April 25, 2009

"Okay, so maybe the Baby Shaker iPhone app was a bad idea."

Uh, yeah.

"I was already 50 years old. I had done so much off-Broadway, on Broadway, but they said, 'Who is that girl? Let's give her her own series.'"

The "girl" was Bea Arthur. The show was "Maude."

Bea Arthur, dead at 86.

This is probably the most famous clip from the show: Maude thinking about getting an abortion.



Added personal note: I saw Bea Arthur on Broadway in the 1960s in "Mame." I remember her sitting on a big crescent moon singing "The Man in the Moon Is a Miss." Here she is reminiscing about that scene and performing the song. [CORRECTION: Bea was singing the song, and Angela Lansbury was sitting on the moon. Sorry. It was 40 years ago. I really did see it though.]

And more generally, "everybody today is turning on":



TV in the 70s. Bizarre. That's Rock Hudson with the mustache.

Former CIA director Porter Goss cannot believe the way members of Congress are pretending they don't remember briefings on enhanced interrogation.

It's blatant political posturing — and it has hurt our national security:
They did not vote to stop authorizing CIA funding. And for those who now reveal filed "memorandums for the record" suggesting concern, real concern should have been expressed immediately... and not quietly filed away in case the day came when the political winds shifted. And shifted they have.

... The CIA has been pulled into the center ring before. The result this time will be the same: a hollowed-out service of diminished capabilities. After Sept. 11, the general outcry was, "Why don't we have better overseas capabilities?" I fear that in the years to come this refrain will be heard again: once a threat -- or God forbid, another successful attack -- captures our attention and sends the pendulum swinging back. There is only one person who can shut down this dangerous show: President Obama.

At the Cherry Café.

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Talk about anything.

MeinSpace.

Bruno.

ALSO: The poster.

"What would you say are the elements of personal charm? What resources would you recommend for someone seeking to be charming?"

An earnest question.

"I've heard him express regret at the contents of the memo."

"I've heard him express regret that the memo was misused. I've heard him express regret at the lack of context -- of the enormous pressure and the enormous time pressure that he was under. And anyone would have regrets simply because of the notoriety."

Jay S. Bybee regrets.

"On the side streets, I come across the occasional small hut selling the basics that I knew from childhood: sorrel for soup, flowers, pickles..."

"... and sauerkraut with grated carrot. And young beet leaves for spring borstch."

Nina travels 20 hours to weekend in Warsaw — attending a wedding — and has lots of pictures and inside insights.

"She tried to be chipper, and when they asked her age, she did this little shimmy" — because she was on TV.

"We could see that Susan Boyle thought "you’re supposed to be kind of sexy and personable, and she got it wrong... Nothing sort of triggers our contempt more than something trying to be acceptable and then failing."

Consider the brain and its stereotypes:
On a very basic level, judging people by appearance means putting them quickly into impersonal categories, much like deciding whether an animal is a dog or a cat. “Stereotypes are seen as a necessary mechanism for making sense of information,” said David Amodio, an assistant professor of psychology at New York University....

Eons ago, this capability was of life-and-death importance, and humans developed the ability to gauge other people within seconds....

One reason our brains persist in using stereotypes, experts say, is that often they give us broadly accurate information, even if all the details don’t line up. Ms. Boyle’s looks, for example, accurately telegraphed much about her biography, including her socioeconomic level and lack of worldly experience.

Her behavior on stage reinforced an outsider image. David Berreby, author of “Us and Them,” about why people categorize one another, said the TV audience may have also judged her harshly because, in banter with the judges before singing, she appeared to be trying, awkwardly, to fit in....

[John F. Dovidio, a psychology professor at Yale] said that encountering discrepancies to stereotypes probably “creates a sort of autonomic arousal” in our peripheral nervous system, triggering spikes of cortisol and other indicators of stress. “That autonomic arousal is going to motivate us to do something in that situation,” he said, especially if the situation is dangerous.
But we're not out on the savannah in evolutionary times. We're sitting at home on our comfy sofas, experiencing the thrill that was once danger.

Life in southern Ohio.

