October 25, 2008

"How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?"

WFTV’s Barbara West asks Biden a series of hard-core right-wing questions:

Ha ha. Wow. You don't usually get questions like that. Biden can't believe it. But, you know, Biden handles it perfectly well. I don't see him losing his cool. He's fine. Good questions. Good answers. Ah, but what is lame is cutting off all future interviews with the station. Pussies!

Here's how it looks on Drudge:

Ha ha. Drudge. I love Drudge.

"[Sarah Palin] is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else."

"Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."

So said some unnamed McCain advisor, and Andrew Sullivan is powerfully enthused:
If McCain doesn't trust her, why should anyone else?
But the one thing we know about the adviser is that he is untrustworthy. He's stabbing Palin and McCain in the back. Why take his word for anything?

She doesn't have a "relationship of trust" with anyone, not even her own husband? Aw, come on, that just reads as implausible on its face. And "diva"? She's the candidate. She should be demanding, and she should be served.

Who is this weasel, calling her a "diva"? What are his political interests? I think they show through as he whines about Palin's future prospects on the eve of McCain's probable loss.

IN THE COMMENTS: jdeeripper said:
"Diva" is a sexist, homophobic code word, a dog whistle whose use is cynically calculated to play upon deep seated sexual fear and patriarchal hatred.
Simon said:
Why would we not assume that CNN is lying? Is there any reason - any reason at all - to believe that there was an unnamed source who spoke to "Dana Bash, Peter Hamby and John King [of] CNN"? That this unnamed source said what is alleged? That what is alleged is even true? Because we think that they're "professionals"? Who is still malingering under the sad delusion at this late hour that the media is throwing straight dice?

Not me. A controversial claim resting on attribution to an unnamed source, that serves the agenda of the agency? Why should I not think it's a lie? I say they made it up. Name the source and give us the video of them saying it, or tell us why we shouldn't think you're lying. You don't get to behave the way you've behaved and ask for trust.

Zen, hula, and Althouse.

You may be thinking: It's always Ann Althouse. Why can we hear something about the other Althouses around the country? Okay! Let's start here, on a blog called The Dude Abides (subtitle: "An Existential Crossing Guard at the Intersection of Spirituality and Pop Culture"). The blogger, Cathleen Falsani, attends a hula class at the Zen Community of Oak Park, which was founded by Abbot Robert Joshin Althouse and his wife June Kaililani Ryushin Tanoue.
Over the summer, the Oak Park Zen Community consecrated a vast hula mound Althouse built in the back yard — two large, enjoined grassy knolls that together form the shape of a yin-yang symbol....

"Hawaiian spirituality is in some ways opposite of Zen because there are in excess of 40,000 gods and goddesses" in its pantheon, [Tanoue] explained....

There is a spirit in the dance, she said, that complements, rather than competes with, her Zen practice. "The sacred is how we treat our experiences, how we're open to them," Althouse said. "We don't create something sacred. We find it right where we are by the way we deal with experiences. I think hula is very much an expression of that, and obviously, I also think that Zen is a way to access that.

"Hula's operating on a lot of different levels, metaphorically and psychologically. It's very hard to pin these things down, but when you see it, you recognize it," he said....

"Like now, for example," she said, referring to the tense climate we're all living in right now, with economic, political, societal and spiritual uncertainty all around.

"It's a good example of transforming something by approaching it with a lightness of heart," Althouse added. "Having joy in the midst of chaos."
All right, then. Althouse says, have some joy in the midst of chaos.

"They should have picked a more ominous name, like KAOS or SPECTRE, instead of squirrel food."

"Something really scary. They are the biggest nut-based threat to America since Mr. Peanut tried to assassinate the GOP elephant to impress the Morton Salt girl.”

Stephen Colbert has a problem with the name ACORN.

3 polls about the way I'm voting on November 4th.

The first one uses, nearly verbatim, the text written back here by the commenter known as David:

Prof. Althouse is voting for Senator Obama because:
She agrees with him on the substantive issues more than she agrees with McCain.
She can't stand not to vote for the first black President.
President Obama promises more interesting blogging over the next 4 years than McCain does.
pollcode.com free polls

The second one was written by me, on a lark, as a response to David and in the spirit of lighthearted fun.

What is Althouse's #1 motivation to vote for Obama?
I want America to have cool new young image.
Self-interest! The blogging will be swell.
The complaints and criticisms if he loses will dog us for 100 years.
Self-interest! I want a couple staunch new liberals on the Supreme Court to make my life as a lawprof more exciting.
The kids are so darned cute.
pollcode.com free polls

But that may make you want to weigh in on this:

Did Althouse actually reveal her top 5 motivations to vote for Obama?
At least 3 are true.
At least 1 is true.
All lies.
pollcode.com free polls

"Harsh, noteless, enormous noise, a growling, low-pitched, screaming sound … drain[s] out like a sob lasting fully a minute."

Roald Dahl described the pain of an axed beech tree, heard by "The Sound Machine." For some reason, we're fascinated by this question whether plants feel pain.
Almost 30 years ago, the trippy flower-power film The Secret Life of Plants claimed pot plants could read minds, cabbages were easily annoyed and a cactus could learn the Japanese alphabet. Then just last year, a parliamentary panel of philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians in Switzerland, charged with devising new rules for genetic testing, published a treatise on preserving the "dignity of plants". Its edicts included that it was "morally impermissible" to decapitate a wildflower by the roadside without rational reason.

But while such fanciful claims continue to take root at the margins, scientists in Australia and abroad are quietly discovering plants are more sophisticated and complex than the wildest imaginings. Plants can navigate a maze, trade food for sex, sniff out and hunt down prey, use cost-benefit analysis, learn from past experiences and recognise friend from foe.
Ha ha. I enjoyed reading this article, especially after listening to the entire book "The Botany of Desire" last night while I slept. Ah, but did I understand it?

I woke during the chapter on marijuana, having slept through the apple tree, the tulip, and the potato. Michael Pollan was talking about a passage in Aldous Huxley's "The Doors of Perception." Here's that passage:
[T]hat very morning... I looked down by chance, and went on passionately staring by choice, at my own crossed legs. Those folds in the trousers - what a labyrinth of endlessly significant complexity! And the texture of the gray flannel - how rich, how deeply, mysteriously sumptuous! And here they were again, in Botticelli's picture.

... Draperies, as I had now discovered, are much more than devices for the introduction of non-representational forms into naturalistic paintings and sculptures. What the rest of us see only under the influence of mescalin, the artist is congenitally equipped to see all the time. His perception is not limited to what is biologically or socially useful. A little of the knowledge belonging to Mind at Large oozes past the reducing valve of brain and ego, into his consciousness. It is a knowledge of the intrinsic significance of every existent. For the artist as for the mescalin taker draperies are living hieroglyphs that stand in some peculiarly expressive way for the unfathomable mystery of pure being. More even than the chair, though less perhaps than those wholly supernatural flowers, the folds of my gray flannel trousers were charged with "is-ness." To what they owed this privileged status, I cannot say....

"This is how one ought to see," I kept saying as I looked down at my trousers....
And here's a little clip from "The Secret Life of Plants":

What is this post about? Ha ha. I always hated questions like that on the reading portion of the SAT. Does the test still have questions like that? Here, let me construct one for you.

What is the blogger's thesis in this post?
Plants and people are weird.
It's important to pay attention to things.
Art is better than science.
Just say no to drugs.
The human mind needs weeding.
pollcode.com free polls

Politico can't even understand this political ad and thinks it's the worst ad of the season.

I completely get it. And I think it's excellent! And it makes a nice pair with this one:

(See all "10 worst ads" here.)

