October 4, 2008

Be hot.

DSC_0232

Think nothing of it.

Be cool.

DSC_0109

Think deep thoughts.

A poll about polls.

So what do you think of these little polls?
Unscientific trash.
They show Althouse doesn't know what to think.
Althouse is trying to hide what she thinks.
They reveal the complexity of issues.
Amusing.
pollcode.com free polls

The UW Marching Band, accused of hazing, barred from performing at tonight's game.

The report doesn't say exactly what happened:
[UW-Madison Band Director Mike] Leckrone found out about the allegations at 3:45 p.m. Friday afternoon and informed the members of the suspension at around 4:30 p.m. ....

The band has a history of hazing. ... Leckrone said the allegations Friday were very similar to those in 2006.

The 2006 incidents included: demeaning and abusive demands for younger band members to run errands and refill beer cups for older members; women forced to kiss other women to gain access to bus bathrooms; highly sexualized banter and more, according to the university.

UPDATE: So the fans suffered twice: no band and the team lost the big game.
"I think there's a counterculture that really operates outside of the band structure that feels like this is the cool thing, this is what being part of the band is," [Lekrone] said. "We've stressed that's not the case at all."

Still, the latest incident is not the first time the band has been accused of hazing or lewd behavior. The culture of hazing has ebbed and flowed over the years, Leckrone said.

"You get 18- or 19-year-old kids who don't always use the best adult judgment," Leckrone said. "They think it's part of the organization. I think it's a hard thing to break down."...

Heather Watter, who played trumpet in the band from 2003 to '06, said she quit before her fourth year in part because she wanted to focus on her studies and in part because she said she didn't like the atmosphere of the band, which she said revolved heavily around alcohol.

"I heard of people my freshman year that seemed pretty quiet and shy who were getting completely drunk and doing things they wouldn't do otherwise," she said. "It seemed like they were forced to drink."

But she said she was never the subject of any serious hazing and said she avoided situations where she might feel uncomfortable.

"There is pressure to do that kind of stuff so maybe some people don't think they can escape that pressure," she said.

And then there's the way Sarah Palin keeps saying "also," also.

I want to assure you that you haven't yet noticed everything there is to observe about the way Sarah Palin talks. Language Log writes::
One of the things that marks Sarah Palin as a linguistic outsider is her use of also. In part, this is just a matter of frequency.... Relative to the rates seen in large and representative corpora, Gov. Palin used also about 5 to 10 times more often than expected...

But the most striking thing about Gov. Palin's affinity for this word is how she used it, not how often. 13 out of her 48 examples (27%) were sentence-final...
Lots of examples at the link, such as "I'm sure that we're going to see more success there, also."
And 18 of Gov. Palin's other alsos (37.5%) were, we might say, peripheral — initial, or between clauses, or among a pile of adverbs at the start or end of a clause, e.g....

That's 65% of her alsos on the edges of clauses....

[I]t's not at all clear to me whether this is an individual quirk, or a matter of regional or cultural variation. And if it's more than an individual quirk, is it an innovation or a survival?
Hmmm. I used to know a guy who used the word "too" in the beginning of sentences, which always seemed weird to me. I think "also" feels right at the beginning, while "too" feels right at the end, but I have no idea how I acquired this feeling. I went through a phase when I used to say "as well" instead of "too" or "also." I knew it was an affectation -- how, I don't know -- and I eventually got over it.

Anyway, odd speech patterns can affect what we think of a politician. They can draw us in or make us suspicious, and different people react to different things. Most national-level politicians speak in what seems to me to be a very standard (and boring) way. We tend to find that reassuring. They seem smart enough. It's risky to sound different. It can be charming, and it annoys the hell out of some people.

MORE: Some outfit called Global Language Monitor, analyzing the VP debate, says Palin spoke at a 9.5 grade level, and Biden spoke at the 7.8 level.

This strikes me as pseudo-linguistics, done by computer and particularly unreliable when a transcriber is making decisions about where to end and begin sentences and paragraphs, but I'm noting it because it's reported at CNN and getting some discussion in the blogosphere.

In any case, even if the science were sound, it wouldn't mean Palin is smarter or more effective than Biden. It's hard to speak spontaneously in crisp, clear sentences, and it's often completely self-indulgent or deliberately obfuscatory to string a lot of clauses together.

Ukrainian playing cards.

Nice!

"... this clown's blog, stating more or less that Palin gave him an erection? Little starbursts my ass."

Andrew Sullivan cannot get enough of needling Rich Lowry for writing:
I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.
Now, of course, that's rather silly, but certainly no sillier than Sullivan's endless murmuring over Obama's attractiveness.

So, finally, O.J. Simpson will go to prison.

Convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping:
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for 13 hours, mulling weeks of testimony as well as hours of surreptitious audio recordings of the planning and execution of the event by Thomas Riccio, a memorabilia auctioneer who arranged the confrontation.

There were no blacks among the jurors, a concern of the defense that Mr. Simpson’s attorneys said would likely be part of an appeal. Eight of 12 jurors were black when he was acquitted in 1995 on charges that he stabbed to death his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman....

“We don’t want people going into rooms to take property,” Mr. Roger said in his closing arguments on Thursday. “That is robbery. You don’t go in and get a gun and demand property from people.”

Four of the 24 witnesses who testified were the other men who had accompanied Mr. Simpson and Mr. Stewart, all of whom have accepted plea deals from prosecutors in exchange for testimony. Two of them, Walter Alexander and Michael McClinton, carried guns in the incident, and one, Mr. McClinton, testified that he did so at Mr. Simpson’s request.

Mr. Simpson said he did not know that the two would carry weapons and never saw any guns displayed during the incident....

[Simpson's lawyer Yale] Galanter attacked that issue in his closing, noting that Mr. Riccio’s recorder had picked up police officers at the crime scene seeming to exult in their chance to prosecute Mr. Simpson. He also noted that Mr. Riccio alone testified that he had made more than $200,000 in fees from the news media in exchange for interviews and rights to his recordings.

“This case has never been about a search for the true facts,” Mr. Galanter said. “This case has taken on a life of its own because Mr. Simpson’s involved. You know that, I know that, every cooperator, every person with a gun, every person who signed a book deal, every person who got paid money, the police, the district attorney’s office, was only interested in one thing: Mr. Simpson.”

Did O.J. Simpson get a fair trial?
Yes! He committed robbery and kidnapping.
Yes! He's a murderer.
No. Those old murders infected this trial.
Let the appellate court determine if there were errors.
pollcode.com free polls

One more round of the old question: Why aren't there more female lawprof bloggers?

Law.com has a big piece -- written by C.C. Holland -- on the old topic of the lack of women bloggers, specifically law bloggers. She -- I had to use Google to figure out C.C.'s a she -- details 3 theories:
Theory #1: Women law bloggers are out there, you just don't see them....

One explanation for the apparent lack of female voices is that while they're out there, they're not as well-promoted as the male bloggers. "Folks tend to link to their friends, and it's especially hard for a newer blogger to break into that closed circle," says [Mary Dudziak, a professor of law, history and political science at the University of Southern California and founder/editor of the Legal History Blog.]
I think any law professor starting a blog can email other lawprof bloggers and get an early boost. It's much harder for someone who is a lawyer to say look at my blog, but lawprofs have a huge advantage over other bloggers that should irritate nonlawprof bloggers.

It's unlikely that female lawprofs have a special disadvantage. Everyone knows that women lawprofs aren't equally prominent in the law blogosphere, and the tendency among lawprofs is to want to remedy gender inequality, and so women lawprof bloggers have a second advantage.

