him openly dating a woman? Or is it that a priest is supposed to be devoted to the whole congregation and not fixated on one individual?

Fred, the Debate Debutant.

How do you think Fred Thompson did last night?

Here's the transcript. I've got some comments in last night's post, but I'll just say he didn't do anything to create excitement or even fulfill expectations. He had his big chance to make a first impression, and since everyone else was an old impression, he should have made the difference work for him. Instead, Giuliani, Romney, and Huckabee took advantage of their experience with the debate format. (I'm leaving McCain off that list intentionally.)

Thompson was asked about his performance at the end of the debate:
Ms. Bartiromo: Senator Thompson? Senator Thompson, this was your first debate. How did it feel?

Mr. Thompson: Just like home.

(LAUGHTER)

I didn't say which kind of home.
That's a joke that didn't happen.
Ms. Bartiromo: Do you regret waiting so long?

Mr. Thompson: No. I don't think I waited too long. It seems about right to me.

(LAUGHTER)
Why that gets laughter... you can't tell from the transcript.
I've enjoyed...

Mr. Matthews: Do we have any questions?
What's with Matthews?
Mr. Thompson: I've enjoyed watching these fellas. I've got to admit, it was getting a little boring without me, but...

(LAUGHTER)

.. I'm glad to be here now.
It was getting a little boring without me... That's a good line. A line prepared in advance and delivered well. But... didn't he bring the boring? It was getting a little more boring with him.

IN THE COMMENTS: A recurrent defense of Fred: We like boring, we want boring, boring is good...

October 9, 2007

Blogging the Republican debate.

1. It started — like my Fedcourts class — at 4, and I set the old Explorer 8000 to save it for me. So, let's go.

Chris Matthews is asking the questions. The subject is the economy (so let's see who tries to leaven the discussion with easier material). The locale is Michigan. The big excitement is that Fred Thompson is making his first appearance in a debate.

Fred gets the first question. "I see no reason to believe we're headed for ... [gigantic, scary pause]... an economic downturn." Oh, Fred, do not do that again.

2. Mitt Romney is second, and he looks startlingly handsome after that long gaze into the face of Fred. Has he changed his appearance, or is it just the contrast? He seems so lively after the lethargic Thompson. He gets off a joke right away, just some silly business about how he was afraid the governor of Michigan would tax the debate, but it gets a huge laugh.

Next up is Giuliani, and he sounds vigorous, listing "fundamentals," and sneaking in the subject of baseball. Also, he throws out the red meat: too many lawsuits.

3. Ron Paul rails about the monetary system and assigns us homework: we need to study monetary theory. John McCain assigns Ron Paul homework: "The Wealth of Nations." He [McCain] was asked about the fairness of taxes, though, and he veers off the topic after he assures us that everyone pays taxes.

4. Mike Huckabee is asked about his idea for a national sales tax. Won't that mess up the economy? No, it'll be great because it will "un-tax productivity." And drug dealers, illegal aliens, and prostitutes and pimps will start paying taxes. Huckabee is the first person to sound really sympathetic to the problems of working people.

5. Oh, good Lord. I just got a glimpse of how many guys are on the stage. Who are they all? Duncan Hunter is complaining about "Communist China," and Matthews gives Thompson a chance to defend free trade. Sam Brownback won't raise taxes. Tancredo sounds rational booming about Medicare and Social Security. (His microphone is turned way up and echo-y.)

6. Giuliani wants to cut taxes as much as possible. (It worked in NYC.) Romney wants to cut taxes and spending. (It worked in Massachusetts.) He loved the line-item veto when he was Governor of Massachusetts and thinks we should have it at the federal level. No acknowledgment of its unconstitutionality.

Oh! Ha, ha. Giuliani is next, not only telling us the line-item veto is unconstitutional, but bragging that he, personally, took Bill Clinton to court and had it declared unconstitutional. He adds: "What the heck can you do about that if you're a strict constructionist?" Ha, ha. He got in an extra kick — the two of them both claim to be "strict constructionists" (to appease the pro-life sector of the party). Oh, that was rich! He beats Mitt down even further saying he brought taxes down in New York while Romney raised them. We see Romney in the split screen. Is he writhing in pain?

