February 7, 2009

The white tree — late night version.

White tree

It's dark now. The warm day is over. Time to pour a glass and sit here silently. Or talk to me.

Views of the great Saturday melt.

There were great pools of water at the base of every driveway:

DSC_0212

Nothing's going to stop the ice fisherman from fishing:

Melting-ice fishing

And the boys see the chance to break out the shorts:

DSC_0188

When these teenagers passed me on the trail, we had dialogue:
Boy: Taking photographs?

Me: Wearing shorts?
Shortly — yeah, shortly — thereafter, I went to a café to download my photographs. Sitting next to me: a girl wearing flip-flops. February flip-flops.

An 8-mile-wide slab of ice broke away from mainland Ohio and floated off into Lake Erie.

100 people needed to be rescued — and one person died.

ADDED:



(I've replaced still photo from "Way Down East" with the clip I'd looked for and not found. Thanks to chickenlittle for finding it.)

Those "25 Random Things About Me" lists are not random.

There is a pattern — a formula — expertly extracted here.

The white tree.

The White Tree

The Melt.

The Melt

AND: More melt:

The Melt

"Fairey's warrants weren't just outstanding — they were FABULOUS!"

Says chuck b., noting the arrest — and the epithetish name — of the Obama poster artist.
Shepard Fairey was in Boston on Friday for his new exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Police Officer James Kenneally says the department had Jan. 24 warrants alleging the Los Angeles artist tagged property with graffiti.
***

Here's a slide show of Fairey's work from the Institute for Contemporary Art. Here's an old post of mine that includes a photo I took of the old Andre the Giant "Obey" image, without knowing what it was or having ever heard the name Shepard Fairey. I called it "an unrecognizable face on a lamppost":



And really, why should an artist get away with appropriating public property like this? I love Fairey, but it seems that he's committed a lot of crimes along his path to fame. Does he belong in prison for it? Should a man who stomped on a kitty go to prison for a year? But Fairey's crimes were fabulous (and his warrants were outstanding). It is not fabulous to stomp a kitten.

IN THE COMMENTS: Zachary Paul Sire says:
I wonder how everyone here would react had Fairey's subject and object of affection been Sarah Palin.
Oh, that's easy. Then he would belong in jail for a year, just like the kitty stomper. Fairey's more like a cockroach stomper. See the difference? Your sentence depends on whether we love or hate you.

It's going up to 57° here today in Madison, Wisconsin.

I must go out. I'll bring you back some pictures, I hope. And hopefully these won't be like last night's Frozen Creek Alehouse picture — the one that drove ricpic to write a poem called "Suicide Creek":
Wander down to suicide creek,
Walk its ice and snow;
Dream of finding what you seek
In the dark below.
I love to take a picture that drives you to poetry, but not one that drives you toward death. And don't walk on that ice today — suicidal or not.

Is it a day to fret about global warming? Well, if you're not supposed to look at the isolated cold day as a sign that global warming is a hoax, then it's just as wrong to look at the isolated warm day as a sign that it's true. But you know, if there is to be global warming, some of us will be winners. Yet, there's no need to wait around to win the hard way — and it's evil to want to win that way — because there is today, and today is beautiful.

Life is beautiful too, let me remind you. Don't kill yourself.

"I tend to think technology addiction has to do with fear of, or aversion to, direct human contact."

"It allows you to seem to relate to others while actually staying inside your own head and keeping control of the encounter as if it was only your fantasy. Yes, porn, but that's only symptomatic, or emblematic."

Something Amba wrote in the comments back here that disturbed me. Now, come on into my comments and have an experience with me.

WiFi on airplanes. What's the downside?

Terrorists coordinating things? The fact that the mere suggestion of terrorists coordinating things has me instantly eagerly ready to have the government monitor anything sent to or from an airline laptop? Come on, we let them X-ray the intimate items our bags and look at us in that machine that lets them see us naked. And you know how ridiculous you look naked but with your invisible clothes squishing your body into the dressed shape? Or do you think you look better that way, what with your Spanx and your push-up brassiere? I'm thinking of belts and waistbands. So, come on, WiFi on airplanes. It will be great. The time once spent doing that crap crossword in the in-flight magazine and snoozing to a half-heard audiobook will feel just like all those hours you willingly sit in your desk chair on a beautiful warm February day when you could be out traipsing around your beautiful city.

February 6, 2009

At the Frozen Creek Alehouse.

Make footprints with Althouse.

The Frozen Creek

Talk to me!

Congressman Peter Hoekstra tweets a security breach!

"Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace. Headed to new US embassy Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here."

IN THE COMMENTS: Jason (freezing) says:
Please, all his tweets are like that:

Deciding where to put new nuke dump. Who wants to donate to my campaign?

Rate this congressional page 1-10

At meeting with pres, BORED, anyone wanna chat?

@biden I haven't paid taxes in years, where's my appointment? LOL

After Ginsburg? "A woman? It seems certain. It’s inconceivable that the Court could be all-male...."

Jeffrey Toobin thinks Obama might pick a non-judge — maybe Janet Napolitano or Jennifer Granholm. Of the judges, Toobin flags: Sonia Sotomayor, Diane Wood, and Elena Kagan.

Think it's in bad taste to launch into talk about replacing Ginsburg as soon as we hear of her cancer treatment?

What's in worse taste?
Talk of replacing a Justice the instant we hear of her cancer treatment.
An elderly Justice remaining on the Court when seriously ill.
pollcode.com free polls


While we're at it:

If the Ginsburg seat is vacated is it necessary to replace her with a woman?
Absolutely. We cannot have an all-male Court.
The President should use a sex-blind selection process.
The President should give some consideration to the sex of the Justice, but not too much.
pollcode.com free polls

"But even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked."

Bob Dylan sang that long before anybody thought about where they would rank in a Google search.

Now, here comes Forbes.com with an item titled "Obama's 'Naked' Moment." When have we got a clever title and when is it a cheap traffic grab?

So which of Obama's many moments counts as his "naked" moment? If naked is the metaphor, it seems to me that we've had nothing but naked. It's a veritable nudist presidency.

"Dad is grooving on it, joking... looking forward to the moment he can post it...."

Should we condemn druggy dentist boy's dad?

Well, should we?
Yes.
No.
Eh.
  
pollcode.com free polls

"You know, much more of this and I’ll start to think that all the concern over rendition and waterboarding was just insincere electoral hooey."

Hmmm... another chance to use my "Obama is like Bush" tag.

Sarah Palin's "unstable grip on reality."

Or... oh... never mind... or no...

Has technology extinguished both true solitude and real social life?

A big essay by Neil Swidley.

"We are both architects in a way. We both deal with structure, we are both artists, and we are both egomaniacs. I have worn a cape."