I remember the first time I emailed Glenn Reynolds in the hope of getting a link. It was back in 2004, after I wrote a post identifying a serious law-related error that a presidential candidate had made in a debate and that no one else had pointed out. I'd been blogging for 6 weeks, putting up posts every day that I was proud of and that I thought showed a distinctive writing style and point of view, but I hadn't thought it was appropriate to ask Glenn, whom I'd never met, to pay any attention to me before that. Glenn linked, and he also emailed something like I didn't know you had a blog, which surprised me, as the mere existence of my blog didn't seem like anything notable. But I got the impression that there was an eagerness to pay attention to women lawprof bloggers.
Theory #2: Women don't have the same time to blog as men. "Regardless of what we say about women's equality, women with families have disproportionate child care responsibilities which leaves them less time to pursue things like blogging," notes Kathleen Bergin, co-author of the First Amendment Law Prof Blog and associate professor of First Amendment and constitutional law at South Texas College of Law....
You know, blogging takes time. It takes attention and concentration, and if you are living with people who want attention, it's going to be hard. If you need or love to devote time to your family, you can set aside time to write if you care enough to do it -- a couple hours late at night or early in the morning -- but the question is whether you will want to do that. And you will need to do that every day if you want to become a prominent blogger.

I think it is much harder for women to say to the men and children in their house that this is time I demand for myself and then to sit there staring at a screen and clicking on a keyboard. It looks so cold, this melding of human being and machine.

I think wives get annoyed at husbands who spend too much time staring at the computer. But men who want to do it claim that time for themselves. Women, I think, worry more about looking so self-involved and unconnected to the real, fleshly human beings in the house. They are more vulnerable to guilt and guilt-tripping that they are not loving enough.

I'm no expert on marriage, though I was married long ago, but I can imagine what a husband would say if he was witnessing my writing habits. I picture him telling me it's absurd to live like this. It's unhealthy. It's insane.

Wait. That's why I'm not married. Let me try again.

I picture a wonderfully delightful man who is always luring me away from the keyboard with sex, food, tickets to movies and music shows, travel plans, and ... whatever... long walks in the damned rain. Without Bad Husband or Good Husband in the house telling me/showing me what I should be doing with my time, it's easier for me to choose to do something I want and love to do.

Anyway, Theory #2 has some weight, but I would like to see women take responsibility for what they do with their time. If you care about doing something that you are not now doing, change something.

You have "disproportionate child care responsibilities" and you're a law professor and that's not your choice? Do something about it! Don't use it as an excuse and complain that the whole structure of society needs to change first.

Theory #3: Women are more prone to professional or personal attack, so they avoid blogging....
There's some truth to this, but again, I'd like to see some personal responsibility.

The internet is not going to coddle and comfort you. In fact, the internet wants you out of here. If you're going to be the sort of person who doesn't want to insist on her place when she can see that other people want her out of here, you're not going to get very far blogging.

Some blogosphere folk may want to make this a nice, inviting place for you, but they don't control the environment. It's a big, crazy world in here, and you have to stake out your place in it. There are plenty of people who are only too willing to use the techniques that work to exclude women, and you have to decide that you intend to stay. It takes some nerve, and there's a price to pay. It is harder for women. Do it anyway.

Stop whining, blaming others, looking for protectors, and blog... if you want to. If you don't, be honest. Admit it. Play with your kids, watch TV with your husband, read a novel, write a novel... Do what you want, but for God's sake, know what you want and admit it.

ADDED: Mary Dudziak responds to the article:
There are lots of women bloggers, including law bloggers. But it can be hard to break out of a particular niche and into the broader blogosphere. For good bloggers without a natural audience, it can be very hard to establish a readership.

The difficulty of establishing a readership is exacerbated when bloggers don’t read and link to women bloggers....
Dudziak tells bloggers that they ought to read, blogroll, and link to women bloggers more. You know, it's not that easy to link to blogs. Links need to be worth following, and you won't be a successful linker if you disappoint your readers by sending them to posts that aren't interesting enough. I don't want to link to something that is going to make readers think I'm trying to help women (especially if it looks like I'm trying to help those most privileged of women, women law professors). I'm not blogging to benefit other bloggers. I'm blogging to benefit readers.

AND: Glenn Reynolds links to this post and seems to disagree with my line "I'm not blogging to benefit other bloggers. I'm blogging to benefit readers."
Hmm. I'm more with SayUncle: "I do this to amuse me, not you."
Well, I agree with that too. I'm definitely in it for the personal satisfaction, and perhaps I flatter myself to think that by doing what pleases me, I will benefit you. But I do think that. I do think that blogging is about living freely in writing, in real time, in front of the world.

Glenn has a theory:
In that spirit, here's my own hypothesis: Men are genetically programmed to try to stand out through action, in the hopes of attracting women. It's true, of course that blogging is a relatively ineffective way of doing that -- but so are many other ways this urge manifests itself, like extreme Star Trek fandom. The point is the genetically programmed urge, which isn't programmed into women in the same manner. Is this true? Beats me, but it's amusing.
This theory suggests that it's much harder for women to achieve great things. We don't have the ulterior motive. We're only doing something because we think it's worth doing for its own sake. But, then again, it may be a different kind of advantage, to have no ulterior motives.

IN THE COMMENTS: C.C. Holland drops by and says:
Ann, thanks so much not only for this thoughtful, well-written response to my article -- but also for taking the time to Google me and establish that I have, in fact, two X chromosomes. (Much better than being called "gender ambiguous" by Above the Law.)

On a personal level, I do agree with your point about women not claiming time for themselves as easily as men and for handling the additional weight of guilt. Your comments about taking personal responsibility to overcome obstacles, of course, are dead-on.
Hey, take responsibility! You chose to be gender ambiguous, and Above the Law gave you what you indicated you wanted. I wasn't trying to show respect, just to gather information for my own purposes. I note that you marginalized me and interviewed other people instead of me, even as my name, apparently, kept coming up. I was curious to see whether a man or a woman was treating me thusly.

October 3, 2008

It's up to 882.

Come on! We can hit 1000!

Thanks to all the many commenters who hung out with me for the VP debate live-blog, some of whom are still hanging out there, trying to drive the comments into the 4 figures for the first time. There's some great stuff inside -- I front-paged some of it -- on-topic and off-... off-topic and off-color. There's the funny, and there's the search for a better, more Cuban, recipe for creole shrimp... and I'm sure we'll all find what we're looking for.

IN THE COMMENTS: Ruth Anne Adams said...
Why don't you sweeten the pot? Why don't you promise to vlog an egg salad sandwich or burned pasta or creole shrimp or something when we hit 1000?

I know! A pork-and-crap sandwich!

I'll do a vlog when it hits 1000, so give me some more ideas here. I don't really see why it should involve abasing myself however!

UPDATE: Whoa! We hit 1000!

"Run! It's Gosarah!"




This seems completely appropriate to me.



Via Boing Boing,

The bailout is in.

Are you happy about it?

Well, are you?
Yes!
No!
I'll have an opinion when I see what happens.
  
pollcode.com free polls

"She was knock-out gorgeous."

Rush Limbaugh, just now, raving about Sarah Palin at the debate.

AND: Much more substantively: "If she weren't shackled to McCain, do you realize how great this woman could have been?"