I have 818 posts tagged "Obama."

It's my third biggest tag. What are my 2 bigger tags? Certainly, "McCain" isn't one. He's languishing at 339. Does that show my bias? Indeed. I have a bias in favor of interestingness.

All you need is a lipliner pencil and some dark gray eyeshadow.

And you've got a funny, ultra-easy Halloween costume.

Tom Cruise roasts Matt Lauer.

So Matt Lauer got one of those Friars Club roasts, and you wouldn't care -- would you? -- but Tom Cruise showed his adorable face, and he was hysterically funny:
"You know, I was just taking his advice. He told me, 'Nobody wants to hear about your dopey movie. Go crazy. People will love you for it.'

"Matt's great at giving advice. When Katie asked him if she should leave the 'Today' show for CBS, he said, 'Absolutely, you should definitely do that. People will love you for it.'

"Jay Leno was No. 1, but Matt told [NBC exec] Jeff Zucker to cut his contract. 'You'll be ahead of the curve before his ratings go down and you'll look like a genius. People will love you for it.' Leno's ratings never went down.

"A few months ago, he was talking to O.J. Simpson and he said, 'Juice, those guys in Vegas have all your stuff. Don't be a p---y, just go there and take it. Trust me, Juice. People will love you for it.'"...

"Matt and I are so close now, that if we can't be together, we talk on the phone three, four times a day. I'll call him up and ask, 'Are you watching this?' And he'll just say 'yeah,' and we'll watch the whole show together on the phone."

More here:
Cruise ended with a toast: "To our friend who we wake up to every morning only because we had the channel on NBC before we fell asleep." He then told Lauer, "Lose my number, you glib putz." And then signed off by finally saying, "Cruise out!" which was kind of unspeakably awesome. Lauer jumped up to the mike: "Tom, can you stay? We can get a booster seat."

Later, Lauer explained that he'd never been prepared for what a sensation the infamous 2005 interview would be, until he went home, "and someone told me what the word glib actually means. That burned my fucking ass!" Lauer also announced that he and Cruise have an interview scheduled for December. "So officially we have now buried the hatchet," he said. "But just between us, if he pulls that shit again, I will fuck him up. The guy is, like, five-foot-three. I will drop a building on his ass."

Do you love it when Lauer talks dirty to Tom?

This needs to be on YouTube, but it's not, so let's go back to Tom's wonderful old performance on "The Today Show" -- which will help you if you've lost track of the "glib" reference:

Ah! That never gets old.

I got so mad at George Packer last night.

As expressed in this post and its comments. Here I am in the comments:
I don't mind people attacking me for doing that post itself ["[I doubt that] Obama wore an earpiece that was clearly visible on HDTV"], which was done at the end of a long session of live-blogging. But what angers me are these broad statements about how insular and narrow-minded I've been, when I have spent the last year (and more) being incredibly balanced, to the point where my readers really didn't know which candidate I was going to vote for. [Links added.]

You know, I'm going to vote for Obama (94.67% chance), but these assholes make it a really distasteful exercise.
Later, I added: "Now I feel like voting for McCain... and pushing the inside the ear transmitter theory..."

That was after reading this, from Original George:
Before dismissing the idea that Sen. Obama was wearing or does wear a hearing device, in less than 60 seconds on the net, I found many, many websites advertising CIC hearing aids. Go here.

They fit entirely inside the ear canal. They cost about $1,000. They're the size of a large seed or piece of corn. Probably sold by every audiologist.

So....could there be a radio receiver that size? Why not?

And, lo and behold, another five seconds on Google, and up come many in-the-ear-canal radio receivers...like here.

The mistake the Professor made, if she made one, was not to invest a few minutes research. Best thing to do would be to call two or three manufacturers of these gizmos and see what they think.

Heck, if I were running for President, I'd use a radio so I could be fed reminders and tips, and I'd be gobbling Provigil. Anything for an undetectable edge. Lifts in the shoes, hair dye, Wheaties, whatever.
A night's sleep put me at some distance from my rage so that, even with harassment from the excessively early-rising marching band, I was feeling cool-headed enough. And then, reading more deeply into the comments, I was cheered by our little friend, our favorite insect, blogging cockroach:
i don t know about sir archy or even titus
but i am a 100 percent sorta brown blooded
american cockraoch born right here
in cambridge mass if you want to count
that as america which i am sure some of you don t
and i ve got to say i think that hatchet job
done to professor a was terrible
that s the trouble with blogging
it s supposed to be easy and breezy
but there are people who deconstruct every
breadcrumb that gets stuck under the letter r
for example that really happened and i couldn t
write a damn thing with r

railroad crossing look out for the cars
can you spell it without any r s...

anyway soon people started to say
i broke my right front leg off and other
stupid theories and my blog went to hell
until tommy came back from camp
and fixed the keyboard

tommy is the boy whose computer i use

anyway tommy and i took the blog private
and maybe i ll start again
but this sure is a cautionary tale

i have a confession to make
tommy subscribes to the new yorker
oh the shame
he s very bright and sophisticated for 12
hell he s bright and sophisticated for 34
so he started reading the new yorker
in the office of his fancy private school
and next thing he had to have a subscription
mom and dad got him one for his birthday

i m glad that hit piece is only online
as i would have to find and eat the page
if it were in the magazine
so tommy wouldn t see it
and while there are some magazines
with yummy casein coated glossy paper
i only eat the new yorker as a last resort

Homecoming Saturday.

The UW Marching Band began playing at 7 a.m. this morning. Insistent drumming and trumpeting permeates the neighborhood. I love the national anthem as much as anyone. No, I'm sure there are people who love it more than I do, but I love it appropriately well. Still, I don't want to hear it at 7:15 a.m. -- "by the dawn's early light," literally.

October 24, 2008

Ron Howard does a really cool pro-Obama thing.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

I am shocked at the substandard ethics displayed by The New Yorker's blogger George Packer.

This New Yorker blogger, George Packer, names me and slams me, but doesn't link, so there's no way for readers to see the context. The context is here.

I didn't "push[] the plastic-device story," I genuinely thought I saw something, something that wasn't a "story" anywhere else -- I took my own freeze-frame photograph. Within 5 minutes, I looked more closely in the surrounding frames and decided it wasn't there and said so. That's all my post was. So what the hell is George Packer talking about?

Shame on you, George Packer! That is truly sleazy! You are so eager to push your little theory that you have lost sight of ethics and fairness. Packer writes:
The problem isn’t lack of education—it’s that of a self-isolating political subculture gone rancid.
Look in a mirror, man. Look in a damn mirror, loser.

ADDED: What Packer seems to have done is to have adopted another blogger's summary of what a lot of bloggers, including me, have done over the course of the election season. That other blogger paid no attention to my year of balanced blogging, under an explicit vow of cruel neutrality. And Packer, I bet, did not perform an independent check to figure out what my blog is really like. It is this failure, even more than the failure to link to the particular post he purported to describe, that is really a failure of ethics. What absurd irony that he behaved like this to reach the conclusion that the other side of the blogophere is "self-isolating" and "rancid"!

Packer, I demand an abject confession of your self-isolation and rancidity.

ADDED: Thanks to Instapundit for linking. There's also a separate post called "I got so mad at George Packer last night."

"PITTSBURGH MUTILATION INCIDENT A FAKE, according to police. Advantage: Ann Althouse and Michelle Malkin!"

Writes Glenn Reynolds, linking back to his post from last night, where he said that I was "joining the crowd suspecting a hoax."