The cherry trees are blooming:

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The robin eggs are cracking:

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And the blogger finds a place beside a window overlooking the meadow:

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"Founding Bloggers' incorporation of the CNN footage was clearly for the purpose of criticizing and commenting on Roesgen's reporting..."

"... which has come under heavy fire in the conservative blogosphere (and even from a former CNN reporter) for her hostile interactions with tea-partiers."

Ah! A perfect copyright vs. fair use fight. Go to the link for a crisp, clear explanation of the law and the DMCA procedures.

And let's all enjoy the CNN-embarrassing video one more time:



(Via Instapundit.)

An essay about how when you're reading a Kindle in public, people don't see what book you're reading.

The idea is: you won't like a Kindle if you're one of those people who read books in public with the cover up in a position for strangers to admire.

Are there really still people like that? Are you one of them? Were you ever? Have you ever approached a stranger and initiated a conversation because you noticed the book he (or she) was reading?

What book titles would most rouse you to talk to a stranger? And if people don't go up and talk to strangers because of the book they are reading in public, with the cover up where you can see it, then what do we have? Lonely readers forever nursing the hope that someone will appreciate their intelligence, sensitivity, and taste! What are the lonely readers reading that reinforces such unlikely patterns of hope?

Ironically, if you are out in public with a Kindle, lots of people will come over and talk to you about it —
Hey, is that a Kindle 2? What do you read on that thing? Are you some kind of voracious reader or something?

Just keeping up with the blogs. Have to read the blogs...
Romance ensues.

Carcass disposal in Europe. Feed the starving vultures.

"Environmentalists describe the birds as 'nature's cleaners.' But many vultures have been starving to death since European rules aimed at tackling mad cow disease forced all dead livestock to [be] cleared away. This forced the birds to embark on some rather long-haul trips - one was even spotted recently perched on top of a bus shelter in Brussels."

Oh! A vulture on a bus shelter in Brussels! Well, then, screw the human beings and their fussy worries about the spongiform degeneration of their brains.

April 24, 2009

I reorient myself with respect to the dog.

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I'm pretty low-energy today, but I do shift position from time to time.

"In the third stage, acclaim soars right up to the Cat Calendar Tolerance Level...."

A graph of our feelings about Susan Boyle.

(Via Throwing Things.)

Picnic with dog and iPhone.

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Jane Hamsher, get out your pitchfork.

He's done what she said would drive her to extremes.
President Obama rebuffed calls for a commission to investigate alleged abuses under the Bush administration in fighting terrorism, telling congressional leaders at a White House meeting yesterday that he wants to look forward instead of litigating the past.
That's what I told Jane he should do.

When Obama decided to release the CIA interrogation memos.

WaPo reports:
Seated in Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's West Wing office with about a dozen of his political, legal and security appointees, Obama requested a mini-debate in which one official was chosen to argue for releasing the memos and another was assigned to argue against doing so. When it ended, Obama dictated on the spot a draft of his announcement that the documents would be released, while most of the officials watched, according to an official who was present. The disclosure happened the next day.
Watched calmly? Watched with dismay? Surely the source characterized the mood. I'd like to know.
Obama's aides have told political allies that the last-minute conversation, which ended around 9:30 p.m., demonstrated the president's commitment to airing both sides of a debate that was particularly contentious. But it also reflected widespread angst inside the White House that a public airing and repudiation of the harsh interrogation techniques that the last administration sought to keep secret would spark a national security debate with conservatives that could undermine Obama's broader agenda....
This suggests that the argument for withholding the memos was political, but wasn't the argument for releasing them also political?
Several Obama aides said the president's decision was in line with his frequent criticism during the campaign of President George W. Bush's policies on interrogations at secret prisons. On his second day in office, Obama banned the prisons and the tactics in an executive order.

The aides also said they hope the memos' release will focus public attention on the coldness and sterility of the legal justifications for abusive techniques, with Obama telling reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday that the documents demonstrate that the nation lost its "moral bearings" in the Bush years.
Legal analysis tends to look cool and analytical. Yes, you can say that's cold and sterile. Would the people be less roused by memos that were contaminated with nonlegal considerations and overflowing with passion. It's a lawyer's argument — and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and White House counsel Gregory B. Craig were in favor of releasing the memos — to say that some legal analysis they don't like is cold and sterile. Don't ordinary people expect legal analysis to look legal?