Romney gets "surrebuttal" time [— the WSJ transcript has "Sir, rebuttal" — ] and reels out competing statistics. "Look, we're both guys who are in favor of keeping spending down and keeping taxes down." We see Giuliani in the split screen. I'm guessing he's thinking about how he doesn't care what they — as "guys" — favor; the question is what do you do. For guys, it's the action that counts. Romney goes on to say the place they differ is on the line-item veto and "I'd have never gone to the Supreme Court." So. You mean you like executive power and you don't want to hear what the Supreme Court has to say about it? Matthews asks him if he believes the line-item veto is unconstitutional and he's all "I do not believe it is." Giuliani: "You don't get to 'believe' about it. The Supreme Court has ruled on it." And Bill Clinton was trying to take $200 million from his city unconstitutionally. (Bill Clinton! That outrageous renegade who's married to our inevitable opponent. Only Giuliani is beating up on Hillary at this point. He's out in front because of this.)

Now, if Mitt Romney was really knowledgeable at this point, he'd say that Justice Scalia wrote a wonderful dissent in New York v. United States saying that the so-called line-item veto was constitutional, and hasn't Giuliani been going around saying he wants to appoint Justices like Scalia? But we don't get the chance to see if he's that sharp, because they move on to another question. Yet I think if he'd known enough to say that he'd have insisted on getting one more shot in.

7. Sorry. I got interrupted. If this were my job, I'd have to finish, wouldn't I? (An economics point about an economics debate.)

8. [Added the following morning.] I'm sorry I didn't keep going, but think how long this post would have been. If you watch straight through without pausing, you can blog the whole thing without it getting ridiculous, but if you pause, it's a big problem. Anyway, I did eventually watch the whole thing, but nothing jumped out at me as interesting enough to describe. Maybe my plan for future debates will be: blogging the hell out of the first half hour. Most people leave after that, I'll bet, and I think the candidates act as if they believe they do. Giuliani and Mitt sure did, and this morning everyone's talking about how they overshadowed Fred the Debate Debutant.

Speaking of plans, I love the first comment in here by Trooper York:
Adm. Painter: What's his plan?
Jack Ryan: His plan?
Adm. Painter: Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan
(Fred Thompson as Adm. Painter in the Hunt for Red October 1990)

Accidental theme day... or was it intentional?

It's paranoia day here on the blog. "Paranoia is a disturbed thought process characterized by excessive anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion," according to Wikipedia... Hey, wait a minute. Wikipedia is a conspiracy, is it not? Even if it wasn't originally a conspiracy, by now it must have conspiracies deeply woven throughout its endless paths.

Things not to tell al Qaeda. (I guess.)

1. We've cracked your intranet system. They'll have to turn it off.

2. We interrogate with waterboarding. They'll just waterboard each other until they can take it.

"They were large for dragonflies. I thought, 'Is that mechanical, or is that alive?'"

Robobugs. Seen lately — we're told — at political rallies in Washington and New York. Fear the dragonfly... and those screenless windows you have... I have...

"Someone took our name and used it. It was hateful."

A conservative group sponsors something it calls "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" on campus and feels the hate. For conservatives, apparently. But whoever hates the conservatives doesn't mind making the Muslim students feel hurt — as long as they feel hurt by conservatives.

UPDATE: 7 GW students confess:
"It is to our great dismay that the student body and the media missed the clear, if subtle, message of our flier: the hyperbolic nature of the flier was aimed at exposing Islamophobic racism," the e-mail said.
We didn't miss it here, of course.

Vototron, the new interactive social contract.

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Click here to enlarge for easy readability.

Nice poster, no? Let's look at the website. The idea is to write and vote on the social contract. Smart and artistic. Let's see how it plays out. Lots of comic stuff now — "Frogs for children! All children will get a froggie. — Joseph Stalin." But it could just as well get serious.

(Photo taken in DUMBO, Brooklyn.)

Downtown.

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"Downtown" is painted on the window of Pete's Downtown Restaurant and reflected on the mirrors in the back of the restaurant. Reflected in the window are a taxi cab, buildings across the river in Manhattan, the photographer, etc.

2 buildings, 2 bridges, 2 pedestrians.

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An old man with a package is walking up the hill. (This is the hill that makes Brooklyn Heights heights.) A perhaps-young woman with her foot in a cast is walking down the hill toward the overpass that connects two parts of the Jehovah's Witnesses buildings. In the background: the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge.

"Borat's babe Isla plans sex revolution."