Isn't it interesting that the women smelled the hoax while the men were such respectful believers? I guess you men have been well schooled in your gender studies classes. Let me quote something I said in the comments to my "Ashley Todd confessed" post:
This idea of believing women -- which got started in an era when too many real rape accusations were rejected -- should not become a leap of faith. Look critically at the evidence. The best version of feminism treats women as human beings, and human beings are capable of lying and doing vicious things. Don't be a chump.

WaPo on "racial attitudes" in Wisconsin.

Jeez, they really made Wisconsinites look like a bunch of hicks!

IN THE COMMENTS: Original George said:
A clown making balloon-animals. Big-wheel bikes. An ol' timey band. Cloggers.

Looks like the Village from an episode of "The Prisoner."

Needs a big bouncing bubble-gum bubble....

Dust Bunny Queen said:
Oh, and they make you look like a bunch of hicks, because that's what they really really think you are.

Bitter and clinging to your guns and religion, banjos.....and cheese!!!

Meade said:
The Hick race, from which I descend, has a long proud history of tolerance for banjo players from every race, creed, and religion.

Police say Ashley Todd has confessed to faking the story that an enraged black man carved a "B" for Barack into her face.

She will be charged for filing a fake report.
Police spokeswoman Diane Richard ... said Todd said on Friday she wasn't sure if it was a bumper sticker on her car or a campaign button on her jacket that angered the attacker. Richard said Todd added new details to the attack, saying at one point she lost consciousness.

"She also indicated she was sexually assaulted as well. She indicated that when he had her on the ground he put his hand up her blouse and started fondling her. But other than that, she says she doesn't remember anything else. So we're adding a sexual assault to this as well," Richard said.

Police said they gave a polygraph test to Todd, but they didn't release the results.
I'm glad this got cleared up so quickly, and I hope people learn a few lessons from this. As I said here and here, it always looked fake to me.

AND: Making the fake assailant black and then throwing in the sexual assault makes thing truly vile. 

Who in the McCain campaign got paid $22,800 for 2 weeks of work?

Sarah Palin's makeup artist.

That's from the NYT "Caucus" blog, where the first commenter notes the URL: "pains-makeup-stylist-fetches-highest-salary-in-2-week-period." Pain.

Let me add that I do not have a problem with paying a lot for the makeup job. It's extremely important. Remember how great Hillary Clinton always looked during the primaries. That didn't just happen. And bad makeup can screw up even a male candidate's campaign. Let's not forget the rouge that cost Al Gore the presidency:
This election always has been about one thing, and it was thoughtfully touched on by Kriss Soterion, the former Miss New Hampshire and owner-operator of Kriss Cosmetics & the Studio of Holistic Beauty in Manchester, N.H. Kriss, you may recall, was invited to do the vice president's makeup for the first Gore; Bush game. Before the debate, the local papers were running endless profiles of the hometown gal on the eve of her big break. After the debate, she entered the witness protection program. The pancake she smeared on Gore's cheeks, on top of his overly worked-out, 23-inch neck, on top of his lumpy suit, combined to make him look like Herman Munster doing a bad Ronald Reagan impression.

Poor old Kriss would like to make up for her makeup, but she fears she'll never get another chance, and now seems to be going through some existential crisis, riddled with self-doubt and questioning her calling. She told the New Hampshire Sunday News that her catastrophic touchup of Al has caused her to "think deeply" about "the psychology of makeup." "It just makes me think about the whole thing, about wearing masks," she said. "It's kind of a fascinating subject, to analyze why we hide behind it in the first place."

This is not a subject the vice president wants to discuss at this stage in the election cycle, but Kriss has a point. For the second presidential faceoff, Al was appearing without his face on -- not just the foundation and rouge, but in a broader sense: The mouth wasn't merely in non-sighing mode, it was zipped up and hung slack; the eyes seemed dead. The only remnants of last week's Gore were the eyebrows (N.B., Kriss: nice pencil liner) imperiously arched with the amused contempt of an overthrown king sitting through his own show trial. On Wednesday night, the vice president had the look of a man who'd run out of masks. After the expansive array of dazzling new Gores of the last year, the vice president apparently opened his closet and found that his housekeeper had sent all his identities to the cleaners.
Ha ha. That's Mark Steyn, writing in 2001. You do not want to lose the election over makeup.

Charles Krauthammer will not be joining the "motley crew" of "wet-fingered conservatives" who are flipping to Obama.

Krauthammer sees what they're doing! Now that they see Barack Obama is going to win, they don't want to be "left out in the cold without a single state dinner for the next four years." Krauthammer "will go down with the McCain ship." He would "rather lose an election than lose my bearings." You hear that, you traitors?

"To my friends who supported Nader in 2000: have you discerned the subtle differences between Bush and Gore yet?"

From a post by (my son) Jac that's mainly about the band Polydream -- with some nice free downloads.

The drummer, Brit, along with Jac, wrote and performed the original theme for my old podcast, which you can still listen to here. I closed down the old "Audible Althouse" podcast and stopped paying for the website, but I see the RSS feed is still around, and you can still listen. I just discovered that. Strange...

Brit was also part of one of the bands that used to play in that space I photographed in "Mysteries of the Althouse house."

Also in that band was Jacob, whose band Jac blogged about last week (as part of his "musicians I know" series).

Another reason to stick to Blogger.

Look what happened to Patterico.

The tiny house, where 2 adults live in 100 square feet...

... and somehow it looks hip and unsqualid.... at least in that video clip. What's it really like? They show it with one slim, mild-mannered man inside, making tea, working at a little desk, perching on a loft bed, while the sun is shining through the windows. But what's it like at night, when it's raining out, and your partner's in there too, and she's getting on your nerves?

"We make shifts, change shifts and sleep on alternate days. We have to make shifts otherwise it won't work."

Polyandry -- in India, a tradition and an economic strategy.
"To run our families we have to do this, overcome the hurdles as well and then we have to control our hearts from feeling too much."

What Rush Limbaugh had to say about Barack Obama's trip to Hawaii.

I listen to Rush Limbaugh frequently and often enjoy the show, but he was at his worst yesterday, inanely purporting to expose Barack Obama for not actually caring about his gravely ill grandmother:
If Obama has this election in the bag, if he has this election in the bag... if he's already won the presidency, why hasn't he already gone to Hawaii? Why is he not already there? What's he waiting for? "If she's deathly ill," I'm pretending to be a reporter here. You know they'd ask McCain these questions. "If Obama's grandmother is deathly ill, why has this been announced days ago and he's only going now," or tomorrow, or whenever it is.... Who announces days in advance they're rushing to the side of a loved one who is deathly ill but keeps campaigning in a race that's said to be over, only to go to the loved one's side days later? See, I think this is about something else. You know what's really percolating out there? I've been laying low on this because it hasn't met the threshold to pass the smell test on this program.
He proceeds to rant about Obama's birth certificate (a controversy with its locus in Hawaii):
I have no clue, and folks, I'm telling you, this has not reached the threshold until now, and it's popping up all over the place. There are a lot of people now that are starting to speculate and be curious about this.
"I have no clue" -- that's an apt phrase. I'll give him that.
I don't know, let's say for example that somebody does come up with proof that something's screwy with his birth certificate and something's screwy about the fact that he's allegedly a natural citizen, American citizen, but may not be, dual citizenship, born in Kenya, who knows, there's all kinds of stuff out -- so what? What's going to happen this late in the campaign? Do you think if it's proven that they're going to dump him? That's not going to happen. But still, these are just questions that I have.
So what's your point? That he's personally going to Hawaii to deal with his birth certificate? That's so far-fetched. Then, Rush drops that subject and comes out with this:
And, look, both of my parents have died. When I was told the end was near, bam, I got there, fast as I could.
What a prince of a man!
I didn't announce to the audience, "I just got word my father is said to be passing away and in four or five days I'm going to go to Missouri. In the meantime, I will not leave you here on this radio program." These are just natural questions. I think any inquisitive reporter -- I know the risk I'm running here by raising all this. But I wouldn't be me if I didn't do that.
And I guess you wouldn't be you if you didn't air that birth certificate junk. By the way, were Rush's parents very old and suffering from a long deteriorating illness -- like Obama's grandmother -- or was there a sudden stroke or heart attack?