A visit to the Supreme Court, etc.

In pictures.

April 23, 2009

U.S. News thoughtfully ranks the law schools for your edification and convenience.

Thanks, U.S. News!

"It seems to me that if I say a whole system must be upset for me to win..."

"... I am saying that I cannot sit in the game, and that safer rules must be made to give me a chance. I repudiate that. If others are in there, deal me a hand and let me see what I can make of it."

John McWorter quotes Zora Neale Hurston and W.E.B. Du Bois — "I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not" — to side with the plaintiffs in Ricci v. DeStefano:
[T]he International Association of Professional Black Firefighters tells us, "Cognitive examinations have an adverse effect upon blacks and other minorities." Du Bois crowed, "Fifty years ago the ability of Negro students in any appreciable numbers to master a modern college course would have been difficult to prove," and proudly documents 2,500 black college graduates. Imagine Du Bois listening to a rep from the black firefighters' association now sneering that the promotion test merely measures "the ability to read and retain"--i.e. engage in higher-level thinking processes! O tempora, o mores.

This will not do: People like Du Bois did not dedicate their lives to paving the way for black people to be exempt from tests. Sure, the tests may not correlate perfectly with firefighters' duties. But which falls more into the spirit of black uplift that you could explain to a foreigner in less than three minutes: teaching black candidates how to show what they are made of despite obstacles, or banning a test of mental agility as inappropriate to impose on black candidates?

"Hey, Matt. Sure is a gorgeous day to get drunk and throw beanbags back and forth on the front sidewalk for 11 hours!"

Matt thinks: "Someday, I’ll eat pancakes on your grave."

Challenging the line between art and commerce is cute until it's not cute.

"The point of installing a boutique inside the 'Copyright Murakami' exhibition at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary building was to highlight the Japanese pop artist's trademark blurring of the lines between art and commerce, MOCA officials said at the time of the 2007-08 show. But [Clint] Arthur contends that selling repurposed handbag material as 500 collectible art prints priced at $6,000 and $10,000 crossed the line from commerce to fraud because Louis Vuitton allegedly hid the fact that the prints were made from the same fabric sheets as the Murakami-designed bags and accessories selling nearby for almost $1,000."

Now, try keeping the line between art and law. It's very hard!

Was the city required to take race into account and not to take race into account?

Adam Liptak summarizes yesterday's Supreme Court argument in Ricci v. DeStefano, an important affirmative action case:
The case, brought by white firefighters in New Haven who were denied promotions after an examination yielded no black firefighters eligible for advancement, featured claims of race discrimination on both sides. It was, Justice David H. Souter said, a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.”

Had the city allowed the promotional exam to stand, Justice Souter said, it would have faced a lawsuit from black firefighters. When it threw out the test, promoting no one, it was sued by 18 white firefighters, one of them Hispanic, who claimed race discrimination.

The city said that throwing out a flawed test was a racially neutral act. Because no one was promoted, the city said, no one was singled out on the basis of race. But Justice Antonin Scalia was having none of that.

“It’s neutral because you throw it out for the losers as well as for the winners?” he asked. “That’s neutrality?”...

The city “looked at the results, and it classified the successful and unsuccessful applicants by race,” Justice Kennedy said to Edwin S. Kneedler, who represented the federal government. “And then you want us to say this isn’t race? I have trouble with this argument.”...

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. [asked] the lawyer for New Haven, Christopher J. Meade. “Why is this not intentional discrimination?” Chief Justice Roberts asked. “There are particular individuals here,” he continued, “and they say they didn’t get their jobs because of intentional racial action by the city.”

Mr. Meade said the city should be afforded protection because it was trying to comply with a federal law.
Read the whole thing. This is genuinely a complicated problem, as the Breyer hypotheticals at the end of the article demonstrate.

"Gum may be good for body, mind."

"Chewing gum is an easy tool students can use for a potential academic edge."