ADDED: If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, you can see that the big right-wing idea is to save Palin from McCain and to have her as the perfect conservative in 2012. The serious right wingers are afraid of what will happen in the next 4 years with Obama, but they don't see much value in having McCain in there doing almost the same thing, stabbing them in the back. Better to stick the Democrats with the present mess, let Obama struggle with all this insane crap, and have Palin looming ahead as the true Messiah-ette. She'll be above the fray, principled, the veritable embodiment of... hope and change.

Sarah Palin is another one of these politicians who say "nucular."

And look, there's a Wikipedia entry on "Nucular":

Usage by politicians

U.S. presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as Presidential Candidate Walter Mondale and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, have all used this pronunciation.
Ha ha. It's just the special, presidential way to say "nuclear."

Bill O'Reilly tries to work his gruesome magic on Barney Frank.



Frank is really good at standing his ground. O'Reilly had to keep ratcheting up, but it didn't work. He even resorted to accusing Frank of being less manly than -- of all people -- Cox.

Marketing the Oliver Stone movie about Bush with an Obama Girl spoof trailer for a (nonexistent) movie about Sarah Palin.

Politics and marketing are getting complicated:
The video was created by political-satire site BarelyPolitical.com, a unit of New York-based Web-TV company Next New Networks. Barely Political also produced the popular viral Web video “I’ve Got a Crush on Obama.” The site was acquired by Next New Networks in 2007. Next New Networks has worked with Lionsgate in the past to promote such films as the Jet Li movie “War.” Lionsgate declined to comment on the new spoof video. Barely Political plans to release another video with deleted scenes and outtakes, likely to coincide with tonight’s vice-presidential debate.
Here's the video, which is pretty funny:



There's a second video here, but as you can see, unfortunately, Obama Girl is a terrible actress when she tries to play herself as the actress playing Sarah Palin. She needs to stay in cartoon mode, and she's fine in the trailer.

The actual political content of all this is pretty thin in my view. I suppose it's anti-Palin, but it also works in her favor in various hard-to-pin-down ways. Perhaps it all depends on whether you start out wanting to like or hate her.

Anyway, I guess it's pretty effective marketing for the Oliver Stone movie, since the video is very viral.

"Ifill Awful?"

Kaus asks and answers: "Why are we supposed to think Gwen Ifill was so bad? Sure she was bland. She's Gwen Ifill! But it was a pretty lively debate, and she got out of the way."

I agree. Gwen Ifill was surpassingly bland, as expected. And that book of hers that was supposed to have created a terrible conflict of interest? It's going to be bland too.

Fact checking the VP debate.

FactCheck fact checks:
  • Palin mistakenly claimed that troop levels in Iraq had returned to “pre-surge” levels. Levels are gradually coming down but current plans would have levels higher than pre-surge numbers through early next year, at least.
  • Biden incorrectly said “John McCain voted the exact same way” as Obama on a controversial troop funding bill. The two were actually on opposite sides.
  • Palin repeated a false claim that Obama once voted in favor of higher taxes on “families” making as little as $42,000 a year. He did not. The budget bill in question called for an increase only on singles making that amount, but a family of four would not have been affected unless they made at least $90,000 a year.
  • Biden wrongly claimed that McCain “voted the exact same way” as Obama on the budget bill that contained an increase on singles making as little as $42,000 a year. McCain voted against it. Biden was referring to an amendment that didn't address taxes at that income level.
  • Palin claimed McCain’s health care plan would be “budget neutral,” costing the government nothing. Independent budget experts estimate McCain's plan would cost tens of billions each year, though details are too fuzzy to allow for exact estimates.
  • Biden wrongly claimed that McCain had said "he wouldn't even sit down" with the president of Spain. Actually, McCain didn't reject a meeting, but simply refused to commit himself one way or the other during an interview.
  • Palin wrongly claimed that “millions of small businesses” would see tax increases under Obama’s tax proposals. At most, several hundred thousand business owners would see increases.

Students and faculty protest political speech repression at the University of Illinois.

The Chicago Tribune reports:
The university's administration has sparked outrage by telling faculty, staff and graduate students that a 5-year-old state law designed to prevent state workers from campaigning for candidates on state time or with state resources meant they could not express support for candidates or parties through pins, T-shirts or bumper stickers while on campus. Nor could they attend any political rally or event on campus, the administration said.

"They're trying to control our bodies and our voices any time we're on campus. These policies are clearly a violation of our 1st Amendment rights," said Dan Colson, an English graduate student who, along with other students, professors and free-speech experts, has lashed out....

Tom Hardy, a University of Illinois spokesman, said Thursday that the university only wanted to inform its employees of the law and had no intention of enforcing it.
Informing people of the law when you have no intention of enforcing it? In other words, you want to scare people into shutting up. You intend to chill free speech.
The university, he said, would take no action against participants in the pro-Obama rally.
How about taking the action of rewriting the guidelines to express an interpretation of the law that you are willing to stand by?
"The purpose was to say, 'Keep these provisions in mind, exercise common sense, and everything will be fine,' " Hardy said of an e-mail sent to all employees and graduate students.
Talk about vague! The rule "exercise common sense" is itself not common sense. "Everything will be fine" is not at all reassuring.
"Academic freedom allows us to reveal our political views if we want," [English professor Cary] Nelson said.

October 2, 2008

Live-blogging the VP debate.

7:31, Central Time: I'm here, eating strozzapreti with burned tomato sauce, counting the last few minutes before the grand showdown.

7:39: Strozzapreti? "Priest choker"!

7:55: Are you going to watch on CNN, with the uncommitted viewers' reaction lines undulating at the bottom of the screen? Wow. That's crazy! I can't tolerate that distraction, and the "persuadable" voters they've assembled are... not people I feel like monitoring on a real-time basis.

7:58: What are you looking for, mainly? Honestly, I'm mainly looking to see if Sarah Palin can sound reasonably competent.

8:02: The 2 candidates stride out, both dressed in black. "Hey, can I call you Joe?" we hear Sarah say. Palin looks tiny behind her lectern. She's behind her lectern there, and here's where I am, chez Althouse:

DSC09497

8:06: Palin's flag pin is way bigger than Biden's. Biden has a brown dot on his forehead. Palin refers to "the fundamental" of our economy. She's speaking too quickly, sounding nervous.

8:09: Whose fault is the sub-prime mortgage meltdown? Palin says the moneylenders have taken advantage of people, and she mentions "hockey moms" a second time. Biden blames Republican deregulation. Biden's forehead wrinkles only way over on the side, while the whole center is smooth and flat. What do you think? Botox?

8:13: Palin says she might not answer the questions the way the monitor wants, but she's going to talk straight to the American people. She reveals her overarching strategy. And I note that she's speaking clearly and confidently. There is no stumbling or fear, as far as I can see.

8:19: Joe Biden is going to "eliminate those wasteful spending."

8:27: I'll bet a lot of people are tuning out about now, satisfied that Palin is competent and smart, but pretty bored.

8:29: I'm reading Andrew Sullivan: "Biden is just dreadful. He speaks in Washingtonese. She just issues the soundbites and wrinkles her eyes and tells stories. And that works. The speed and chirpiness she delivers overwhelms one's ability to even quite absorb what she's saying. And it has put Biden off-stride. It's Biden who seems over-crammed." It seems to me that both of them are spewing policy (and it's getting tiresome). "Chirpiness"... I don't know, Andrew... that reads as sexist to me. Why is she overwhelming your ability to absorb what she's saying? Is she working some voodoo on you... and on Biden?

8:34: Palin said "Senator O'Biden."