Rush then switches to the story of the man who says he is Obama's half-brother, who lives in extreme poverty in Kenya:
How about George Onyango Bodongo Hussein Obama in the hut outside Nairobi living on a dollar a month?
Did he just make up a weird racial name for the man? Google seems to say yes. (Here's the original CNN story about a man identified as George Obama.) Back to Rush:
A $20 bill would double his half-brother's annual income. Not even a sign "Home, Sweet Hut" has been sent to George Onyango Bodongo Hussein Obama, and how many other of Obama's family members are living in squalor? Yeah, [quoting Barack Obama] "if you don't take care of your family, if you don't put that first, you're probably not the kind of person that's going to be caring for other people." You have a half-brother living in a hut!
Rush quickly flings one thing and then another and doesn't bother to link things up before he moves on. But it's apparent from the transcript that he means for you to think that Obama doesn't really care about his grandmother (or anyone else in his family) and that his trip to Hawaii was no sign of affection for his grandmother at all, but evidence that he's engaged in a cover-up of evidence that would show he's doesn't meet the constitutional requirement that the President must be a natural-born citizen. And it's worse in audio form, as Rush laughs and scoffs his way through the routine.


Here's the NYT story on Obama's Hawaii trip:
On the trip to Hawaii, Mr. Obama stayed in the secluded front cabin of his campaign plane, reading and rarely talking with a handful of aides who came along. The knot in his red tie was loosened as he walked down the aisle of his plane to stretch his legs, but he stayed a safe distance from a small group of reporters who accompanied him.
Look, it's possible that Obama isn't shaken to the core by the end stage of the long decline of his very old grandmother. He canceled some campaign stops, but he's getting campaign benefits from press reports like this that make him seem serious, good-hearted, and well-balanced and from the secluded rest time. Let's assume for a moment that he thought about the trip exactly like that. Do you have a problem with it? I don't.

"Leon Wieseltier is the literary editor at The New Republic."

And by "literary," we mean that he endorses political candidates and says things like "when he picked Sarah Palin, he told the United States of America to go fuck itself."

What was my original reaction to other reports that turned out to be hoaxes?

Let me answer a couple questions asked by commenters in the previous post, the post that expresses doubt about the report -- filed by Ashley Todd -- that a large black man, after robbing her, became enraged at the sight of a McCain bumper sticker on her car and viciously, lightly scratched a well-formed, upside-down "B" on her cheek.

Dualdiagnosis said:
The juxtaposition is [disconcerting], Crystal Magnum comes out with a book, and two posts later, this. I seem to remember the campus faculty going bonkers on the Duke rape charges, I wonder how the professors will act this time.

If this is a hoax she should be prosecuted.

How about you Ann? Were your reactions as dismissive last time?
Well, let me look that up for you. As a blogger, I am on record. Here is my first post on the subject. Excerpt:
Do you think you know which side is telling the truth in the Duke lacrosse team rape case? You shouldn't.
I've made a "Duke rape case" tag, so you can see all my old posts on the subject. I did not blog very much on this subject. (I see a post on the subject of Eugene Volokh's saying why he wasn't blogging very much about it.) I did post about the professors' letter that explain an earlier letter that supported the alleged victim. I said:
"The disaster is the atmosphere...." -- we're told. The students' perceptions matter and deserve to be "give[n] voice." But the professors don't like how they were perceived by the world outside the university; that was misreading. But if it is perception -- atmosphere -- that matters -- how can you think that you can contribute things to be perceived and avoid responsibility for the effect that you have?
Peter Hoh says:
There was a Madison kidnapping hoax in the spring of 2004. A quick search shows that Althouse did not blog about it.

I wonder if that was in the back of Ann's mind when she said that this incident seemed like a distraction.
I checked too, and I don't think I blogged about it. It was a local story, and it turned out to be a young woman who needed help. Bandying her name about was not helpful. You know, when you're blogging, you're always reaching out to grab at the latest things, but it's still important to think about not making problems worse. But that Madison case was not what popped to mind. Someone emailed to push me to blog about the story and my response was: 1. An expression of doubt, 2. "Doesn't belong in the spotlight," and 2. "Tawana Brawley. Bleh."

Why Tawana Brawley? It was the case of: 1. A young woman who did things to her own body, and 2. A cross-racial accusation.

UPDATE: As predicted. Fake.

October 23, 2008

Looks hoaxy to me.

Come on, people. First, verify. I've seen the photograph, and, quite aside from the backwards "B" -- does the surveillance camera show an upside down attack? -- the scratching looks too even and shallow to seem like the result of a violent attack.

And even if it did happen, what would it mean? There are violent attacks all the time, for all sorts of reasons, and if you want to assert that they say something about anybody other than the attacker, you'll need to prove that too.

Bottom line: This is the stupidest distraction in the whole history of this crazy campaign season.

ADDED: I have a bit more to say here.

UPDATE. Told ya. Fake.

Roger Ebert apologizes for reviewing the first 8 minutes of a movie.

Bleh! Apologies! Defend yourself, man. Walking out is an important form of judgment.

"Even as I try to move on with my life, I still find it necessary to take one more stand and fight."

One wonders how, exactly, Crystal Mangum goes about finding things necessary.

A charming dinosaur.


"A sad day for New York’s democracy"?

So Bloomberg got his way.

Should this woman go to prison for hacking her husband to death?

Is that a crime?
"I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry" ...

She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.
That seems really wrong, really harsh. I don't see how it's any of the government's business.

Did you know there's another debate tonight?

It's the third party debate, but only Ralph Nader and Chuck Baldwin are showing up. No Bob Barr or Cynthia McKinney. Quick, can you name all their parties? Anyway, it's on C-Span2 at 9 ET.

Image of an RNC mailer used by the Obama campaign to raise money.

What do you think is more effective, the RNC's mailer or the Obama campaign's fund-raising based on it?

ADDED: As for me, personally, when I see this, I feel embarrassed for McCain.

"There are very many amongst the Fair Sex who consider the Choice of a Shoe with perhaps greater Care than they would a Candidate on Election Day."

Our most highly esteemed ghost commenter, Sir Archy, made an appearance, here, in the very early hours of the morning. I reprint his words in full:
To Professor Althouse.

Dear Madam,

As the Ghost of a Gentleman, dead these 260 Years and more, you may imagine the Changes in Fashion and Taste to which I have been witness.

Every Age views the Cloathes & Garniture of another with Bemusement and Contempt. As the modern World regards the Fashions of my Day, so I count it as one of the Tortures of this Ghostly Purgatorio in which I find myself, that I must look upon the Female Body so abus'd by modern Garments. I shall not dwell upon the Horrours seeing every Hair & Pimple expos'd, whilst the graceful Lines of the femine Form remain marr'd by the Deshabille of this Age. Nay, Madam, a Madwoman in Bedlam would have been asham'd in my Day to have been drest thus.

For all the Reform so necessary for other modern Cloathes, 'twould appear but a trifling Waste of Time to divert oneself admiring Shoes; yet there are very many amongst the Fair Sex who consider the Choice of a Shoe with perhaps greater Care than they would a Candidate on Election Day. Nevertheless, I cannot forbear to say that modern Shoes are perhaps the least disfigur'd Item of Dress a Woman of this Age has with which to indulge herself.