"There is where we end."

Says T.C. Boyle about Frank Lloyd Wright, the subject of his new novel. Boyle actually lives in a Wright house, the George C. Stewart House in Montecito. Here's a photo of the house, and looking closely at the windows, I believe this portrait of Boyle at his website shows a detail of the house. Here's another portrait of Boyle from his website. I think it's interestingly phallic.

ADDED: If you buy the book — "The Women" — using this link, you will be making a contribution to this blog (without paying extra).

Buddy Holly "got as close as anyone has to the essence of rock 'n' roll...."

"No one will ever do what he did. Sure, there are imitators -- he's very easy to imitate. But no one can do it with that purity and innocence anymore. There will always have to be a layer of irony or allusion."

Jac has 5 videos by artists in the Buddy Holly "nerd rocker" tradition. He wouldn't add a 6th one, which I recommended, so I'm putting it here:




And, by the way, the angels want to wear my red shoes....

shoes

"With General Zinni fuming in undiplomatic fashion about the way he was treated..."

"... the question of who should be the next ambassador to Iraq has turned into an embarrassing mess for the Obama administration as it struggles to recover from other stumbles over high-profile nominations."

And that's from The New York Times.

Obama has only been President for 17 days. It's mind-boggling how many screw-up there have been. "Stumbles"? Has there even ever been any normal walking in the Obama administration? It seems to me that the mode of ambulation is the stumble.

ADDED: Perfect ↓

Obama mural on 6th Street

There was this blackboard kitty cat...

Blackboard Kitty Cat

I'm only partially responsible for drawing that.

As long as I've got the iPhone in hand and open to the camera app...

Office Shelfscape

I call that "Office Shelfscape."

And then, here's "Office Floorscape":

Office Floorscape

So really, Althouse, what is it? You've got the kitty cat, drawn on the board in, apparently, a conlaw class, and then, amidst law books, some "compassionate choices" for chickens, and that old familiar office toy, Blue Flame? What are we to make of this?

I've been resolutely avoiding "Frost/Nixon."

For reasons I state here:



But The Bit Maelstrom makes exactly the argument needed to change my mind:
I've heard some criticisms of Frank Langella's Nixon, but I think those views come from people who remember the guy....

Problem is, he doesn't come across as evil at all. In fact, there are so many points in the movie where he's validated--as a powerhouse diplomat, as a strong leader, even his defense of Vietnam is better than his enemies' attack--that when the moment finally comes where he admits to abuse of power, it seems sort of trivial. Downright petty even. And his own confession of guilt and clear feelings of disappointment and shame, well, 30 years out, I began to feel like we weren't really worthy of him--and that I wouldn't mind having him in charge today.

TIP: If you want to demonize someone, you probably shouldn't put a great stage actor up there to play him. And it's possible, I suppose, they weren't trying to.

In any event, the whole movie ends up having an almost Amadeus-like surreality to it. Like we're watching a clash of Titans. Or a titan being brought down by ankle-biters....

Much more at the link. Read it!

A return to conservative business suits and accessories.

An aesthetically pleasing side-effect of the economic crisis.

February 5, 2009

Whatever...

DSC_0054

Whatever crazy chaos you'd like to drag me into. I'm yours. Say it! Just say it!

Suing your own abortionist for making you witness the murder of your accidentally delivered child.

How can the mother who sought the death of her unborn child recover damages for seeing the death acted out in front of her?
"The baby writhed and gasped for air, still connected to [Sycloria] Williams by the umbilical cord. Immobilized by shock, Williams watched [abortion clinic owner Belkis] Gonzalez run into the room, cut the umbilical cord with a pair of orange-handled shears, stuff the baby and afterbirth into a red biohazard bag and throw the bag into a garbage can," the lawsuit explains.
Shouldn't anyone having an abortion need to visualize what is being done to the life/potential life she is destroying? To claim damages from seeing the death is to admit that you didn't understand what you were doing when you sought the abortion. If women are to have a right to choose to have an abortion — if the decision to have an abortion properly rests with the woman, as the law says it does — then it is crucial that she understand what she is doing. This lawsuit is a claim that she did not comprehend what she was doing. If that is true, it undermines the whole basis for the right to choose to have an abortion. Choices imply competent understanding. Either women know what they are doing or they do not. Take a side.

"If they think... Barack Obama is going to walk away from what he is trying to do for the American people, they’ve got another thought coming."

Another thought coming? Uh, duh, Harry Reid coins a phrase.

And Chuck Schumer says: "Despite the efforts of the president, Senator Reid, and all of us to reach out, we’re getting rebuffed. Has bipartisanship been a failure? Well, so far it’s not working. But it takes two to tango and the Republicans aren’t dancing."

Not dancing? You could try that thing where you shoot a gun at their feet and yell "Dance!"

"Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. I brought some. Here, I'll let them roam around – there is no reason only poor people should be infected."

A really rich man — Bill Gates — would like to scare the bejesus out of you who are not so rich but not as in touch with the life of the poor as he is.

IN THE COMMENTS: I detect 3 themes.

Theme #1: Microsoft sucks. Examples: Jeremy says, "Releasing bugs on an unsuspecting public and leaving them vulnerable to viruses is what Gates has been doing his whole career." And Franco says: "Feeling horribly guilty about his immense wealth and distraught over his failure to prevent viruses with his Windows operating system, Bill Gates is launching his next generation operating platform, Screens, which designed for poor people who can't afford Windows."

Theme #2: Lawsuit! Example: Daryl says:
How is this so different from:

1 - saying "Rich white men don't have to worry about gun violence.

2 - pulling out a handgun

3 - pointing it at the audience

4 - firing blanks

5 - telling people: "LOL JK it was just blanks don't be a drama queen"

???

This was an intentional tort. Punitive damages. Based on his net worth. Bill Gates' net worth.

I'm touching myself just thinking about it.
Theme #3: Damned enviros and their DDT ban.

One reason I enjoy blogging so much is that there's something about my brain that visualizes everyone as beautiful.

If I don't see your photograph or hear some description that stops me, I picture the men looking like Cary Grant and the women looking like... No, not Myrna Loy!



Myrna Loy today would look frumpy. That hairstyle! I picture the women looking more like Jennifer Connelly.

What's wrong with me?! I like to think I'm an optimist. But it's a problem when I try to step out of this life of the mind — oh, come on, humor me, blogging is the life of the mind — and interact with real people. I believe I'm swanning around at a posh cocktail party in a 1930s Hollywood movie, and it's quite a shock to see that things don't look like that at all.