8:35: Palin razzes Biden on clean coal. Is he for it or not? Biden says he's for it, and his rope-line comment was about his support for exporting clean coal technology to China. That doesn't seem to fit the text of his remark (which he claims was "taken out of context").

8:37: Biden passionately expresses support for equal treatment for same-sex couples, and Palin opposes same-sex marriage, but says that in all other ways she's completely tolerant of adults forming their own relationships. Biden then is given the opportunity to disavow gay marriage, which he eagerly does. Okaaaay.

8:40: Palin is praising the surge and insisting on victory in Iraq. "It would be a travesty if we quit now." Biden complains that she didn't state a plan. On the split screen, when Biden is speaking, Palin looks like she's brimming with ideas she's just waiting to express. When she gets her turn, she says Biden's plan is a "white flag of surrender." She reminds Biden of how much he supported McCain and how he said Obama was not ready to be President.

8:49: Biden is mugging and scratching his neck in an exaggerated way. I think he was trying to signal his objection to the things Palin was saying about Obama's willingness to sit down with Ahmadinejad.

8:51: Biden's heating up! Is he losing his temper?

8:55: At Drudge:



8:57: Well, let me ask:

Who's winning?
Palin.
Biden.
It's not about winning and losing in the debate.
Shut up! It's not over.
pollcode.com free polls


9:03: Palin enthuses over her Washington outsider status as she claims to hear Biden saying, essentially, I was for it before I was against it.

9:09: "Palin: 'Oh, man, it's so obvious that I'm a Washington outsider and just not used to the way you guys operate!' And then, Biden pats down his brow. On sheer theatrics, Palin definitely won that moment." LOL. That's Jac (my son), who's also live-blogging.

9:11: "There you go again. Say it ain't so, Joe." Palin was waiting to say that. Biden's error? Linking McCain to Bush. Palin seems supercharged. The question is education, and she's praising teachers and winking at her dad in the audience.

9:13: Palin gets a big laugh saying that she and Biden made "lame jokes" back in the beginning of the debate when they avoided answering the question what they wanted to do as VP. Clearly, she's really relaxed. The end is in sight, and she knows she's done well. She's stood her ground next to Biden. She hasn't stumbled, and he's seemed a bit boring.

9:25: Asked what he's changed his opinion about, Biden says he came to realize that judicial ideology matters. (Which is why he opposed Bork.) Palin says she's never had to compromise.

9:29: We've reached the prepared closing statements. So Palin has survived... more than survived. She won, I think most people will say. Now, she's able to say she likes to do these unscripted things. She quotes Ronald Reagan (again) and mentions "freedom" (again and again).

9:31: Biden gives his closing statement. He seems like a nice man. Did he ever attack her?

9:34: Huge crowd of family on the stage.

9:36: The final poll:

It's over now, so who won?
Biden
Palin
Neither
pollcode.com free polls

POST-DEBATE: Let me highlight some comments. Stupe said...
Althouse can't just eat normal foods, she needs trendy.

She doesn't go to chain restaurants, and her cuisine needs to reflect her offbeat, edgy, urbane, t[r]endy life.
Is burning the sauce now a trend? Or do I create the trend? If so, I can't help but be trendy. Is there a strozzapreti trend? I just picked the pasta that had a shape that appealed to me. So just be yourself, Stupe, and believe it's all very trendy, and that might make you happy. Don't think about me. Or, hell, think about me until it drives you crazy.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
The hair in [Sarah Palin's] eye is bothering my husband.
Ha ha. That was bugging me too. I was distracted thinking about whether she was distracted thinking about whether it would be more distracting to disentangle her bangs from her (false?) eyelashes than to allow the bangs-eye combo to continue as a single unit.

Lisa said...
So far, she sounds smart, sane and Republican.

The left will hate her. The right will agree with her.
(Lisa said baby on a night like this...)

vbspurs said...
Does Palin have ice water in her bloodstream or is it me?

She's almost too un-nervous. It's making me nervous!
LoafingOaf said...
What a twitchy, nervous wreck Palin is!
Palladian said...
Sarah Palin's pussy is gnawing at LoafingOaf's brain again.
vbspurs said...
OOOOOOH. A little lesbian tension between Palin and Ifill just now. HAWT.
(It's late-night Althouse.)

Michael_H said...
I don't want to channel surf--anyone know the Brewers/Phillies score?
Ruth Anne Adams said...
Gwen's questions SUCK! Too complex. Easily ignored.
Trooper York said...
Phillies won 5 to 2.

Go 2 up on the series.
Michael_H said...
Ifill keeps cutting Palin off, then letting Joey Plugs run as long as he wants.
Really?

vbspurs said...
The 'Mos are getting their questions now. Surprising nod to Palin by Ifill.

I smell a skunk. Or a fish taco.
!!!

ex-prosecutor said...
If these were two lawyers, arguing, to a jury, she'd be killing him.
palladian said...
God, the only thing more boring than a Vice Presidential debate is baseball. I'd rather listen to Joseph Biden filibuster than listen to people talk about baseball. I'd rather watch "An Inconvenient Truth" 100 times than listen to people talk about baseball. SHUT UP ABOUT BASEBALL.
vbspurs said...
Nice! "Not sane or stable" about Dinner Jacket.

THE CASTRO BROTHERS. She just won Florida, que rico!!!
lem said...
Gwen went off the script to help Joe!
michael_h said...
Love the way Palin smiles as she's making notes while Joey Plugs speaks.
chip ahoy said...
No fair! They televise the back of Biden's head to show all the work was done in the front.
lawgiver said...
Cuda is landing some major body shots now. Joe's eyes are glazed, he's going downnnnnn!
john stodder said...
Palin is just so damn normal.

On TV it looks weird to be normal.
goesh said...
500+ comments - holy wow

Palin's faster pace makes her come across as very competent/intelligent, a bit smarter than Biden - she sure the heck exudes confidence - what happened to the dummy from up north???? gone, gone, gone
palladian said...
I love the milling around parts of C-SPAN broadcasts. So much better than listening to talking heads blabber.
ricpic said...
Sarah's happy.

Lefty freaks can't stand happy.

But normal human beings love happy and love Sarah.
joan said...
Karl Rove just ticked off 10 major gaffes by Joe Biden. It was hysterical.
schorsch said...
Regardless of who won, Biden's tactic failed. He was there to debate Bush and McCain, and to ignore Palin as if she wasn't worthy of his attention. She engaged him, specifically, and was therefore the only person in the debate that was actually occurring.

MORE FROM THE COMMENTS: patca said...
I am soooo relieved--and very happy. She was fabulous.

I feel like smoking a cigarette.

Influential sunset.

This sunset changed my mind about a key component of how I spend my time.

DSC09494

Later, I saw this:

DSC09495

It wasn't related.

Was it?

Here's the song that happened to be on the "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" channel of the Pandora app on the iPhone I was playing as I hurried home to blog the photographs. But first, I put some water on to boil and threw various ingredients into a pot to make a sauce, which I half-burned while tweaking the photographs. Now the post is done and so is the pasta. The burning will be considered one extra ingredient. Fortuitous.

On the brink of the VP debate, presenting Joe Biden as a big idiot.



Okay, funny, and I understand the urge to push back against all the presentation of Sarah Palin as an idiot, but do we really want a game of who's the bigger idiot? Because: 1. Your VP might be a bigger idiot, and 2. Maybe the American people really ought to focus on the serious question of whether we want conservatives or liberals in power. Palin is conservative. Biden is liberal. Let them put their beliefs in front of the American people so we can vote on it. We're all turning into idiots if what we do is stare at the debate looking for one or the other to say the stupidest thing.