You may recall, Madam, that I had written previously upon this Topick; I thus beg your Indulgence to do so again, feeling all the Impropriety of my Lack of Originality. I excuse myself by saying that there may be new Members of your Audience, unaccustom'd to my ghostly Thoughts & Notions; and perhaps Others who would not mind seeing an old Idea, recover'd like a lost Buckle from the Bottom of a Drawer.

Many Ladies perhaps will find the Example of Mrs. Palin's Cloathes either useful or repellant; whether, as Electors, they should vote for her or not. There are also Persons of both Sexes amongst the Audience at this your Theatre of Topicks (as I call it), who cannot avert their Eyes from the many Pictures of Mrs. Palin's Feet & Legs everywhere to be seen in News-Papers and upon the Internet. Without the Readers suspending their higher Judgements, 'twould appear that Mrs. Palin's Shoes have become a more diverting Topick than either of the Wretches who would be your President.

The Audience may thus find it worthwhile to dwell a Moment upon this Sort of Vanity, little chang'd over the Centuries, viz., certain Ladies' Love of Shoes. Pray, do not take it amiss, then, if I should reprise, by way of Illustration, the little Tale which (as above) I had told here before:—

I recall Imelda, the young Wife of a Cavalry Officer and Neighbour to my late affianced Wife. Imelda had been a true Friend and great Help to my poor Fiancée when her first Husband died of the Pox (and so became the young Widow whose Acquaintance I was fortunate to have made). A more Kindly & Generous Soul you would never meet than Imelda; she was possess'd also of those Qualities of her Person that, whilst not Beauty of the first Rank, would still turn Heads upon Occasion. Knowing that she was not, perhaps, a great natural Beauty, Imelda sought those little honest Improvements that Ladies may make by the proper Choice of Cloathes & Attention to their Hair, not forgetting some small Dose of Emollients to soften the Appearance & improve the Colour of the Skin, &c. For all that, she had nothing about her of the paint'd Harlot, nor did she attempt the pert Gaiety of a Frenchwoman with colour'd Ribands, Flow'rs, &c. Nay, she cultivated an Air of Tastefulness & Sobriety, rather above her actual Station in Life, giving every Impression of a well-to-do Gentlewoman.

To this End, there were no Lack of Dress-Makers, Milliners, Hair-Dressers and the like, to whom she was wont to pay Custom. But there was one Establishment where she was habitually to be found, even when her Husband was expected on Leave, even when her Relations, come all the way from Wapping, were to appear at any Moment. You may guess that it was the Cobbler's Shop. Some People waste their Time & Fortune with Gamblers & Sharpers; others concerned with their Souls spend many an Hour with Priests; some seek Improvement with Musick-Masters, and still Others with Dancing or Fencing-Masters; so 'twas that Imelda spent every free Moment with Mr. Crispin, Shoe-Maker.

Crispin had made any Number of Lasts upon the Model of her Feet, and found greater Employment than with any other making Shoes & Slippers after the latest Fashions of Paris and our own London Taste for this Lady. When her Husband return'd from the Wars on half-pay, he found Mr. Crispin's Bills exceeded his Income for the Year, and that he was forced to draw upon his modest Estate to pay them. Imelda used to tell, by way of a Jest upon Herself, of the Occasion when she was Nine or Ten, that she ran barefoot into the Parlour where a very grave Bishop was paying the Family a Visit, and cried, "Are not my pretty little Feet fine, Sir?" Her loving Husband finally chided her that, "Your pretty little Feet are bankrupting us, Madam!" and forbade any new Shoes until he had put their Estate in Order.

Here is proclaim'd the Folly of an irrational and unwholesome Attachment to one Part of the Female Body that seems to afflict both Sexes. Certain Ladies love their Shoes too much; and, it must be said, certain Gentlemen love female Feet too much, as well. The making & selling of a Superfluity of Ladies' Shoes seems to have continued unabat'd from my Day to this, proving (as I before averr'd) that such foolish Vanity was not the especial Possession of my Age.

For my Part, whilst in Life not immune to the Charms of each Feature of the feminine Form, and glad to have had them well-drest or display'd, as may have been Proper, I took Delight in the Effect of tout l'ensemble, and remember'd that Nature gave us the whole Woman; and that whether she wore a Sabot or a Silk Stocking, She was, and always will remain, more than the Sum of her Parts.

Praying that neither You nor Members of your Audience would see themselves in any of my Anecdotes, I am,


Your most humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

"A flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.”

Greenspan says oops.

"A humiliated, decimated GOP that rejuvenates and rebuilds around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism..."

"... is really the only chance for voters to possibly get a real choice in federal elections down the road."

Radley Balko longs for what libertarians long for -- with the usual iffy grasp of cause-and-effect. Andrew Sullivan -- who's ultra-keen on Obama's winning -- calls it a "a must-read for any center-right libertarian-inclined voter."

"We're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him."

"Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

When is the press going to force Joe Biden to explain what the hell he meant by that? And, generally, when is the press going to pay attention to Biden's mistakes? Kirsten Powers would like to know.
The stock answer is: "It's just Biden being Biden." We all know how smart he is about foreign policy, so it's not the same as when Sarah Palin says something that seems off....

And Biden is the foreign-policy gravitas on the Democratic ticket, so his comments are actually even more disconcerting.
Even those who support Obama -- not all, but some -- are getting nauseated by the press bias. And it's not just the bias. I'm really queasy about that future Biden is foreseeing. He has access to all sorts of reports of threats that we can't be told. It's as if he's taunting us with his inside knowledge. There will be -- what? -- attacks? And is Obama already planning to respond in ways that they know will dismay us? Tell us more. Is it about Israel?

ADDED: Kathryn Jean Lopez thinks maybe Biden means that Obama wants a draft.

Help me understand baseball uniforms.

Years ago -- in the 1970s -- I used to watch baseball on a little TV, and I thought the players looked great. Last night, I checked out a little of game 1 of the World Series. I don't think it was just the extra sharpness of HDTV:
The players look like hell! When did they stop wearing stockings and knickers? Those long pants look like pajamas. I remember tight pants. These are all baggy. What a bunch of slobs! And look at all that litter in the dugout. And all the nutshells in front of the dugout. Ugh! The aesthetics!
In the comments, Bart Hall wrote:
One reason for "baggy" pants is that any pitch brushing the uniform in any way is called as a hit batter, and most of the strike zone is down in the pants region. Even an ankle-high pitch brushing the pants gets a trip to first base.
Well, fine then. How about adapting this look for the ball park?

"Obama pals around with hippies."

Bill Ayers is "the pussiest terrorist," according to Jackie and Dunlap:

(So many great lines in this new episode of Red State Update.)

"The R.N.C. cleverly used the party committee's money to avoid the liability that would have occurred if campaigns funds were used."

Said campaign finance expert Kenneth Gross about that $150,ooo the Republican National Committee spent on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin.
Had the purchases been made by the McCain campaign, it would be a conversion of campaign money into personal use, which is prohibited. The same rule does not apply to money from party committees.
Yes, diabolically devious of them -- wasn't it? -- to follow the law.

Yesterday, I cleverly drove 25 miles an hour in a 25 mph zone.


That's tucked down at the bottom of the NYT article by Patrick Healy and Michael Luo. Let's pick over the rest of it:
... Republicans expressed fear that weeks of tailoring Ms. Palin as an average “hockey mom” would fray amid revelations that the Republican Party outfitted her with expensive clothing from high-end stores.
"Tailoring" and "fray" ... a cute use of sewing and fabric metaphor.