This is a topic upgraded from my Twitter feed, where I've also been talking about my other cognitive quirk: I visualize things outside of my immediate physical sphere as much smaller than they are. For example, I "small-visualize" government, industry, geography, historical time, and outer space. My theory is that this is a natural consequence of evolution: We're hard-wired to understand a world that has the scope it had when we lived in a small, walkable place, when the things we knew about had a human scale.

"There is no other way to describe it. He butchered her. He killed her in cold blood while she begged for her life."

So why did Julio Marin-Garcia get the minimum sentence for murdering his wife? Because he says he doesn't remember doing it?
Dane County Circuit Judge John Markson [said] that it is possible that he will pose no danger to society if he leaves prison in 20 years.

"The greatest punishment is not what I do but having this on your conscience," Markson said.

How much, exactly, do such things weigh on the mind of a man who says, "I am sincere when I tell you that I don't remember what happened at that moment"?

"U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery today for pancreatic cancer."

CNN reports.

"And I must say, your English has gotten so good."



ADDED: Yeah, I know, Leno is so awkward setting up the jokes. It's so obvious that he's got a plan to deliver a punchline. But it was still funny, and Cruz is so gorgeous.

"Excuse me! I was in First Class! Where's the VIP rescue boat?!"

"I was in heels since 5 in the morning and then I was up 'til 3 and then I have scoliosis and..."

I'm really glad Kim Cosmopolitan is summing up last night's "American Idol." I had to force myself to watch it and felt like I was having no fun at all, but it seems highly amusing now, which just proves once again how much better writing is than TV.
God, I'm not sure I understand the point of AI's Group Night. I mean, there's obviously no competitive group-singing aspect of the show, so what is it? Is it to give Your people a chance to show how they triumph over the adversity of having 18 hours to arrange and perform a song with others? Is it so You can assess their star quality among others who may or may not possess star quality themselves? Is it for no other reason than to give Your people at home some drama to keep them on board throughout the interminable early weeks of pre-dialing for dollars American Idol? Why, God, why?...

Oh, and thank you, God, for a smidgeon of righteous justice. The payoff on this one was pretty good. But I guess You knew that when You gave her the big starring edit in her audition. You're very prescient that way. Anyway, thanks.
Kim also posted on the Tuesday night show. Best part:
I hope Lil Rounds had a great first audition, because I did not like her shouty I-ee-I-ee-I performance one little bit, and I'm actually a fan of the song. And I am in actual physical pain from restraining myself from mocking her name.
Li'l Rounds. I get it. Like some off-brand Ritz Cracker. (Or is it wrong to refer to a non-white person that way?) As to the singing, yeah, I thought it was horrible. To suddenly begin "I Will Always Love You" at the big, loud finale instant is an aesthetic crime. Yet the judges gave her a standing ovation. It was ghastly.

John Roberts says: Under Rehnquist "the method of analysis and argument shifted to the more solid grounds of legal argument."

"Whether that 'seismic shift,' as Roberts described it, was a good thing is up for debate, though there's little question that Rehnquist was behind the move."

I'd like to see the whole text of that speech. Why did Roberts say that it might not be a good thing? When I first saw the quote that I put in this post title, I thought: Well, that's typical of how each side characterizes what it is doing. We're the judges who are doing real legal analysis, and those others are result-oriented and pursuing their own personal preferences and acting like a legislature. But apparently, it wasn't one of these we're-good-you're-bad remarks. It sounds as though he probably said that everyone on the Court has switched to writing opinions with carefully elaborated legal arguments, and the difference is not between the liberals and conservatives (and centrists) on the Court, but between the Court now and the Court before the Rehnquist. I was just teaching Griswold v. Connecticut the other day and thinking: They would never write this opinion this way if it came up today. It looks so carelessly slapped together by today's standards, yet you can tell by the tone that they thought they were doing a fine job.

But what was good about the old style of opinion-writing? What are we missing? Without more of the text of the speech, I can only guess at what Roberts may have said, but I'm thinking that what we miss are the opportunities for insight into what made the Justices think about things the way they did. There's an immediacy to those old cases. The reader doesn't feel that a squad of bookish law clerks has replaced all human feeling and intuition with properly scholarly verbosity. All that verbiage distances us and makes the layperson think: It certainly looks like they know what they're doing. In fact, it may be utter nonsense, but good luck figuring that out.

It's tiresome, workmanlike, and uninspiring. In such an environment, who will care much about the role of the Constitution limiting whatever it is government decides to do to us?

If Rehnquist represents something Roberts is ambivalent about, does Roberts aspire to his own seismic shift?

"I bet Barack Obama yearns for the days when he was only *running* for President."

"That's what he was good at. He'll have to reach much deeper into himself to find leadership, if it's there, and not just the idea, the mirage of it. It's scary and funny to see him so shaken by trying to ride the jackass bronc of Congressional Democrats and the mad bull elephant of House Republicans. Now we're getting somewhere. I don't think he'll completely fail, but it will be an unnerving while until he finds his seat."

***

Obama is giving soooooo much raw material to his opponents, who have — from Day 1 — been trying to frame him as a miserable failure — which exactly what Bush's opponents did to Bush.

You know what's really funny? That term — "miserable failure" — that was pinned on Bush so relentlessly? Do you remember who started that meme?

Tom Daschle!

Karma.

ADDED: Upon the suggestion, in the comments, that Richard Gephardt called Bush a "miserable failure" before Tom Daschle, I did a methodical search and found this from December 9th 2002:
"Their trickle-down economic theories have been a miserable failure, and this is an admission of that miserable failure," Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle told CNN.
The earliest Gephardt example was from January 21, 2003. To be accurate, I did find this earlier quote:
The absolutely miserable failure of this administration on economics is what brings us to this point.
That's from November 7, 1991. It's about Bush all right. Bush I.

Matt Welch vs. Tom Daschle's glasses.

Etta James vs. Beyonce.

"I can't stand Beyonce! She's going to get her ass whooped... You know your president, the one with the big ears — he ain't my president — he had that woman singing for him at his Inauguration. How dare Beyonce sing my song that I been singing forever!"

***

Here's the audio of the recent rant.

And then there this audio — of perfection reached, long ago.

"I'm the center of the universe, and thusly a centrist."

"Althouse misses the point entirely...."

"He doesn't seem like a total douche."

Why the crazy love for Blago?

"There is a negative image associated with abortion … and it’s going to carry with it a stigma that will be associated with your facility."

Or:

"Women in Madison and southern Wisconsin need options when faced with a terribly difficult pregnancy decision. Women need choices about what kind of caring is best for them and what they feel comfortable with."

What killed JuicyCampus.com?