Tantrums and tulle-fights.

I'm thinking about the big VP debate tonight -- and I will be live-blogging it -- but first, I just have to bitch about "Project Runway." Last night's episode was soooo annoying.

[Spoiler alert.]

They got to do evening gowns, inspired by flowers and foliage. That gives them the most possible room to show whatever brilliance they've got in them. And what did we get? Nothing but junk... and -- off the runway -- tantrums and tulle-fights. And after all that, no one is eliminated!

"If there's one thing that makes people enthusiastic, it's celebrities being condescending."

Said, re this:

"The power of God is such that even in the legislative process miracles can happen."

What do you think of a U.S. President saying such a thing?

The Obama iPhone app.

IPhone apps are cool, but is it a little creepy to embed a politician in the hub of all your communications?
The most notable feature "organizes and prioritizes your contacts by key battleground states, making it easy to reach out and make an impact quickly," according to the software.

On my phone, the application ranked contacts in Colorado, Michigan, and New Mexico at the top; at the bottom was a friend whose cell phone has a Texas number, though she actually lives in California.

The application anonymously reports back the number of calls made this way: "Your privacy is important: no personal data or contacts will be uploaded or stored. Only the total number of calls you make is uploaded anonymously."
I'm just tech savvy enough to get paranoid when I read assurances that I shouldn't be paranoid.

Taking the assurance as true, I still wonder why the campaign records the number of calls. Are they trying to determine which of their supporters -- identified by number -- are the most active social communicators?

"We admit we made a gross error, Your Honor," says the prosecutor in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens.

And the judge may dismiss the indictment or declare a mistrial.

Homer Simpson tries to vote for Obama.

"He's just a nerd with natural Xanax in his blood."

Andrew Sullivan, awed by the marvelous -- and not cool! -- calm of Obama.

ADDED: My take on this has long been that Obama is phlegmatic.

"Natural Xanax in his blood"... it's the modern -- pharma-doused -- version of the old-school belief in the four humors.

Xanax ≈ phlegm.

Katie Couric invites viewers to admire the impressive constitutional expertise of Joe Biden.

Now, after analyzing the interview with Palin, I want to look at Katie Couric's interview with Joe Biden on the same subject, Roe v. Wade:
Katie Couric: Why do you think Roe v. Wade was a good decision?

Joe Biden: Because it's as close to a consensus that can exist in a society as heterogeneous as ours.
Since I noted Palin's garbled syntax, to be fair, I have to flag that garbled syntax.
What does it say? It says in the first three months that decision should be left to the woman. And the second three months, where Roe v. Wade says, well then the state, the government has a role, along with the women's health, they have a right to have some impact on that. And the third three months they say the weight of the government's input is on the fetus being carried.

And so that's sort of reflected as close as anybody is ever going to get in this heterogeneous, this multicultural society of religious people as to some sort of, not consensus, but as close it gets.
Questions! Questions! Katie, where are your questions?

Let me suggest a few: Why is that a consensus? And should the Supreme Court be serving up consensus and calling it constitutional law? If you say the case is good because it is consensus, then why would it not have been preferable to allow the democratic processes to play out and produce consensus? Why should courts impose consensus? And why are you praising the lines drawn in Roe, when the Court redrew the lines in Planned Parenthood v. Casey? "It says in the first three months that decision should be left to the woman"... ahem... that hasn't been the doctrine since 1992!

But Couric doesn't not break in and push Biden with any questions. He has free rein to make unchallenged statements. He is permitted to settle in and get comfortable and to rattle out his ideas in his own good time:
I think the liberty clause of the 14th Amendment … offers a right to privacy. Now that's one of the big debates that I have with my conservative scholar friends, that they say, you know, unless a right is enumerated - unless it's actually, unless [it] uses the word "privacy" in the Constitution - then no such "constitutional right" exists. Well, I think people have an inherent right.
Again, this is blatantly wrong and unchallenged. Some conservatives reject the right to privacy, but Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito clearly affirmed it in their confirmation hearings in Biden's own committee. Is Biden deliberately lying or is he ignorant?
Couric: Are there Supreme Court decisions you disagree with?

Biden: You know, I'm the guy who wrote the Violence Against Women Act. And I said that every woman in America, if they are beaten and abused by a man, should be able to take that person to court - meaning you should be able to go to federal court and sue in federal court the man who abused you if you can prove that abuse. But they said, "No, that a woman, there's no federal jurisdiction." And I held, they acknowledged, I held about 1,000 hours of hearings proving that there's an effect in interstate commerce.
Here, Couric could have interrupted him, as she interrupted Palin, and asked some questions. There are some terribly important questions that are just begging to be asked. Biden has expressed pride in having written a provision in a statute that, in United States v. Morrison, the Supreme Court held was an exercise of power beyond what is granted to Congress in the Constitution.

Here are some question that could have been asked: Do you think there is any importance to the idea that the Constitution gives Congress limited, enumerated powers? Why isn't it enough that a woman can use state law and sue someone who has physically abused her? Do you think the federal government should pass laws in areas that have been traditionally handled by the states? What standard would you apply to that? Wasn't your law more of a political gesture to please some constituents rather than something that needed to be federalized?
Women who are abused and beaten and beaten are women who are not able to be in the work force. And the Supreme Court said, "Well, there is an impact on commerce, but this is federalizing a private crime and we're not going to allow it." I think the Supreme Court was wrong about that decision.
"Federalizing a private crime"? Huh? Where are the follow up questions?

The unconstitutional provision in the Violence Against Women Act federalized tort law not criminal law. It did not simply authorize federal prosecutors to file cases. Individual plaintiffs could use the federal courts to sue their attackers. Does Biden have any concern about using the federal courts to try cases involving one individual in an act of violence against another individual? Does he know the ratio of state trial level courts to federal district courts in the United States? Why should scarce federal judicial resources be expended on cases like this (as opposed to more complicated interstate matter)?

A person who suffers physical injuries may lose time in the work force, but why does that fact mean that the case belongs in federal rather than state court? Presumably, Biden would say that there was case law stating that Congress has power under the Commerce Clause to pass laws regulating matters that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce, and Biden assumed that if injured women lose time at work, then Congress had power to put individual tort cases arising from acts of violence into the federal courts. Under this theory of the Commerce Clause, which the Supreme Court limited United States v. Morrison, Congress could justify regulating virtually anything.

Why didn't Couric press him on his expansive view of his own power and disregard for the role of the states? Will he bring similar expansive theories of constitutional power to the executive branch?

Absolute deafening silence from Katie Couric. She gave him a free pass. The viewer is invited to sit back and admire Joe Biden as an impressive authority on constitutional law... not like that ignoramus Sarah Palin. Very few viewers will perceive what has been done here.

Sarah Palin was absolutely right to decline to name Supreme Court cases -- other than Roe v. Wade -- that she disagrees with.

There's a lot of mockery of Sarah Palin's performance responding to Katie Couric's questions about Roe v. Wade. (There's a video clip at the link, with a commercial.) Let's read the transcript:
Couric: Why, in your view, is Roe v. Wade a bad decision?

Sarah Palin: I think it should be a states' issue not a federal government-mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I'm, in that sense, a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. Now, foundationally, also, though, it's no secret that I'm pro-life that I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country. Personally that's what I would like to see, um, further embraced by America.
The question was why is Roe v. Wade a bad decision, and as a law professor, I would like to hear an answer about how the decision was badly reasoned, how the Supreme Court had to redo its own work (in Planned Parenthood v. Casey), and so forth, but Palin jumped right to the political effect of the decision and the usual notions about the benefits of federalism.