Healy and Luo note that she needed the clothes and needed someone to accomplish the shopping for her, as she was suddenly thrown into constant campaigning in widely variable climates.
Yet Republicans expressed consternation publicly and privately...
Can you quote any?
[O]n “The View” ... Joy Behar, a co-host, noted the McCain campaign’s outreach to blue-collar workers — like an Ohio plumber who recently chided Senator Barack Obama over taxes — after another co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, defended the expenditures....
Behar, not a Republican, but a Democrat and a comedian, surely had a comic opportunity and took it. More about her joke in a minute.
“It looks like nobody with a political antenna was working on this,” said Ed Rollins, a Republican political consultant who ran President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. “It just undercuts Palin’s whole image as a hockey mom, a ‘one-of-us’ kind of candidate.”
Oh, yes, Ed Rollins, last seen advising Mike Huckabee and making the insightful comment: "To me, hitting somebody, knocking somebody down, is a great feeling. Firing out a negative ad just feels amazing... What I have to do is make sure that my anger with a guy like Romney, whose teeth I want to knock out, doesn't get in the way of my thought process." I'll bet he wasn't the first guy Healy and Luo phoned up to get an Republican mouthing the quote they wanted.

And that's the only on-the-record, negative Republican quote.


Now, back to that Joy Behar joke: "I don’t think Joe the Plumber wears Manolo Blahniks." Note how spectacularly Behar fails to get Joe the Plumber's way of thinking.

Joe was not yet successful, but had a dream of buying his own business, and he thought the incentive structure should remain place. He didn't want those making $250,000 to be subjected to confiscatory tax rates.

You may think that Joe the Plumber -- and the "I am Joe the Plumber" types -- are foolish not to express antipathy toward those who are economically successful, but they do not. As they put it they want to get rich too. They look at rich people -- or so they say -- and think -- not: that bastard doesn't know how I struggle -- but: I want to get there too.

In this light, Joe the Plumber wouldn't look at Palin's nice clothes and seethe with jealousy. He would think: I'm inspired to work harder so I can get some great clothes too.


Now, 2 things:

1. Palin was given the clothes. She didn't earn the money to buy them. So maybe she's not Joe's model of success. Joe doesn't want a handout. He wants to earn it and not have the government take it away. But Palin attained the level of success that made other people want (and, really, need) to give her these things, which is earning them.

2. Behar was also trying to be funny with the image of a man wearing fancy women's shoes, but Manolo Blahnik does make men's shoes:

Yes, slingbacks and open toes. Blue suede shoes. Deal with it. Need to go more conservative?

I can see Joe in those! The "What Not to Wear" guy, Clinton Kelly -- that repressive bastard -- says those shoes say "Hey look what I have on that you don't have the balls to wear." I say: have the balls.

ADDED: This newer "I Am Joe the Plumber" makes the point even better than the one I linked to, above:

October 22, 2008

It's too cold for people to sit outside at State Street Brats.

But it was very pretty passing by just as the Backstreet Boys were singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" to open the World Series.

Sorry for the wind (and bus) noise, but I love when you can hear girls exclaiming "Sounds like the Backstreet Boys," "Yeah, it is!"

ADDED: When I got home, I watched a bit of the game on HDTV, and I was shocked. Is it just the HD? The players look like hell! When did they stop wearing stockings and knickers? Those long pants look like pajamas. I remember tight pants. These are all baggy. What a bunch of slobs! And look at all that litter in the dugout. And all the nutshells in front of the dugout. Ugh! The aesthetics!

"It's a negative intensity" between John McCain and Sarah Palin.

As witnessed and characterized by NBC's Chuck Todd:

Is he blaming her? Is she blaming him?

"I can't emphasize enough the odd body language."

Harsh, but not all that unbelievable.

ADDED: "Chuck Todd" sounds like inappropriate personal advice to Sarah Palin.

I love Blogger!

You may have noticed that the comments box now appears at the bottom of the post page, looking very spiffy and making reading a comments thread much nicer.

But there's another improvement, the main improvement I've been hoping for. When the comments go over 200, they will appear on the post page once you add a comment. You won't have to click to comment and then click "newer." There is a downside, which is that you have to actually post a comment to see more than 200 comments.

ADDED: Oh, no, there's a problem. You have to post to see the comments beyond 200, but then you only see the comments on the group of 200 comments that your post fits, and then it's hard to see how you can ever get to any sets of 200 comments in between the first and the last. I don't think Blogger is thinking about posts that get more than 200 comments. How often does that happen (other than by some disastrous accumulation of spam)?

It's very possible the new format will work fine for those posts done after the format change was introduced. Capiche?

Ah! I hope so. Quick, post a whole lot of comments here so we can find out. Post anything to get it up over 200 so with can test this theory.

UPDATE: Well, we pushed this up over 200 as a test, and, sadly, the news is bad. You won't see the over-200 comments unless you post, and at that point, you will only see the comments in the group of 200 to which your comment belongs. O, Blogger, why do you torment me this way?

UPDATE 2: Here's Blogger's explanation of the new function, recently moved out of Blogger Beta:
The embedded comment form is more convenient for your readers because they can use it to post a comment immediately, without clicking over to a different page. It also looks better, since it matches your blog’s style and colors.
That's true, but unfortunately, the problems we've encountered going beyond 200 comments make this unworkable for me. Fortunately, I can now see that this is an option, and going into "settings," I was able to go back to the old style.

How outrageous would it be for a professor to eat during class?

Today, I was so busy that just as I was leaving to go to class (at 3:30), I realized I'd forgotten to eat the sandwich I'd brought in. I fleetingly considered taking the sandwich with me and eating it during class. How bizarre it would be for the professor to eat during class? I mean, we drink all the time -- coffee, soda, water. Not alcohol, of course. But eating a sandwich while teaching seems just about as outrageous as bringing in a glass of wine.


The UW Marching Band is running around Bascom Hill as I write this. I turned off my office light so I could see what was going on in the dark and looked out and saw 4 guys running with sousaphones. (You've heard of running with scissors. This was running with sousaphones.) Homecoming weekend is starting on Wednesday. (I kind of think all the weekends in Madison start on Wednesday. I'm feeling weekend-y myself. Aren't you?)


Maybe I need to be more unusual. Eat that sandwich. Bring my pomegranate juice to class in a wine glass. It would be so easy to be an unusual professor!

Hey, California voters. Let's talk about how to vote on the 12 propositions you've got on the ballot.

No, I haven't personally studied this, but I trust my son Christopher, who lives in L.A. He emails:
California might not be a swing state, but there are some pretty significant measures on the ballot this year, and not just Prop 8. I just finished reading about the 12 propositions that will be on the ballot and deciding how I'll vote on all of them. Here's what I'm planning on doing, you can tell me if you think I'm wrong on any of these:

Prop 1A: Would build high speed rail systems across California. It would all be city-to-city trains and wouldn't improve public transportation within any given city. It sounds appealing but it's very expensive and misguided, since the dependence on cars is based on insufficient public transportation within certain cities, not so much city-to-city. I'm voting no.

Prop 2: Would require that "certain farm animals" (chickens) be given enough cage space so they can move their wings and turn around. I'm voting yes.

Prop 3: Would spend more money on children's hospitals. The argument against is that it spends money, the argument for is that it spends it on children's hospitals. I'm voting yes.

Prop 4: A constitutional amendment requiring that an underage girl can't get an abortion until 48 hours after her parents have been notified of her intent to get an abortion. There's an exception for "medical emergency" or "parental waiver" but not for child abuse or rape. I'm voting no.