I saw in the UW student newspaper that "The popular college gossip site JuicyCampus.com will come to an end Thursday because of its inability to support itself financially." The company says: "In these historically difficult economic times, online ad revenue has plummeted and venture capital funding has dissolved." Times are tough on line. I'd like some ads too. (Or help me and stimulate the economy by buying this spiffy new Nikon (using that link).)

But there was more going on with JuicyCampus now, I seem to remember. Here's Fox News:
A Web site that publishes anonymous, sometimes malicious gossip about college students has agreed to cease operations....

The shutdown comes nearly a year after New Jersey authorities subpoenaed the company as part of a probe to determine if the site was failing to comply with rules requiring users to agree not to post abusive or obscene content.

The site's operator, which denied any wrongdoing, was also facing a federal lawsuit filed by a University of Delaware student from New Jersey, who wanted to find out who was responsible for posting gossip about her on the site.
You don't need to win a lawsuit to defeat your antagonist.

February 4, 2009

So you've perceived that it's been a "Henry"-themed day on the blog.

But why has it been a "Henry"-themed day on the blog?

Why the "Henry" theme?
2 posts had "Henry" by chance so she started doing it on purpose.
She's sending out love to some guy named Henry.
She and her close pals use the word "Henry" to mean something she won't say.
pollcode.com free polls

How Dahlia Lithwick would like you to think about Supreme Court appointments: liberal = moderate, conservative = extreme.

Dahlia Lithwick has this new piece about the kind of Justices we might expect Barack Obama to appoint to U.S. Supreme Court:
The prospect of a liberal slot on the court being filled by a liberal president has some liberals dreaming big—as was evidenced in a piece last weekend, by Adam Liptak, asking whether President Obama should appoint someone "who by historical standards is a full-throated liberal, a lion like Justice William J. Brennan Jr. or Justice Thurgood Marshall?"...[

[Liberals tend to grouse] that there is no left-wing counterpart for Justice Antonin Scalia.... [The complain that the] court's liberals are just not very persuasive.... [that they] lack a revelatory constitutional vision.... [and that they lack fervor].....

If, then, we're totting up all the qualities the current court's liberals ostensibly lack, we'd need to blend boldness with passion and persuasiveness with volume and then hope the next candidate also comes with some sort of just-add-water Sweeping Constitutional Vision kit....

My own guess is that moderate, centrist Barack Obama is unlikely to name any such creature to the high court, even if she did exist, and that we need to yank our wish list out from under the enormous shadow cast by Antonin Scalia, William Brennan, and Thurgood Marshall, anyhow. Yes, they are forces of nature, and the court is a better place for having each of them. But pining for a liberal Scalia isn't the way to push the Roberts Court into the future. The day of the lions may be ending at the court. And that might not be a terrible thing.
So Lithwick's read of Obama is that he's a centrist, and he's not going to give us The Scalia of the Left/The Resurrection of William O. Douglas.

Now, here's Lithwick just about exactly one year ago, talking about what sort of Supreme Court Justice John McCain would be likely to inflict on us:
[The conservative legal movement is] a multifaceted organizational and institutional structure that has become the only game in town. Despite some missteps, today's conservative legal movement has become as powerful as it is through coordinated and careful effort.

The practical upshot is that when McCain constructs his legal team, he will have just one institutional framework from which to pick—the same movement conservatives that produced Roberts and Alito.... [And] McCain has already agreed to fall in line....
I wrote at the time that that didn't make sense to me:
McCain has embraced the generality of a conservative judge, but within that category, there will always be an array of judicial minds. Once he is elected, he'll be choosing from that array, and it remains fair to wonder whether he will pick more flexible pragmatic judges like O'Connor and Kennedy.

In fact, I think that is the line he probably perceived between Roberts and Alito... [McCain had seemed to express a preference for Roberts over Alito.] I think people at the time did see a distinction like that, and even if McCain doesn't have a deep, lawyerly knowledge of law, he very well may have heard talk that Alito was more of an ideological conservative and Roberts had a instinct toward moderation and consensus.
What's striking me now is the difference between the way Lithwick thought about Obama and the way she thought about McCain. What can account for it other than a preference that she has for a strong liberal judge? Why is it that Obama is seen as having centrist, pragmatic inclinations and McCain was not? I can't help thinking Lithwick is running interference for some very liberal nominee to come. She has a strategy to portray that person as actually a moderate, someone to whom fair-minded conservatives should not object. But when faced with McCain, back when the presidency was still up for grabs, she had reason to scare readers that McCain would appoint a hardcore conservative.

You know, it's not just Dahlia Lithwick. This is the stock argument that you hear again and again from people who want the Supreme Court to move to the left: liberal = moderate, conservative = extreme. I'm just writing this up as a blog post because I happened to run across that old McCain item on the same day I read the Obama thing. Usually, I just sigh and think, yeah, that again.

***

By the way, did you know there have only been 2 Supreme Court Justices named Henry? The first was Henry Baldwin (1780 - 1844), appointed by Andrew Jackson:
Baldwin found himself at odds with the dominant personalities on the Court he joined, especially Joseph Story. Within a year of his appointment, Baldwin expressed the wish to resign. He missed an entire Term due to illness; and, a mental condition progressively disabled him....

Baldwin wrote almost nothing of interest for the Court on the Constitution...

He appeared to suffer from occasional bouts of mental illness that made him obstreperous and even offensive to others. He did not get along with his fellow justices; and he was violent and ungovernable on the bench in his last years.
Well, that didn't go very well!

The other Henry was Henry Billings Brown (1836 - 1913), appointed by Benjamin Harrison:
Brown authored in excess of 450 majority opinions during his years on the Court....

Brown will probably be forever marked by a single opinion he authored for a majority: Plessy v. Ferguson....
Ah, my... Things did not go well for the Justice Henrys.

I'm now set free...

... by Henry.

Whew! It was getting hard to breathe.

UPDATE: Via Twitter:
You could do eight posts and then go bowling. Because that would be Henry the eight and Ann Bowlin'. Don't lose your head!

"Columbia, Rudin acquire brain rights."

Another headline I like.

The story is about the acquisition of the rights to make a movie about Henry Molaison — AKA H.M. — the man who lost the ability to form new memories as the result of a operation on his brain that was intended to treat his seizures. Molaison's problem made him a useful subject for various experiments. Is that cinematic enough for a movie?

(We talked about Molaison back when his obituary was published.)

How fat was Henry VIII? "He was an absolute monster."

"The Royal Armouries show, Henry VIII: Dressed to Kill, will be built around five complete suits of armour from the Tower... A full suit of armour gives a much better indication of the wearer’s actual size – even though Henry spent fortunes on hiring the finest European armourers, men with a Savile Row tailor’s knack of disguising a paunch. Henry was never the 'fat, boorish king throwing chicken bones over his shoulder' that Charles Laughton embodied on film."