(Note: Without Roe, Congress would have the opportunity and the incentive to pass laws either limiting, banning, or preserving abortion, so the matter would only be left to the states if Congress exercised restraint or if the Supreme Court managed to limit the commerce power.)
Couric: Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?
Couric tries to focus Palin on constitutional law. She is also inviting Palin to reject an important category of constitutional rights.
Palin: I do. Yeah, I do.
Palin avoids stepping into a pit there.
Couric: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.
Couric seems to suggest that if you believe the Constitution protects the right of privacy, you will need to accept every right that is argued to be an example of that right. That is entirely incorrect. (For example, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the right to physician-assisted suicide, despite the argument that it fit the right to privacy.)
Palin: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.
Now, that's an example of Palin's garbled syntax. She's also repeating herself and being verbose, but the message I get is that Palin is not going to do any legal analysis, and she's going to stick to the basic Roe v. Wade talking point that abortion should be handled at the state level.
Couric: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?
This is a clunky question, and it sends up an obvious red flag after the last question. Couric wants to pull Palin into a discussion of constitutional law. Couric let it show that she wants to expose areas of ignorance. Couric would have earned my respect if she had chosen instead to pursue the question of why a right of privacy matters -- why does Palin support it? -- and what makes abortion different. Imagine a serious discussion about that. Instead, I sense that Couric is hungry for mistakes, and Palin's shaky response reveals that she knows she's in danger of making mistakes:
Palin: Well, let's see. There's, of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but …
Translation: I'm not going to answer the question, so I'll just repeat myself about how wonderful federalism and add that American history is great.

When you're talking about bad Supreme Court cases, it's not a good time to call American history "great," since the worst decisions entail slavery and segregation, which were, to say the least, not great.
Couric: Can you think of any?
The gotcha is dripping from her lips.
Palin: Well, I could think of … any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But, you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a vice president, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.
Now, it would have been better to go back into history -- Palin brought up history -- and name a couple of the notorious cases that everyone acknowledges were bad. I suspect that Palin worried that she might get a case name wrong or that she'd be quizzed about exactly what happened in those cases and that she had a risk-avoidance strategy. Stalling for time, she began to repeat the old federalism point -- "best dealt with on a more local level" -- and then she shifted to a perfectly good excuse for not accepting the invitation to discuss Supreme Court cases: An executive official -- a mayor, governor, or vice president -- should respect the authority of the Supreme Court as it has articulated the meaning of the law.

If Palin had named some current cases -- as opposed to the historical cases that the Court itself has already disavowed -- that she disagrees with she would be claiming greater expertise in legal analysis than the Court itself or, alternatively, she would be saying that the Supreme Court's interpretation of constitutional law is not final.

Either proposition would be difficult to maintain and should not be attempted in an impromptu style in a high-stakes situation. This is the sort of thing a Supreme Court nominee facing confirmation hearings would prepare for intensely and face with trepidation. Palin deserves credit for seeing the situation for what is was and opting out.

It is difficult enough to maintain that one Supreme Court case is wrong, and Roe is that one case. The decision to oppose that case has been carefully thought out and is exceedingly important to Palin and others. (Note: I support abortion rights.) Roe stands apart from everything else because it entails what Palin, I presume, sees as a profound moral wrong: the continuing widespread murder of innocent babies. There are not some additional cases to toss in alongside Roe. The general rule, to which Roe is a unique exception, is that the Supreme Court is the authority on the meaning of constitutional law. And that is exactly what Palin said.

UPDATE: I address Couric's corresponding interview with Joe Biden here.

Sarah Palin "falls apart, babbling nonsensical non-sentences that prompt nasty quips about whether the former Pentecostal is speaking in tongues."

Writes Michelle Cottle in TNR.

Ha ha ha. I get it. What a hilarious idea for political humor! You pick a religion that the candidate has some past relationship to, then you pick some aspect of it that seems ridiculous to a cloddish nonbeliever, then you attribute that trait to the candidate.

Okay, thanks, Michelle! Come on everyone! Let's come up with some cool new wisecracks! Let's test out th is new comic device on Barack Obama.

What's the matter, Michelle? You don't think it would be very nice to use your comic device against him and against Muslims?

Oh, you say you didn't actually yourself ridicule Palin for seeming as if she's speaking in tongues like a Pentecostal, you said that her "non-sentences ... prompt nasty quips" abut whether she's speaking in tongues like a Pentecostal. So that wasn't you making that quip. You were just reporting the quips that come from out there somewhere. "Prompts nasty quips" gets those quips out at some distance from you. You didn't cite the conventional "some people" -- or "wags" -- but they are in there, implicitly. And you even chided them for their nastiness.

Got it. So, remember, when you use Cottle's comic device, decorously preface the religion mocking with the phrase "prompts nasty quips" so you don't get your hands dirty.

Good lord, "prompts nasty quips" is itself an awe-inspiring rhetorical device that should empower us to say all sorts of crude and politically incorrect things!

Do you approve, Michelle?

October 1, 2008

The bailout/rescue bill passes the Senate.

In sweetened form.

"Indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt."

Pakistani clerics issue a fatwa against President Asif Ali Zardari for complimenting Sarah Palin. (He said: "Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you.")

And the feminists are pissed too. "As a Pakistani and as a woman, it was shameful and unacceptable. He was looking upon her merely as a woman and not as a politician in her own right.... He should show some decorum... he should behave like a mourning widower...."

Well, it was sexist, of course.

"The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature."

"That ignorance is restraining."

Speaking of ignorance, can we ignore them?

***

Relatedly, I just noticed I don't have a tag for the United States. Ha ha ha. Down with the Swedish Academy!

"If I were dictator, which I always aspire to be..."

McCain humor. Do you find it funny?

Campus squirrel

DSC09296

Can any UW folk say where this is?

The Supreme Court has declined to reopen the child-rape death penalty case.

SCOTUSblog reports:
The Supreme Court, issuing the first orders for the Term that opens formally next week, on Wednesday refused to rehear its ruling striking down the death penalty for the crime of child rape, but modified both the majority and dissenting opinions by adding a footnote to each. The result was that the Court left intact its decision, not only that a death sentence could not be imposed for that particular crime, but also that death could not be imposed for any crime in which the victim is not killed.

The Court’s modifying order in Kennedy v. Louisiana (07-343) was accompanied by two opinions. One was by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote the original decision; his opinion was joined by the four Justices who supported that ruling on June 25. The other opinion was by Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for himself and Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. — essentially, a response to Justice Kennedy’s new comments. Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., who had written the dissenting opinion from the original ruling, did not join any of the new opinions, but noted he would have granted rehearing of the case. Justice Clarence Thomas took the same position. (It would have taken the votes of five Justices, including at least one from the original majority, to grant rehearing.)
I thought the Court should have reopened the case, as I wrote here, so I'm very disappointed. I'll say something more when I've read the opinions.

"As creepy and inappropriate as this singing is -- it’s not as bad as what Obama is actually proposing..."

Jim Lindgren tries to figure out what to think about that ludicrous, appalling video of children singing to the glory of Obama.