Prop 5: Would expand spending on drug treatment programs and reduce punishment for those crimes deemed drug-related. Opponents say that a "loophole allows defendants accused of child abuse, domestic violence, vehicular manslaughter, and other crimes to effectively escape prosecution" by claiming that drugs caused them to commit these crimes. Whether that's true or not, its proponents' central argument is that the solution to prison overcrowding is to basically go soft on crime, release drug dealers early, and give more criminals the option of rehab instead of prison. I think the solution is to prison overcrowding is to build more prisons and deport all the illegal immigrants who are in those prisons. I'm voting no.

Prop 6: Would increase spending on law enforcement and prisons, and also significantly increase penalties for gang-related crimes. Opponents don't like that it, among other things, eliminates the option of bail for those who are arrested for gang violence and turn out to be illegal immigrants. I think we should be a lot harsher than just denying bail to those people, but maybe this is all you can get passed in California now. It's a complicated proposition with lots of components, most of which involve increased sentences for gang-related crimes. I'm voting yes.

Prop 7: Would try to shift us towards renewable energy by requiring that 20% of government-owned utilities are from renewable sources by 2010, 40% by 2020, and 50% by 2025. Seems very unrealistic to me. I'm voting no.

Prop 8: Constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. I'm voting hell no.

Prop 9: Constitutional amendment that is written as a victims rights act but is actually geared towards building more prisons. The victims rights measures are apparently duplicates of existing state law. I don't like that it seems to be presented in a dishonest way, but I support building more prisons. I'm voting yes.

Prop 10: Would try to improve energy efficiency largely by giving people financial incentives to buy hybrids. I think people already have enough incentive to buy hybrids. Some money would also go to university research on alternative energy. I'm voting no.

Prop 11: Constitutional amendment to create a commission that would include both parties and some independents to be in charge of drawing the voting district lines for State Senate rather than let them be drawn by Legislature. It's an effort to keep politicians from redrawing the map in a way that helps them. I'm voting yes.

Prop 12: Would send a lot of money to "provide farm and home aid for California veterans." You have to be wary of voting yes on most of these propositions, because we're in a financial crisis and nearly all of them involve spending a lot of money. If I'm only going to vote yes on the ones I consider the most important, then giving money to all the veterans, including those who are doing well, isn't at the top of the list for me. I'm voting no.
So, is he wrong about any of this?

ADDED: Armed Liberal says "no" on 10 and 7, "yes" on 11 and "no" on 8 -- agreeing with Chris -- and "yes" on 12 and "no" on 9 -- disagreeing with Chris. By the way, my view, expressed in the comments is:
I think the proposition approach to lawmaking is terrible, so if I were in California, I'd have a strong presumption of "no" for everything. Only when I felt very sure of the answer would I vote yes. I kind of like the "yes" on 11.
Has it really been shown that Prop 2 is the worth doing? You want to serve the chicken community... at whose expense?

Mark Steyn is "beginning to enjoy the kinky frisson of" Sarah Palin's shoes.

He says so here. Photo essay of shoes here. To me, the shoes don't look expensive enough.

Meanwhile, here's a good view of the worn-out soles of Barack Obama's shoes. He's been walking all over America, trying to win our votes. (From a very nice set of photos by Callie Shell. I especially like this one ... despite the unobtrusiveness of the shoes.)

The musical speech of Sarah Palin.

Via Metafilter, where billtron says: "I love contrasting this Palin video with the Obama 'Yes We Can' that was circulating about 6 months ago. Two musical settings that present very different images of the candidates."

"Beware the long arm of Butt-Head."

A Code Pink lady tries to make a "citizen's arrest" of Karl Rove:

That sent me looking for the great old "Citizen's Arrest" episode of the Andy Griffith show, but I got distracted by the less-remembered, but hilarious "Citizen's Arrest" episode of "Beavis and Butt-Head":

And, yes, the Code Pink woman commits a crime in that video. And a tort.

Rush Limbaugh tripped all over himself yesterday, talking about Colin Powell.

From the transcript of yesterday's Rush Limbaugh show:
Isn't this, by the way, the Colin Powell who was first appointed to a big job by Mr. Conservative, Ronald Reagan? Wasn't it Ronald Reagan who pinned the four stars on General Powell? It was, ladies and gentlemen. And wasn't it George H.W. Bush who named him chairman of the Joint Chiefs, another Republican? And wasn't it George W. Bush who named him secretary of state? Yes, another Republican. By tomorrow this time, the political impact of the Powell endorsement will be mostly irrelevant, but his betrayal will be forever.
Betrayal? Is Colin Powell "General Betray-Us" to you? Presumably, Powell deserved the positions the Republicans offered him, and these positions were not in exchange for future party loyalty. Powell never even stated that he was a member of the Republican Party. He was an independent thinker, which is one reason why his support was so valuable. [ADDED: Has Powell identified himself as a member of the party? On "Meet the Press," he kept saying "the party," but does at one point say "my own party." I was influenced by something Rush said on the Monday show: "I'll never forget Powell threatening with running for president back in 1995, remember that? And he wouldn't identify what party he was from. He had these approval ratings in the seventies. He knew if he identified himself as a Republican or a Democrat, that he'd lose some of the numbers, he wouldn't take a position on abortion, for example. Everybody on our side was so excited about Colin Powell. I said, 'Folks, don't you think it matters whether or not he's a Republican or Democrat? He won't tell us.'" Back to the Tuesday transcript:]
And you people in the Drive-Bys [i.e., the mainstream media] who have been out there claiming that my disagreeing when Powell says his endorsement of Obama is not about race, and I say, yes, it is, it's totally about race, is a transformational figure, what else is transformational about Obama if not his race?

Everybody knows that Democrats in the media think history is being made here. What's so hard to admit you're supporting a guy because of race? And they're trying to tell me that I'm being racist and that I'm accusing Secretary Powell of being a racist. I'm not accusing him of being a racist. The Democrats have gotten away with defining our language or redefining our language for far too long....

What I said, my simple quotes to Jonathan Martin. "Jonathan, he says it's not about race. Okay. I'm going to search all the inexperienced white liberals that he's endorsed. I'll get back to you with what I find." Not only is that not racist, it's brilliant, if I say so myself, because it expresses it in a number of ways. What I'm saying is, well, this is interesting. He says it's not about race, but where all the inexperienced white liberals? Of course it's about race. And then when I said -- now, nobody brings this one up -- but he said he couldn't deal with two more Republican appointments to the Supreme Court. I said, "I didn't know he disliked John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia." I guess he also doesn't like the fact that it was Republicans that made him who he is. This is betrayal.
You know, it's possible to like and respect John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and still think the next 2 appointments should be made by a Democrat. That's my thinking on the subject. Political moderates tend to want a balanced Supreme Court, and replacing Stevens, Souter, or Ginsburg -- the 3 most likely departures -- with a reliably conservative Justice would upset the balance we have known for the lasts 20 years and more.

As for all that material about race, here's what Powell said:
So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we've got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities--and we have to take that into account--as well as his substance--he has both style and substance--he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world--onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.
Powell used the word "transformational" in the context of generational change and also "who he is," which we can take to include Obama's race. That is part of "his ability to inspire." But it's absurd to say that race is the only reason Powell would support Obama. Limbaugh is relying way too much on a strained idea of party loyalty.

Tom Brokaw immediately pressed Colin Powell on the matter of race, saying: "And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race."

Powell said:
If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud--not just African-Americans, but all Americans--that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world.
So he openly stated that he's excited about the prospect of a black President.