***

"You call this a capon? Look at that! All sauce and no substance, like one of Cromwell's speeches. And just as difficult to swallow."

"'Our system is about to collapse'? Define 'collapse.' Back to a barter system? Hunting squirrels in Central Park? Possible, but I doubt it."

Silicon Alley Insider Henry Blodget is, some readers think, "smoking the hopium."

"If they're mean, I'm bored."



Aw, come on. Mean isn't boring. You need a less boring word than "boring."

"Glass girls stun Patrick Henry, boys fall flat."

Just a sports headline — high school sports — that amused me.

"He meets a deaf woman who loves music. Her hearing aid has broken. But she has good eyes and can read to him, but she slurs the words."

"It turns out that he plays the guitar, and she can hear it, a bit. Then in a final shocking twist, we learn that his middle name is 'Adam,' and her name is 'Eve.' Sadly, however, she is a robot."

That's Original George's entry in the "Time Enough At Last" challenge. The idea was to write a sequel to the famous "Twilight Zone" episode in which a man, Henry Bemis, who only wants to be left alone to read, is the sole survivor of a nuclear attack and then, with time enough at last to do all his reading, he breaks his glasses, without which he cannot read. So, what next?

Christy's entry is more "The Remake" than "The Sequel":
He is on the steps to the paperless Library circa 2020, picks up a Kindle and discovers the electromagnetic pulse has wiped all digital media clean.
Actually, the comments thread veered away from the challenge and into the philosophical inquiry: If there were no longer any possibility of interaction with human beings in real life, what books would be worth reading?

Anyway, I wrote the original post saying I'd reveal my sequel idea later, so here goes:

We see Henry agonizing over his broken glasses and suffering. He has to grope about in his near blindness, etc. etc. Eventually, he gropes his way into an eyeglass store. But all the glasses are melted from the nuclear blast. And the frames in an eyeglass store don't have prescription lenses anyway, Henry, you idiot. But there, under the counter there's a safe, blasted half open. Inside, there is a pair of glasses — thick glasses, like his old ones. We see through his eyes as he tries them on: The vision is clear. Henry is jubilant. He runs through the town back to his old stack of books on the library steps. He sits down, and, no sooner does he open up a book to read than the glasses fall off, hit the step, and break.

"If there is a law that is outdated, impractical, and/or immoral, people should have the right to challenge it."

"Socially, I'd like people to understand that there is a difference between what is right and what is just... Remember, slavery was considered legal at one point. I consider the world’s current modus operandi a modern slave system. I intend to challenge it in any way I can."

Legal philosophy from Henry Matyjewicz, an artist who — it may seem — operates by cutting up and rearranging the posters in the New York City subway stations, an illicit activity for which he was recently arrested.

You can see him in action here and here:



There's some question as to whether Matyjewicz is the real Poster Boy or perhaps only an artist who is using the Poster Boy method and reputation in the gallery setting. In any case, by going public, he got the police to arrest him, which, I note, is a damned effective publicity move. And now, there can be a "Free Henry" movement and complicated arty cogitations about identity and authenticity:
“Henry is one of many individuals who believe in the Poster Boy ‘movement,’ ” [somebody emailed the NYT.] “Henry’s part is to do legal artwork while propagating the ideas behind Poster Boy. That’s why it was O.K. for him to take the fall the other night.”

He added, “Henry Matyjewicz is innocent.”
And there can be the usual protestations about police abuse:
“The police came into a private event,” [said Moni Pineda, who was involved in staging the gallery event.] “They didn’t show a warrant to me or anybody. And the next thing we know, our friend is walking out with a bunch of guys we didn’t know.”
How private was this event? Did the cops ask to come in and get consent? The NYT doesn't say. That would be key if you're going to try to say they misbehaved.

Anyway, here's Poster Boy's photo stream. Basically, it's collage with other people's property. Obviously, it's criminal to destroy the advertisements businesses have paid for — paid the city, by the way, so the citizens who are entertained should see that they are in fact being forced to pay for the entertainment.



That is one of the more juvenile efforts. Here's a pretty good effort at mocking pop culture:



I love the broken compact fluorescent bulb. Yes, much as I hate crime, my sympathy is tweaked when you hit an issue I am passionate about. There's some slightly political stuff in there, but not much, really, unless you count vaguely anti-consumerist material as political.

I lived in NYC and rode the subway a lot in the early 80s when the artist Keith Haring was drawing in the subway stations. He was much less destructive, confining his work to the plain black panels that filled the poster spaces when the city had no ad to display. He wasn't wrecking an ad somebody gave money to the city for. He used chalk — white chalk — so his markings were impermanent. And he was also much more original, creating a distinctive style of drawing and inventing a whole catalogue of symbols. I remember seeing these drawings and feeling slightly nauseated by his appropriation of public property for self-promotion — though the fact that he was completely anonymous at the time made it more acceptable. Who was he to decide that his images were more important than the nothingness of the black panels? Is there never to be any visual quiet? But there was a simplicity and charm to his gift to the city. A sweet, elegant vibe — a light touch — that is missing from Poster Boy.

February 3, 2009

At The Bird's Nest Inn...

The Bird's Nest
... I know it's late at night, but I crave some conversation. Keep me company into the wee hours.

My Pet...

... Goat.

That Christian Bale freakout is now the "Bale Out" remix.

You know about the original, horrible rant. So then there's this (audio completely NSFW):



IN THE COMMENTS: I and others defend Bale.

AND: slhamlet, in the comments, points us to Ain't It Cool News, where Henry Knowles is giving the background to the story:
The DP on TERMINATOR SALVATION, Shane Hurlbut, is a apparently a light tweaker. He's a fairly young DP and likes to fiddle with his lights on set during action, which is a big "NO NO" on most productions unless worked out in advance with performers. But apparently Shane was a pretty unrepentant light tweaker.

The scene in question, was a very emotional and tough scene between Christian Bale and Bryce Howard. A scene that required soul bearing and a deep level of immersive concentration. The sort of scene where everyone on set knows not to get in anyone's eye lines, and definitely not to move lights around while FILMING. You lock that shit down before the scene starts.

Bale had indeed warned the DP on multiple occasions about messing with lights while the cameras were rolling, and Bale was in the midst of a painful scene with Bryce, what was described to me as being the emotional center of the film and his character for the film.

Now, the reason I know all of this is because the person that was there, felt that it should be made perfectly clear that Christian Bale was the utmost gentleman and cool guy on set. And the DP really was doing something that professional DPs with experience just don't do. Not during a performance.
We love you, Christian!

AND: Knowles isn't really a Henry. He's just a Harry. I know that. I knowl that.