Potential, kids. It's all about potential. I hope you've chewed enough gum to notice that "potential," in that construction, refers to how it's only just a possibility that gum might make you a bigger, better, stronger, sharper person.

Research funded by the Wrigley Science Institute.

"Hold Tight" — a flashback.

How many of you, when you read the expression "hold tight" in the last post, flashed back immediately to Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich?



Ha ha. I'm so stuck in the 60s!
Hold tight, count to three,
Gotta stay close by me
And hold tight, sing and shout
Just ride my round-about
And hold tight, shut your eyes, girl,
You suit me for size.
Forget the other guys.
You'll never fall each time you call.
Hold tight, hold tight, hold tight.

7 a.m., Madison.

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Yes. Yes. Where is the blogging... the substance of the day... the news? Hold tight. It's coming.

6 a.m., Madison.

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April 22, 2009

"Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. questioned Meade skeptically..."

A line from a news article made me laugh.

But now, really, I must get serious and read the whole transcript of today's argument in Ricci v. DeStefano. Here's the PDF. I'll have something more soon.

Noon, 50°, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Why so few sun baskers? And why are they male? I think the ground is soggy from yesterday's rain. That's all.

"Madison gun owner Auric Gold said he often carries a handgun in a holster while walking in his east side neighborhood..."

"... a right that attorney general J.B. Van Hollen affirmed in a memorandum to prosecutors on Monday. Van Hollen said it's legal to openly carry a gun on the street in Wisconsin and advised prosecutors that merely having a gun doesn't, by itself, warrant a disorderly conduct charge."

It's like a Western movie up here. Can you really just swagger around the sidewalks of Madison and Milwaukee with a gun in a holster? In your hand?
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said he'll continue to tell officers they can't assume people are carrying guns legally in a city that has seen nearly 200 homicides in the past two years.

"My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we'll put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it," Flynn said. "Maybe I'll end up with a protest of cowboys. In the meantime, I've got serious offenders with access to handguns. It's irresponsible to send a message to them that if they just carry it openly no one can bother them."
Today, tea parties. Tomorrow, a protest of cowboys.

AND: Glenn Reynolds says:
So if you see Police Chief Ed Flynn, put him on the ground, take his wallet away, and then decide whether he’s accepted any bribes that day. If, after doing that, you think the money’s his, give his wallet back. Who cares what the law says? It’s the Milwaukee Way!
Also, in the comments, Sigivald says:
A gun in your hand is likely to be brandishing.

"Earthquake Warning Has Oregon on Its Toes."

Headline.

I didn't even know Earthquake Warning had toes. But that's got to hurt. Oregon is heavy.

"When [Randy] Jackson (who’s been married since 1995) learned [Condoleezza] Rice wanted to meet him..."

"... 'he was sort of mystified ... but he went.'"

Jeffrey Rosen on the two important race cases that will be argued in the Supreme Court in the next few days.

Northwest Austin Utility District v. Holder and Ricci v. DeStefano:
[Northwest Austin Utility District v. Holder] challenges Congress's reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006... But... Congress didn't engage in a serious empirical comparison of voting patterns in the areas of the country that are and aren't covered by the Voting Rights Act. The civil rights establishment was intent on preserving the status quo, which has led to the election of some African Americans in the South at the expense of the Democratic party as a whole; and ... neither Republicans nor Democrats were willing to acknowledge the evidence suggesting that discriminatory barriers to ballot access today, unlike the '60s, seem to be very rare....

[Ricci v. DeStefano is] the most controversial affirmative action case of the term, involving the promotion of firefighters in New Haven. In 2003, the city administered a promotion test. The test was validated by independent experts, as federal law requires, to ensure that it focused on job-related skills rather than purely cognitive ones. But, after the test was administered, none of the top-scoring candidates for 15 positions turned out to be African American. (Fourteen were white, and one was Hispanic.) ... [T]he city refused to certify the exam and promoted no one. The city was then sued by 19 white firefighters (and one Hispanic) led by Frank Ricci, a sympathetic 34-year-old white man. Ricci, who is dyslexic, spent more than $1,000 buying the study guides recommended by the city and paying an acquaintance to record them as audiotapes, which he listened to as he drove to and from work.