I'd like to say something about it too, but I can't force myself through even the first minute. I gag on treacle. But some people seem to think we should be deeply disturbed by this video. Lindgren links to Roger Simon, who says:
Watching this video has disturbed me more than almost anything I have seen in recent years. It is the kind of exploitation of children that reminds me of Young Pioneer Camps I saw when visiting the Soviet Union in the Eighties. You could say, as some have, that this is much like what happens with children in churches and synagogues across America, but this is about a political figure — one of two current presidential candidates and the one leading in the polls.
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh was saying:
Basically the lyrics were, "Yes, we can, lift each other up in peace and love and hope. Change. Change!" You know, I watched the video. I did not see any Little Red Book with Obama quotations in there, the, "Yes, We Can Manual." You're talking about Chairman Mao, right? I did not see any of that. "Yes, we can. Nations all joined as one! Sing for joy. Sing for peace. Courage, justice, hope, peace, love, hope, change, change!" Kids 5 to 12. Little crumb-crunchers, skulls full of mush being polluted and perverted by a bunch of Hollywood pro-Obamaite liberals.
Rush wasn't buying too deeply into the notion that it looks like communism. (And he's always on the lookout for communism.) He was going on about the Hollywood liberals who poured resources into making a video that was supposed to look like a charming small-town community effort.

My main impression -- and, again, I can't bear to watch the whole thing -- is that soft-hearted liberals love to think of Obama as the embodiment of the ideal of racial harmony, and then, in that vein, it seems appropriate for children to sing a hymn to racial harmony. It's much the same idea as the old "Yes We Can" video. The error lies not in the worship of a man, but in the facile belief that a mere man can embody an ideal.

"When you get older, you have to be ready to trade your ass for your face."

This is an old saying, possibly originated by Catherine Deneuve, according to Gawker, which adds "Madonna has chosen her ass, which is why her face looks sucked dry of any possible joy."

Sarah Palin on prayer and homosexuality. (And I find a blunder in the CBS transcript.)

From Couric's interview with Sarah Palin:
Couric: Your church sponsored a conference that claimed to be able to convert gays into heterosexuals through prayer. Do you think that gays can be converted, governor?

Palin: Well, you're absolutely wrong, again, on the facts. My church, I don't have a church, I'm not a member of any church. I get to visit a couple of churches in Alaska when I'm home, including one, Wasilla Bible Church, and that's the one that you're talking about.

Couric: Right. I think James Dobson's group … had a convention or a meeting there. And your church…

Palin: No, I think they …

Couric: …supported it.

Palin: The Wasilla Bible Church had a flyer that was part of a bulletin or something …

Couric: But you know what? That doesn't even matter. Let me just ask you the question.

Palin: Well, it matters, though, because, Katie, when the media gets it wrong, it frustrates Americans who are just trying to get the facts and be able to make up their mind on, about a person's values. So it does matter …

Couric: … you're correcting us.

Palin: But you are talking about, I think, a value here, what my position is on homosexuality and can you pray it away 'cause I think that was the title that was listed in that bulletin.
It seems obvious to me that it should have been transcribed: "what my position is on homosexuality and 'Can You Pray It Away?'"

Palin is referring to the title of a program that was listed in a church bulletin. Not transcribing it as a title, in quotes, makes it seem as though she might be expressing an opinion. Indeed, that original transcript flaw seems to have led a copy editor to make it into a much worse blunder.

Look at the CBS article reporting on the interview with excerpts from the interview:
But what you're talking about, I think, value here, what my position is on homosexuality and you can pray it away, because I think that was the title that was listed on that bulletin.
See that? "[M]y position is on homosexuality and you can pray it away...." It's not a question anymore! "Can you" has become "you can," and not presenting it in title form makes it seem as though she might be expressing the opinion you can pray it away.

The video clip with the article does not include that line, so it's very unlikely many readers will notice the way the words got rearranged, and I think many will read that as an initial statement that you can pray homosexuality away.

Back to the original transcript, as she goes on to refuse to say what she thinks about the power of prayer and sexual orientation:
And, you know, I don't know what prayers are worthy of being prayed. And I don't know what prayers are gonna be answered or not answered. But as for homosexuality, I am not going to judge Americans and the decisions that they make in their adult personal relationships. I have, one of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years who happens to be gay. And I love her dearly. And she is not my "gay friend." She is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made. But I am not gonna judge people. And I love America where we are more tolerant than other countries are. And are more accepting of some of these choices that sometimes people want to believe reflects solely on an individual's values or not. Homosexuality, I am not gonna judge people.
This seems to reflect good Christian values. I hear the echo of Jesus's words: "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" and "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."

Now, Palin does speak of choice: "She is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made." Does that mean she thinks sexual orientation is a choice? It could simply mean that the friend has chosen to act in accordance with her sexual orientation. Oddly, that interpretation would mean -- if we apply logic -- that Palin too has a homosexual orientation. Settle down. Think about it.

If Palin believes sexual orientation is not a choice, then she should have said: "She is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice I have had to make." If I were to hold Palin to high linguistic standards, I would conclude that unless Palin is saying that she herself is a lesbian, she is saying that that homosexual orientation -- and not just homosexual behavior -- is a choice.

"Welcome to Wisconsin"... a quiz.

Reading a menu the other day, I expressed surprised at the existence of a particular item. The server responded, "Welcome to Wisconsin."

What was the item?

AND THE ANSWER IS: Cheese and burger soup.

Going into the VP debate, what are the expectations for Sarah Palin?

The NYT has a front-page piece telling us that, based on her old Alaskan political debates, Sarah Palin is perhaps not all that bad:
She staked out a populist stance against oil companies and projected a fresh, down-to-earth face at a time when voters wanted change....

Her debating style was rarely confrontational, and she appeared confident....

But just as she does now, Ms. Palin often spoke in generalities and showed scant aptitude for developing arguments beyond a talking point or two. Her sentences were distinguished by their repetition of words, by the use of the phrase “here in Alaska” and for gaps. On paper, her sentences would have been difficult to diagram.

John Bitney, the policy director for her campaign for governor and the main person who helped prepare her for debates, said her repetition of words was “her way of running down the clock as her mind searches for where she wants to go.”

These tendencies could fuzz her meaning and lead her into linguistic cul-de-sacs. She often used less than her allotted time and ended her answers abruptly.

When questioned about the nuts and bolts of governing, Ms. Palin tended to avoid specifics and instead fell back on her core values: a broadly conservative philosophy and a can-do spirit.
Actually, that sounds bad. Based on the headline -- "Past Debates Show a Confident Palin, at Times Fluent but Often Vague" -- I was going to accuse the NYT of trying to raise expectations of Palin so that she wouldn't be able to impress us by just showing up and minimally standing her ground. But the text of the article -- by Katharine Q. Seelye -- doesn't deserve that accusation.

Specifically, what newspapers and magazines has Sarah Palin been reading?

"All of 'em, any of 'em that have been in front of me over all these years."

Jac is reminded of the time Mr. Lippman interviewed George Costanza a little too searchingly.

Attacked by Drudge and Malkin, Gwen Ifill breaks an ankle.

1. Drudge, Malkin, etc., lay into Ifill -- the chosen moderator for the VP debate -- because she's got a book coming out about the success of various black politicians, notably Barack Obama.

2. Suddenly, we hear that Ifill has tripped at home on a staircase and broken her ankle. Coincidence? Looking for a graceful exit via a clumsy fall?