Back to Limbaugh:
What General Powell did is betrayal, and of course he's gonna say it's not about race, but if Biden were the nominee you think he'd be endorsing Biden? Do you think he would endorse Hillary? It's possible. I'll tell you why.
Ha. Limbaugh backs down from his own theory! He loves his theories so much that he can't resist spinning out another one, even when it screws up the last one.
Because in addition to the race factor here, what's most important to Colin Powell is Colin Powell.
Huh? Suddenly, Powell is a big egoistic careerist?
And that means what's most important to Colin Powell is his standing in the New York-Washington elite corridors of power, and he has been on thin ice since the Iraq war and since he went up there to the United Nations and made the case for Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. So this gets him back in good graces, this gets him back in good stead....
After a commercial break, he goes back to the issue of race:
Just one more stab at this, folks, this Colin Powell business. I'm not calling him a racist. I'm saying he's disingenuous. It's not about racism. It's about his lack of candor. He can't admit what's obvious. Race plays a huge role. The whole campaign is about race. It's "historic." Why is it historic?
Hey, read the transcript I just quoted. He wasn't disingenuous. He said it! "And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president."
Why can't you Democrats acknowledge this? What's so hard about it? Just say it! Be proud of it! It would have been refreshing if Secretary Powell had stated the obvious, not danced around it. But, see, if he'd admitted it was about race it wouldn't have helped him with the media.
With the help of the media? Look at Brokaw's question! Limbaugh was tripping all over himself in this segment, and what would be so hard about admitting he was wrong? Just say it! Don't dance around it!

Nina Totenberg thinks Ted Stevens will be convicted.

Listen to the last line of her report.

"The best Sarah Palin look-alikes."




Oh, no!

Oh, noooooo! (Why was I not informed of this?)

ADDED: Start here to get explanations of who these people are, notably that last one.

Do you RNC campaign donors mind having spent $150,000 for Sarah Palin's wardrobe and $4,716.49 for her hair and makeup?

I assume you don't. She suddenly needed to look perfect for numerous high-profile appearances. How could she possibly have paid for all that herself? Imagine how she'd have been ripped apart if she'd relied on what she already had in her closet by all those folks who want to say: It's like McCain just picked your mom for VP.

But is it legal?
Federal law would bar the McCain-Palin campaign from converting campaign funds to "personal use" - a definition that specifically includes clothing purchases.

But a Republican strategist said the expenditure by the party committee was legal.
If it's not legal, there is an uneven burden on men and women. A male candidate can wear whatever business suits and shirts and ties he's had in his wardrobe for years. It's hard to go wrong. But the woman will be scrutinized, and there are so many pitfalls. Especially when she is suddenly elevated to the national stage -- like Sarah Palin -- a woman needs major fashion assistance.

ADDED: Here's the original report in Politico, and here you can see that the blogosphere is going wild over it. Of course, Palin opponents are going to use this material. Nothing wrong with that.

UPDATE: Apparently, it's not illegal:
Had the purchases been made by the McCain campaign, it would be a conversion of campaign money into personal use, which is prohibited. The same rule does not apply to money from party committees.

“The R.N.C. cleverly used the party committee’s money to avoid the liability that would have occurred if campaigns funds were used,” said Kenneth Gross, a lawyer who is an expert in campaign finance.

October 21, 2008

“Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives."

I'm just watching this video after watching "Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives" on "Nova":

As one of the commenters over at YouTube says "Can we all agree that that is the BEST performance ever from a carrot in a music video?"

Here's a review of the documentary:
MARK OLIVER EVERETT does not deal in reassuring platitudes, whether writing bruised and barbed confessionals as the frontman for his cult rock band, Eels, or discussing the suburban Virginia upbringing that sometimes informs them. “My father was always there,” Mr. Everett said, “in the way that the furniture was always there.”

His father, Hugh Everett III, was a quantum physicist who, as a graduate student at Princeton in the ’50s, pioneered the many-worlds theory, an interpretation of quantum mechanics that proposed the existence of parallel universes. But to the younger Mr. Everett, the rock singer known to fans and friends simply as E, his father was a shirt-and-tie-clad fixture at the dining room table, an inscrutable figure who preferred chain-smoking Kents to conversation, and scrawling calculations on yellow legal pads to parenting.

“I didn’t really know he was a famous quantum physicist,” Mr. Everett, 45, said.... “It wasn’t something anyone talked about around the house. He barely spoke at all.”
I guess it's not so cool to have a genius dad. The younger Everett, we learn, couldn't understand math at all and flunked basic algebra.

IN THE COMMENTS: ElcubanitoKC said...
I really wanted to kill this whiney idiot. He can't speak in plain English ("behold my metaphor!" again), and he obviously didn't care about his father. He has no idea about science, in fact he very obviously rejected it all "because daddy didn't hug me!"...ugh. I wanted to refresh my quantum mechanics and the history of it, but this bearded fool was in the middle of it, and irritated me to no end. I had to turn the TV off.
Yes, I started watching thinking I could gain some appreciation for a theory that has always only seemed perfectly insane to me, but it turned out to be much more of a personal interest story about a mopey alternative rocker. The science part of it was therefore slow-moving. At one point, I thought the story was aimed at children. Then, I adapted and started thinking of it as a more creative documentary along the lines of "Crumb" and "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control" -- two of my favorite movies -- and I thought it was kind of cool. Are you supposed to like Mark Oliver Everett -- was his father a secret 3 Stooges fan? -- or was he more of a Charles Crumb sort of character who inspires pity, mild loathing, and fearsome recognition?

"Al the Shoesalesman Gets a Tax Cut."

Nicely done ad and website with easy to use calculator -- not that I believed the number I was given.

ADDED: This post is red meat lobster for my other readers.

AND: I just rewatched. In the end, Al says, sarcastically, "This is gonna be tough," then: "Obama!" I feel sorry for an older, family man who only makes $20,000 -- and I know this Al is the fictional TV-show character -- but really, is it okay to think of elections in terms of a personal deal for each voter, so that it's obvious that you vote for the candidate who offers you the most money? Quite aside from whether we believe we'll get what we are promised, isn't there something fundamentally wrong with thinking in such self-centered terms? Notice, too, that this idea is out of keeping with the statement Obama made to Joe the Plumber, that Joe ought not just to think of himself but to see the value of benefiting everyone.

"Is that what that is, the presidential race?"

Ted Nugent comments on the presidential race:
I thought it was the fuckin' gong show. If it wasn't for Sarah Palin, I'd move to fuckin' Sweden. It's pretty pathetic. I don't think you can be "pretty pathetic." It's mighty pathetic. Barack Obama, I guess if you want to be Mao Tse Tung I suppose you can be. I just don't think you should be the president of America. Call me weird. If you really study the Communist Party of America, if you go to their website and check out their bullet points, it is the Democrat Party bullet points. It is Barack Obama....

Barack, fuck you. Joe, fuck you. John McCain, God bless you for discovering a Republican with massive amounts of balls. The good governor, Sarah Palin, is the bureaucrat-crushing, status quo-punching conservative that I've been looking for. I knew of her before John did, I had worked with Gov. Palin on numerous issues up in Alaska, where she proved she was a "we the people" person and not a bureaucrat monger. We are voting Republican this year, not because of John McCain as much as for Sarah Palin.

Though, I feel embarrassed to even say this, I have seen minor indicators of late, maybe starting 30 days ago, that John McCain is starting to come back to the basics, at least acknowledging the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and maybe even the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments, dare I say. We are voting Republican, because we see that Barack Obama's voting record, not what he has been so cleverly scripted to say, but his voting record. If the guy likes France so much, why won't he just go there? Why would you want to turn America into France? There's already a France. That's the way I see it. It's a clusterfuck, and it's heartbreaking, really.
I thought you might enjoy some red meat...