Headline that makes something sound waaaaay more exciting than it is.

October 8, 2007

I'm trying to collect my thoughts to tell you what I thought of the movie "Across the Universe."

This is a movie built on Beatles songs — covers of Beatles songs — and you must understand that I love The Beatles. So factor that into what I say. But I wasn't drawn in and entranced the way you're obviously supposed to be. Here is a love story, a really simple love story. There's a man and a woman and they are made for each other, but some misunderstanding separates them temporarily. Ho hum. That's the most basic story on the face of the earth.

But Beatles songs undergird everthing. And some of it is damned clever — especially "Mr. Kite" and — following right after it — "Because." But it's nowhere nearly as good as "Moulin Rouge," which is what it's most like. It's better than "Tommy," which is what it really reminded me of. So let's just say it's on the same level as "Hair."

Mr. Kite was played by Eddie Izzard, and he was far and away the best thing in the movie. He kept changing the lyrics in a way that was really cool: "Have you seen it? It's great! They've got stuff!" If only everyone else had so much stuff... But they are mainly pretty people with typical hopes 'n' dreams. Set in the 60s, of course, so there's plenty of Vietnam and LSD to beat you over the head with the spirit of the times.

Bono is in the movie too. He plays a character similar to Izzard's. He's a psychedelic huckster. — Dr. Robert. But he doesn't do so much with the role. Still, he gets credit for singing it all very well and for allowing them to make him up to be so terribly ugly.

Who's the star of the movie that is filming right under my window beginning tomorrow at 5 a.m.?

Snoop Dogg!

"A depressed, cold and bitter man who was constantly going after different women."

That would be Charles Schulz, according to a new biography (which his kids are upset about). Oh, good grief, what do you expect from a cartoonist? Of course, the guy is going to be depressed and bitter. That's comics, isn't it?

A man in shorts walks 2 skinny dogs.

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The 2 skinny dogs cringe as 2 men in suits approach. The man in shorts does not register any emotion when a lawprof blogger turns to deplore and photograph.

"Why couldn’t these yuppies afford to cover their own damned kids?"

Asks Don Surber (via Instapundit), noting: "The Frosts found an 'affordable' business building and an 'affordable' 3,000-square foot house and an 'affordable' private school."

It's just human nature. Insurance is different from a house and a business and schooling, which are all things people are buying to use now. Insurance looks way too expensive when you have to shell out your own money that you'd like to spend on something else. Surber says why don't they pay for their own damned kids, but this is the same attitude people have when they decide not to put their money into insurance. They think they'll probably get lucky and spend less by paying their bills directly, and mostly they are right. So all that money will be going for somebody else's medical bills, and you don't want to pay. Face it. This is human nature.

Will there be a Nobel Prize for Al Gore? And if, so will he run for President?

Some people think yes, yes. I'm wondering if I want to be one of them. A lot seems to hang on whether his movie was totally honest. It wasn't, but nevertheless, I like Al Gore. Here's my simulblog of "An Inconvenient Truth." I'm glancing back at all my Al Gore posts, trying to see how consistent I've been. There are too many to check, and I'm sure I've mocked him as ridiculous or pompous on many occasions. But I mocked him as ridiculous and pompous back in 2000, and I voted for him. The Republicans got a new guy in Thompson. Time for the Democrats to get someone new. The old crowd is so tedious, especially the topic of whether Hillary is inevitable. Let's have some Al. If he wins the Nobel Prize.

Holes and crime.

1. Someone punched a hole — a big fist-sized hole — in "Le Pont d'Argenteuil," an "invaluable," "magnificent masterpiece" by Claude Monet. Why? "It appears they were drunk," says the French Culture Minister. No one could just hate Impressionism that much. Imagine breaking in to a great museum — this was the Musee d'Orsay — and feeling like punching out one of the works of art. Is there a painting or sculpture out there that seems to you to be asking for it?

2. Meanwhile, in Farmington, Missouri, Scott A. Masters faces up to 30 years of prison after shoplifting a doughnut — or so it appears if you pick up your news from headlines. They also say he shoved the store clerk who tried to stop him, which makes it "strong-arm robbery." I'm sure there have been murders committed over doughnuts — and $5 Stetson hats. You go to prison for the murder. Masters — a fool — is talking to the press: "Strong-arm robbery? Over a doughnut? That's impossible. I've never had a violent crime in my life. And there's no way I would've pushed a woman over a doughnut." Any food you would push a woman over?