"A new bathmat made of moss is kept alive by the water that drips from your body as you dry."



Nice... or somehow unsanitary?

"Check Althouse's comments if you want sex talk..."

Conservative polisci prof got himself into a bit of a jam with his readers and now tries to talk his way out of it.
And besides, as noted yesterday, Althouse is a notorious breast blogger, and she's instigated some of the web's greatest flame wars with...
Ha ha. I'm not going there again.

Note: Regular Althouse readers will be amused — I think! — that he quotes Titus (and my response thereto).

So I walked out of the classroom not realizing that I was still wearing the wireless microphone.

Can you believe that thing transmits from one end of the law building to the other? Let's just say it could have been much worse. There weren't that many students hanging around in the room where my voice was playing, and I didn't insult or defame anyone, reveal any secrets, commit any crimes, or — shudder — go to the bathroom.

Daschle withdraws.

Obama accepts it "with sadness and regret."

Obama can move on, and Daschle can slink away and, sidelined, rake in millions.

ADDED: Jame Taranto says:
Daschle had become such an embarrassment for the administration that even the New York Times called in an editorial for him to skedaddle. Noting that Daschle, like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, attributed his tax shortfall to "unintentional oversights," the paper opines: "Mr. Daschle is one oversight case too many." The newspaper that gave us the "one-grope rule" for Democratic sexual harassment now has promulgated a similar one for nonpayment of taxes.

"I love Bruce for the simple reason he is, from all appearances, a social phobe and a depressive."

Says Stephen Metcalf, bemoaning the fact that Springsteen gave a powerfully energetic performance at the Super Bowl halftime.
Nothing will ever compete for sheer tone-deafness with Paul McCartney playing a zealous Super Bowl rendition of "Live and Let Die" at the height of the Iraq war. But Springsteen would have put America on its ass—its mind shortly to follow—had he strolled out with a Martin and played "The Wrestler."... The national mood is sober bordering on a galloping panic. Lively as he was, I wouldn't say the Boss did much to either banish or capture it.
Yeah, why doesn't Bruce help us plunge ever more deeply into depression — mental, to go with the economic?

Obama has now been President for exactly 2 weeks.

How are you feeling about it?

Now, I voted for Obama, so I feel compelled to say that things would be at least as bad if John McCain were President right now. I never got caught up in the hope-n-change unicorns-n-rainbows, so I don't particularly expect or need to feel good. I will simply note that things have looked awful — and that's with the press passionately on his side.

David Letterman apologizing now for censoring Bill Hicks back in 1993.

Here's a piece about it:
On Friday, Letterman brought in comedian Bill Hicks's mother to apologize to her personally for having, in 1993, cut what would have been Hicks's final appearance (his 12th) on the talk show.

Hicks died several months later of pancreatic cancer....

When Hicks was performing in the early 1990s, freedom of speech, among the pundits and the public, was under constant attack....

Hicks, who knew he was dying of cancer at the time, was heartbroken, as was his family, though he blamed the USA, “The United States of Advertisers.”

So Letterman making up with Mary Hicks now was both poignant and depressing, and this mood was palpably felt: The sketch did not get big laughs....
Here's the video of Letterman explaining what he's going to do, then apologizing to Hicks's mother. And here's the censored performance from 16 years ago — and you really can see why it was censored:



At the end of that, we see Letterman groveling before Hicks's mother. "What was the matter with me?... It says more about me as a guy than it says about me Bill, because there was absolutely nothing wrong with that." Yes, but there was something wrong with it. It encourages the assassination of specific celebrities (particularly Billy Ray Cyrus). There's other material that could be viewed as homophobic and it is hateful toward pro-lifers and mildly blasphemous about Jesus, but I think the real problem was the creepy encouragement of violence (quite aside from whether it might actually have inspired murder).

Is there some reason why Letterman is now making his amends? If the pain he caused Hicks and his mom is something that gnawed at him all these years, why do something about it now? Does Letterman or someone he loves have cancer? Or does Letterman suddenly have a newfound hate for Billy Ray Cyrus?

IN THE COMMENTS: Diamondhead said:
Bill Hicks was "heartbroken" because the full sting of his comedy wasn't felt by his intended targets? That's funnier than anything in his routine.

If the question is whether a life sentence for rape is "cruel and unusual" when imposed on a 13-year-old...

... why highlight the question of whether a particular convict may have been innocent? To answer the question correctly and establish a legal rule on the subject, you have to assume the litigant was guilty. Does the NYT think this is what must be done to interest readers in stories about constitutional law? Or does it really hope to push public opinion on legal issues by stimulating a clutter of emotions?

ADDED: Here's a contemporaneous news report of the sentencing:
Regardless of the boy's age, he deserved the maximum sentence because he has a long criminal history, including an assault on a mental health clinic counselor and a burglary during which he killed a dog, Assistant State Attorney Larry Kaden said.

[Judge Nicholas] Geeker agreed.

"He is beyond help," the judge said. "The juvenile system has been utterly incapable of doing anything with Mr. Sullivan."

Because of the youth's record and other factors, state sentencing guidelines called for the life terms with no provision for parole, Kaden said....

[Sullivan] was accused of breaking into the woman's Pensacola area home when she was away May 4 and stealing jewelry and cash, then returning later the same day to rape her twice at knifepoint.

Naked Obama and the Unicorn.

The painting genre.

"Gilliam... was standing outside a restaurant in Soho when a car backed into him. 'Yes, a man can fly,' observed a bystander as he flew past."

Hilarious assholes they have in England, it seems.
He broke his back, but seems fine now, despite a cracked vertebra and dislodged disc. "Yeah, I'm a lizard," he says, cackling.
From an article on Terry Gilliam's seemingly cursed movie "The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus." Other problems: The producer died suddenly. And so did the star — Heath Ledger.
"It just isn't possible that he's dead," [said Gilliam.] "There's nothing he can't do, it just flows out of him with ease and grace. He lifted everybody. He wasn't like Marlon Brando or James Dean or any of the more neurotic actors, his was all positive energy. I knew he was tired but that Saturday he had been doing all his own stunts, he was leaping off wagons, indestructible. On no level did his death make sense.... "
We're not all flying men/lizards.
"I ... looked at how to do the remaining scenes without Heath, and realised that, since his character goes through a magic mirror three times, we could get three actors to play the role."
He got Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell, who are all donating their compensation to Ledger's 3-year-old child Matilda.

Other interesting things in the linked article:

1. George Harrison believed that the soul of The Beatles transmigrated into Monty Python when The Beatles died.

2. Monty Python broke up because the guys "got bored of each other."

3. "[Gilliam] renounced his American citizenship in 'disillusionment' with the Bush years, but he retains a pigtail which makes him look like an ageing hippy." You know what I don't understand? The role of "but" in that sentence.