***

So far, Ifill is not backing out, and I don't think she should. The campaigns agreed on the moderators, and the McCain campaign agreed on Ifill. I'm sure their desire for a black/female moderator led straight to Ifill. It's pathetic to whine now that they weren't specifically informed about this book, especially since it's not "Why I Love Barack Obama" or some piece of gushing fluff.
Ifill argues that the Black political structure formed during the Civil Rights movement is giving way to a generation of men and women who are the direct beneficiaries of the struggles of the 1960s. She offers incisive, detailed profiles of such prominent leaders as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, and also covers up-and-coming figures from across the nation. Drawing on interviews with power brokers like Senator Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis of such issues as generational conflict and the "black enough" conundrum, Ifill shows why this is a pivotal moment in American history.
It would be low -- and stupid -- at this point to impugn Ifill.

What do you think of Ifill and her book?
Outrageous! She should be replaced.
Not a big deal, and the McCain campaign should have known.
Bad, but complaining or replacing her will only make it worse.
Not that bad, but she should be replaced to preserve the appearance of neutrality.
pollcode.com free polls

September 30, 2008

"Your search - 'sarah palin' - did not match any documents."

Ha ha.

Stop saying "bailout."

Call it a "rescue."

That might work.

"It's a rescue of Main Street America."

Sigh.

Lipstick...

... tattoo.

September...

... traffic.

"Alligator shows political bias."

Headline of the day.

We're all going to die.

Obama in the rain, animated version.



That's from Chip Ahoy, who introduced it in the comments over here. The original photo was blogged here yesterday.

"But God, Sir, in Your manner of teaching us about life's consequential nature, isn't death a bit ... um ... extreme, pedagogically speaking?"

"I know the lesson that we're studying is difficult. But dying is more homework than I was counting on."

Writes P.J. O'Rourke, who will -- in all likelihood -- survive his "inglorious" cancer.

Perhaps one of your body parts is lying in wait and will, one day, rise up and drag you to your doom. If it has to be one body part, what body part would you want it to be? Surely not that one.

McCain and Obama address the financial crisis, each in his own way.

Today's ads. From McCain:



From Obama:

...

Nothing yet. O is kind of the silent type.

ADDED: I am looking at Obama's YouTube page. If he has something, he needs to put it there. Don't tell me I'm missing something if it isn't there. You can tell me why he doesn't put it there. That might be interesting.

AND: Some people are pointing at this, which is on YouTube, but does not appear (where I can see it) on Obama's YouTube subscription page, even though it was put up yesterday. Note that it only has 209 views at this point. Is he trying to hide it?

In any case, it's not what I went looking for when I constructed this post and wanted to have comparable ads from the 2 candidates. For one thing, it went up yesterday, not today. But that's not important. It's just not about the current financial crisis. It's a general overview of Obama's economic plan. He does say at one point -- 0:28 -- "I know that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis, but not by going down the very same path." He then proceeds to tell us the same things he's said all along about who should be taxed and so forth. There is nothing new or specific about the current bailout plan. Does he have one idea about it... other than to act aloof?

UPDATE: Obama in Reno:
"This is no longer just a Wall Street crisis. It's an American crisis, and it's the American economy that needs this rescue plan"...

Obama said Congress should put aside politics — he didn't mention GOP rival John McCain by name during his remarks — and should act on the legislation quickly.

"To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say: Step up to the plate and do what's right for this country"...
Do what's right. Can't argue with that. I take it he supports the plan that was voted down yesterday, not that he is helping people understand why it is the right plan. It's hard to see how he will change any minds. Unlike McCain (and Nancy Pelosi), he's not assigning blame, which might be helpful in getting something passed.

Our leaders "have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority."

Says David Brooks.

So they not only fail to lead, they fail to look like they are leading. Clowns on all sides.
George W. Bush is completely out of juice, having squandered his influence with Republicans as well as Democrats. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is a smart moneyman, but an inept legislator. He was told time and time again that House Republicans would not support his bill, and his response was to get down on bended knee before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

House leaders of both parties got wrapped up in their own negotiations, but did it occur to any of them that it might be hard to pass a bill fairly described as a bailout to Wall Street? Was the media darling Barney Frank too busy to notice the 95 Democrats who opposed his bill? Pelosi’s fiery speech at the crucial moment didn’t actually kill this bill, but did she have to act like a Democratic fund-raiser at the most important moment of her career?

And let us recognize above all the 228 who voted no — the authors of this revolt of the nihilists...

So Tom Brokaw is fretting about criticism that NBC shows favoritism toward Obama.

On Sunday, I commented on how odd it was that Tom Brokaw ended a "Meet the Press" interview with Steve Schmidt and David Axelrod by saying -- seemingly out of nowhere -- that "in fairness to everybody here" he should tell us about a poll showing that, 53 to 42 percent, Americans think McCain is better suited to be commander in chief. That made me suspect that "Inside NBC, they are fretting about criticism that they show favoritism toward Obama, so Brokaw thought it might help to lob out a glaring hunk of McCain favoritism."

So I was very interested in this-behind-the-scenes report:
In an interview here after Sunday’s ["Meet the Press"] broadcast, Mr. Brokaw said that over the summer he had “advocated” within the executive suite of NBC News to modify the anchor duties of the MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews on election night and on nights when there were presidential debates....

Mr. Brokaw said he had also conducted some shuttle diplomacy in recent weeks between NBC and the McCain campaign. His mission, he said, was to assure the candidate’s aides that — despite some negative on-air commentary by Mr. Olbermann in particular — Mr. McCain could still get a fair shake from NBC News. Mr. Brokaw said he had been told by a senior McCain aide, whom he did not name, that the campaign had been reluctant to accept an NBC representative as one of the moderators of the three presidential debates — until his name was invoked.

“One of the things I was told by this person was that they were so irritated, they said, ‘If it’s an NBC moderator, for any of these debates, we won’t go,’ ” Mr. Brokaw said. “My name came up, and they said, ‘Oh, hell, we have to do it, because it’s going to be Brokaw.’ ”
I was right.

***

This is good too -- Brokaw showing his exasperation with Schmidt and Axelrod:
“They didn’t come very prepared on the economy,” he said. “They’re both trying to give the impression they’re involved, but plainly they’re not.”

“I was interested in how the two of them stuck by their budget programs,” he said. “There was nothing that Obama has proposed that he’s willing to cut. McCain insisted he could balance a budget with spending cuts. Give me” — and here he paused for emphasis — “a break. Nobody believes that, in either case.”
Absolutely right.

In France, Muslims prefer Catholic school.

The NYT reports:
“There is respect for our religion here,” said Nadia Oualane, 14, a student of Algerian descent who wears her hair hidden under a black head scarf. “In the public school,” she added, gesturing at nearby buildings, “I would not be allowed to wear a veil.”

In France, which has only four Muslim schools, some of the country’s 8,847 Roman Catholic schools have become refuges for Muslims seeking what an overburdened, secularist public sector often lacks: spirituality, an environment in which good manners count alongside mathematics, and higher academic standards.
The ban on head scarves probably strikes most Americans as a terribly harsh and unnecessarily strict approach to the separation of church and state.
“The head scarf is a sexist sign, and discrimination between the sexes has no place in the republican school,” France’s minister of national education, Xavier Darcos, said in a telephone interview. “That is the fundamental reason why we are against it.”
Oddly, France is much more lenient than we are about about giving tax money to religious schools.
In return for the schools’ teaching the national curriculum and being open to students of all faiths, the government pays teachers’ salaries and a per-student subsidy.
This makes tuition relatively low, encouraging parents to take this option.
In France’s highly centralized education system, the national curriculum proscribes religious instruction beyond general examination of religious tenets and faiths as it occurs in history lessons. Religious instruction, like Catholic catechism, is voluntary.
So the tax money is used to make the religious schools less religious. It furthers the government agenda of secularization.