The new guerilla war in Iraq.

And how to fight it.

The Guardian The Observer obsesses about naked male wrestling in the movies.

Apparently, there's lots of it.

Well, we all remember "Borat," and I can remember Oliver Reed and Alan Bates naked-wrestling in front of the fire in Ken Russell's version of the D.H. Lawrence film "Women in Love." ("According to Russell, Bates and Reed were fairly evenly equipped, although Oliver 'kept nipping behind the curtains between takes to give nature a helping hand'.") But what else is there? There's at least the new David Cronenberg movie. ("Having won hearts as hunky hero Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Viggo really shows what he's made of in Eastern Promises, grappling his male assailants with nothing more than a patchwork of tattoos to cover his rippling body.") And: "If you type 'Jason Statham' and 'oil wrestling' into Google (as I have often done) you will be directed to several sites featuring a scene from The Transporter in which the geezery star, stripped to the waist, smothers himself with lubricant before going mano-a-mano with his slippery opponents in a sticky slick."

Should I be reading The Guardian more? I love the subject matter but the prose is making me a little ill.

UPDATE: I'm told this piece is actually in The Observer, a separate paper. Sorry, I'm not reading the paper. I'm reading a website. And the big red "Guardian" logo makes me think I'm reading something called The Guardian. This mistaken perception has been going on for years.

October 7, 2007

Cloudy sunset tonight.

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Doll in a glass case.

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(At FAO Schwarz.)

Gender-based...

... wrinkle assessment.

AND: Make sure to click through to the story about the "fresh-faced" men. The original photos might be funnier that the caricatures at the first link. Did you know Kirk Douglas looks "years younger" than his age? His age is 90.

Orin Kerr devastates Frank Rich...

... with facts that Rich should be quite embarrassed not to have checked.

ADDED: Rich also asserts that Thomas never turns a critical eye on Republicans. Rich stresses Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy" and writes:
One former Nixon White House colleague, Pat Buchanan, said on "Meet the Press" last weekend that it was no big deal for Republican candidates to skip a debate before an African-American audience because blacks make up only about 10 percent of the voting public and Republicans only get about a tenth of that anyway....

Mr. Thomas seems ignorant of this changing America. He can never see past his enemies' list, which in his book expands beyond his political foes, Yale and the press to "elite white women" and "paternalistic big-city whites" and "light-skinned blacks."
But as I wrote back here:
At page 178, of "My Grandfather's Son," Justice Thomas, who was chairman of the EEOC, states that his "main quarrel with the Reagan administration... was that it needed a positive civil-rights agenda, instead of merely railing against quotas and affirmative action."

At page 179, he writes: "Too many of the president's political appointees seemed more interested in playing to the conservative bleachers..." He suspected this was because "blacks didn't vote for Republicans," so there was little to be gained by helping them. As proof that his suspicion was right, he notes that he offered to help the Reagan reelection campaign "only to be met with near-total indifference." A "political consultant" told him "straight out that since the president's reelection strategy didn't include the black vote, there was no role for" him.
So Clarence Thomas wrote explicitly about the exact issue that he "seems ignorant of" to Rich. Yes, of course, he seems ignorant to you, Frank Rich, because you knew the attitude you intended to take and you had your assumptions all lined up when you wrote this idiotic tirade.

Take another look at the column, and you'll see that Rich got most of the material for his column by watching television. I've added some boldface to point this up:
Since kicking off his book tour on "60 Minutes" last Sunday, he has been whining all the way to the bank...

It's useful to watch Mr. Thomas at this moment, 16 years after his riveting confirmation circus....

This could be seen most vividly on "60 Minutes,"...

Bill O'Reilly may have deemed the "60 Minutes" piece "excellent," but others spotted the holes. Marc Morial, the former New Orleans mayor who now directs the National Urban League, told Tavis Smiley on PBS that it was "as though Justice Thomas's public relations firm edited the piece." On CNN, Jeffrey Toobin, the author of the new best-seller about the court, "The Nine," said that it was "real unfair"...

[Thomas] asserted to a compliant Jan Crawford Greenburg of ABC News last week...
Did Rich even read the book?

Urban park with painted-on grass.

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Imaginary wildlife:

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The long view.

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