4. Gilliam has never taken drugs, out of sheer fear of losing the distinction "between fantasy and reality." "It was only 15 years ago that I discovered I couldn't fly. I have such a 'sense memory' of flying around the world at the height of a table that when someone asked me to show them, I really thought I could do it."

5. In lieu of drugs: Dali, Ernst, Breughel, Bosch, and Mad magazine.

It was 50 years ago today: The Day the Music Died.

"A four-seat airplane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) crashed into a cornfield eight miles north of Clear Lake, Iowa."

February 2, 2009

The winter path.

Ominous path

"Gregg could go down as the biggest sucker since Arthur Goldberg."

"What could Sen. Judd Gregg possibly do in a second-tier cabinet position--Commerce--to advance his conservative philosophy that would possibly make up for giving his ideological opponents a 60-seat majority in the Senate?... Even if New Hampshire's Democratic governor angers his party by appointing a Republican to replace Gregg, will it be an anti-card-check Republican?"

A little silver slipper of a moon.

The Moon

Look over your left shoulder, and make a wish!

What if you knew that to be human was nothing more than to be a machine?

I'd say forget it and continue on as before.

What book that you've read is most different on second reading?

This is a question that occurs to me while reading (and looping back in) George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London." It's so sad, on first read, all the sufferings of poverty. The second time around, I see humor everywhere. It's uncanny!

What Hillary Clinton said about Bill that got a big laugh: "I am so grateful to him for a lifetime of, uh...all kinds of experiences."

She was just sworn in as Secretary of State. Transcribed by my son Chris — who loves Hillary. He opines that the audience must have thought of Monica Lewinsky and adds "Bill looked red, but he always looks red."

She also said this about Biden: "As Joe laughingly referenced, neither one of us thought that we would be standing here together doing what we are now doing together. Life has a funny way of unfolding and politics is even stranger."

Color in the snow garden.

Red twigs, snow

Red twigs, snow

Doing the math on Pajamas Media.

"Roger Simon’s claim that the ad network lost money from day one is the result of extremely poor business decisions, and that all they had to do to make it work was tell their bloggers the truth and simply renegotiate CPM rates."

***

"The fact of the matter is, these righty bloggers were kept financially afloat by PJM in an attempt to institutionalize the wingnut blogosphere as an alternative to the perceived liberal MSM. Given the American people's distaste for conservatism as practiced by George W. Bush (which can be argued was a perversion of it) and desire for change, the money wasn't there because no one cared about what these bloggers had to say or was willing to pay them to say it in this climate."

***

And here, Roy has fun surveying the rightosphere reaction.

Okay, Susan won that thread.

I'm laughing my ass off.

Feeling the strain of that 1-year time limit imposed — showily imposed — on Guantanamo.

Difficult issues, now with time pressure:
Lawyers inside and outside the department say [the (likely) new Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.] will face crushing time constraints. Chief among them is a pledge by President Obama to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, within a year. Mr. Holder and a department task force must find a solution to the question of what to do with the remaining prisoners there and any apprehended in the future.

“This will be a sea change of what went on before,” said an Obama administration lawyer, noting that the principal authority over detention policies will move from the Defense Department under the Bush administration to the Justice Department....

“The idea that it has to be closed within a year will drive the timing of many things,” said the Obama administration lawyer....
Meanwhile, a lot of people are expecting a return to the Justice Department's "historic role of largely enforcing prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination."

Anyway, everyone knows the easiest way to deal with a deadline: Get an extension.

What the sidewalk is to you, a limousine and chauffeur is to Tom Daschle.

You need to understand that if you want to know why it never occurred to him that he needed to report it as taxable income:
As a legal tax matter, this isn't even a close call. Mr. Daschle says he used the car service about 80% for personal use, and 20% for business. But his spokeswoman says it only dawned on the Senator last June that this might be taxable income. Mr. Daschle's excuse? According to a Journal report Friday, "he told committee staff he had grown used to having a car and driver as majority leader and did not think to report the perk on his taxes, according to staff members."
So... I infer that the Senators — or Senate leaders — have their cars and drivers that are excluded from taxable income even when used for personal things. I'm not outraged by that, actually — because they are underpaid — but it is delusional to continue to see yourself as above the law after you've been ousted from the government. Once you take your government reputation and sell it in the private market for big bucks, you must bend to the normal law that binds the rest of us peons.

ADDED: In 1998, Tom said: "Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter." I take it that means Tom would like to be thrown in prison for quite a few years. It's especially appropriate for someone who is responsible for making the laws what they are.

Why does Sarah Palin hate the House Republicans so?

"She lied to us."

They planned their retreat in Hot Springs, Virginian, and they thought she could jazz them up with a hot speech.
... Palin said she simply could not make it to the retreat because pressing state business made it impossible for her to leave Alaska this weekend.

So where is Palin this weekend? She's in Washington, D.C., attending the super-elite Alfalfa Dinner.
She blew you off for Alfalfa. Ha ha. Losers!
Asked about Palin's no-show, House Republican leader John Boehner shrugged.

"Whatever," Boehner said.
LOL. Whatever.

So, Phelps photographed with a bong? A problem for endorsements? I have an idea.

Poor Mikey. But: crisis = opportunity. Think of the possibilities. Cheetos. Fruity Pebbles. Funyins... Be creative! Bring back Screaming Yellow Zonkers.

Things tweeted and not blogged.

You know, I have some standards about what is bloggable. Now, with Twitter, there's a comfortable gray area. There are things I will say over there, that don't make the cut for here. Some things are just too lame. Other things, I am ashamed of finding funny.

"Since when has [landmark status] been awarded to a glorified Midwestern catering hall?"

Don't insult the Midwest, lady. New York City should take responsibility for its homegrown style of crappiness.

February 1, 2009

The late afternoon, mid-winter garden walk.

Inside the garden

Mid-winter garden walk

Feel free to talk about anything in the comments — including that thing, that... game...

ADDED: Did you like Jennifer Hudson singing the national anthem? A partial clip of the performance is here. AND: Better video here.

I scan 2 photographs from the 1970s.

As I told you I would in the previous post, I've searched my house for the most unusual book, and I have found a perfectly ridiculous book that was published in 1970 and taken seriously — I think! - at the time. More on that later. Along the way, I ran across 2 photographs of your humble blogger from the same era.

First, there's this from about 1974 (when I was 23). I'm sitting on the steps of our rather horrible tenement building on East 91st Street in NYC and wearing the kind of parka that everyone wore back before down jackets:

Ann on the steps of her tenement building in 1973

I fancied myself an artist back then, and I worked in strange day job that involved classifying the editorial content of all the major major magazines. I read magazines every day and wrote code numbers on them with a red china marker and made $6,500 a year.

This next one is a duplicate made long ago from a Polaroid. It's really washed out and faded. It says "October 1976" on the back in my mother's handwriting, so I am sure that is the correct date, in which case I was 25.

Faded Polaroid of Ann from October 1976

1976 was my year of retreat from commerce. The company with the magazine job collapsed, and, with husband and cat, I moved back to Ann Arbor (or, more precisely, Ypsilanti) and lived on savings. But that's enough for now. This is a blog, not an autobiography.

The most unusual book in your house.

Here's a little project that everyone can get in on, which I got the idea for reading this comment from AllenS in The Glad Hand Café:
I have two of my grandfather's books. Automobile Electricity -- Starting and Lighting, and The Automobile Storage Battery -- It's Care and Repair. Anybody remember when you had to check the water in your battery? There are pictures of a visit to the battery factory. Looks like young boys were used in the cutting and grooving exide wood separators. Some of them are wearing ties. Almost everybody in the factory are wearing caps. The very back of the books is where you can order wiring diagrams for cars. Such as the Brisco, Cole, Glide, Pullman. Hard to believe how many different car manufacturers there used to be.
So what is the equivalent thing in your house (or apartment)? It needn't be old, just odd. Find your most unusual book or two and tell us about it, either here in the comments or separately on your own blog (with a link in the comments or emailed to me). A photograph of the cover or a page or something would be nice. I haven't figured out what my book(s) will be for this project. I got rid of all the books I didn't really care about a couple of years ago when I almost moved out of my house, so there's nothing that's just bad. I'm not really looking for bad, just unusual, like "The Automobile Storage Battery."

ADDED: My book is "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross," by John M. Allegro. This 1970 book puts on a big show of scholarship to make the point that Jesus Christ was really a psychedelic mushroom.

Welcome to The Glad Hand Café.

Welcome to the Harpo Bookshelf

Tell me about your books, your action figures, your comic heroes, your favorite slang and satirical definitions.

"The Optimum Population Trust... says each baby born in Britain will... burn carbon roughly equivalent to 2½ acres of old-growth oak woodland...."

Why old-growth oak woodland? Why specify your absolute favorite form of vegetation in comparison to a completely generic baby? We're just talking about carbon emissions over the course of a lifetime. Why not weigh one largish cornfield against the entire lifetime of love and service of somebody's adorable grandma?
Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming....

“I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,” Porritt said.
Actively promoting abortion as a matter of fundamental morality?
Porritt, who has two children, intends to persuade environmental pressure groups to make population a focus of campaigning.

“Many organisations think it is not part of their business. My mission with the Friends of the Earth and the Greenpeaces of this world is to say: ‘You are betraying the interests of your members by refusing to address population issues and you are doing it for the wrong reasons because you think it is too controversial,” he said.

Porritt, a former chairman of the Green party, says the government must improve family planning, even if it means shifting money from curing illness to increasing contraception and abortion.
Yeah, why cure illnesses? Let them loose to off more people with carbon footprints. True, it's not as good as abortion, where you avoid the entire life of an old-growth forest killer. But a couple of middle-age disease deaths is the equivalent of an abortion, and these things add up. Just think of the immense progress in population control we could get with a major flu epidemic or bold new plague.
"We still have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Europe and we still have relatively high levels of pregnancies going to birth, often among women who are not convinced they want to become mothers."
High levels of pregnancies going to birth.... In the U.S., anyone at all mainstream has the decency to say they support abortion rights but that doesn't mean they are pro-abortion. This story is from the U.K., where, apparently, the political — the moral — discourse is different.[NOTE: The "anyone at all mainstream" sentence was not meant to apply to those who oppose abortion rights, and I did not anticipate that it would confuse some readers. My point is simply that in the United States, those who support abortion rights know they need to speak in terms of freedom of choice and not to affirmatively promote abortion.]

And one more thing. Why are we supposed to care about carbon footprints? Because of global warming? But why do we care about global warming? Because it will hurt people. If we see people as the problem, then there's nothing to care about anymore.

ADDED: There is a glaring error in this post! EDH, in the comments, prompted me: "higher atmospheric CO2 levels would help plant life." The new babies aren't harming the old-growth forest at all. They are feeding it! Tree lovers should appreciate the infusion of CO2. Now, supposing it's true and things do warm up. Won't the plants be happy? Antarctica could be re-forested.

Obama press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Daschle: "The president believes that nobody is perfect, but that nobody is trying to hide anything."

Huh? Obviously, Daschle was trying to hide a lot!
President Obama’s choice for health secretary, Tom Daschle, was aware as early as last June that he might have to pay back taxes for the use of a car and driver provided by a private equity firm, but did not inform the Obama transition team until weeks after Mr. Obama named him to the health secretary’s post, senior administration officials said Saturday.
I guess Gibbs means that nobody is trying to hide anything now... now that what they were trying to hide has been brought to light and there's no way to hide it.
"I think Senator Daschle rightly is going to have to answer questions, but I think members will be satisfied with the answers that he gives and will understand that he’s the right man for the job."
Why will members be satisfied with the answers? Because there's always an exception whenever we really, really want there to be an exception? Do you think Gibbs is a good enough bullshitter to be press secretary? It's not a stand-up comedy slot.

"Think about it—your own mom? Looking for sex? Disgusting!"

Did I ever tell you about the time The Onion — intentionally (don't ask how I know) — used my name but — unintentionally — got my name wrong?

Hummer drivers get the most tickets because driving a Hummer gives you the attitude that makes you drive the way that deserves tickets.

Those arrogant bastards. Or is it that the cops perceive them as arrogant bastards?

***

I see that the lefty blog Crooks and Liars links to this story. It reprints a big block of text under the stock wisecrack "Well, color me surprised." It's not the whole text of the article though. It's cut off after a set of quotes about how the kind of people who drive Hummers must be the kind of people who flout the law. Readers who don't click through don't see the complicating material: The cars that get the second and third most tickets — Scion tC and xB — are small. And though a Chevy Tahoe is nearly the same car as the Hummer, Tahoe drivers get less than the average number of tickets. Crooks and Liars also elides:
[A]re Hummer drivers being persecuted by state troopers?
I'll bet if the news story was about police disproportionately ticketing some category of driver the Crooks and Liars liked instead of hated, doubts about police behavior would have been the main point of the post.

I scanned the 118 comments to see if anyone brought up the skepticism about cops I would normally — but not now — expect to find on a lefty blog. But no. They devolve into denouncement of the "the modern day red-neck pig" — where pig ≠ cop — and theories about the penis.