The Ricci case is a nightmare for moderate liberal supporters of affirmative action, because it presents the least sympathetic facts imaginable. The Supreme Court has said repeatedly that affirmative action is most troubling when its burdens are concentrated on a few innocent white people rather than being widely dispersed among a large group of white and black applicants....

If the Supreme Court strikes down part of the Voting Rights Act and the New Haven affirmative action program, [it] would force Obama to articulate a moderate, middle-of-the-road position on race that is rooted in empirical evidence rather than ideology....

With all the other problems facing the country--from the economy to the war on terrorism--Obama has no incentive to take on liberal racialists who believe we've made little progress on race since the 1960s or conservative color-blind partisans who insist that anti-discrimination laws are no longer necessary. But everything in Obama's background suggests that he has the inclination and ability to help the country transcend the extremes that have defined our racial politics for too long.
I added the boldface.

"Job Anxiety Grips Graduating Law School Students."

Harrowing.

"And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear... Or not my underwear."

"Whatever. Whatever. I was the one who did it? I don't know. I mean, I don't think it's beyond human experience, not beyond human experience."

Yesterday, Justice Breyer talked about his underpants.

(PDF.)

IN THE COMMENTS: Daryl says:
The crazy fact is, about 40% of the Supreme Court's civil rights cases turn on the personal experiences of the judges.

"I never did that. So why does anyone else need the right to do that?"

Or, in this case, "they'd better strip search those kids. I smuggled Ibuprofen into school twice a week in my Superman underoos."

"This guy is the embittered Dr Bronner of the west coast soft-drink trade."

Cory Doctorow encounters a lemonade label.

Of the war... it lies red....

Origins of the state names, nicely charted here. The post title refers to Delaware and Wisconsin, my original and current home states.

There are some great state names and some not-so-great ones. I plan to list the state names from best to worst. I'm not quite ready. I seek your input. But I have developed some principles:

1. I strongly approve of the use of words from Indian languages. I suspect all the best names will fit this category: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas...

2. The names of Spanish derivation are all good: California, Colorado, Florida, Montana, and Nevada. Except for California, it's pretty easy to see what they refer to. Vermont works the same way with French. (It means green mountain.) This is an okay approach to naming.

3. I celebrate the 4-letter names: Iowa, Utah, and Ohio. All 3 are also from the Indian language and therefore belong at or near the top of the list. There are also 2 great 5-letter names: Idaho and Texas. And then there's Maine.

4. Anything with "New" that looks back to the old country is pathetic.

5. Points off for including a compass point. "Dakota" is a great name, but one of the Dakotas should have consulted the Sioux dictionary for another suitable — siouxtable — word. Don't the both of you be grabbing at the same word.

6. Naming the state after an American President, done exactly once, was not a very good idea, because it's unAmerican to adulate Presidents and because we already had the national capital named after that President, so it created unnecessary confusion and required us to say "D.C." all the time, which isn't amusing at all.

7. I deplore references to English or French royalty, even when these are processed away from the original name — like Virginia and Carolina — and not embarrassingly plain — like Louisiana, Maryland, and Georgia.

8. References to other English celebrities is stupid but that stupidity may be canceled out by the contribution the character actually made in America or by the coolness of the resulting word. There are only 2 names in this category, and I think I've just given both of them a pass.

"Good morning. I forget whether I'm supposed to wish you a 'Happy Earth Day' or a 'Happy Lenin's Birthday.' Oh, wait. It's both."

A Corner classic.

"Drudge fears the media, which for some reason want to know things about the man who basically decides what will be on cable television every night."

Where's Drudge?

There's the theory that he's hiding a private life that some people disapprove of. Some say Rush Limbaugh — of all people — told him to lie low. Right wingers supposedly protecting other right wingers from getting caught doing things that right wingers supposedly loathe.

Lefties love to think the righties they can't tolerate are intolerant.

ADDED: Here's the Gabriel Sherman article in TNR:
What is driving Drudge to seclusion? Those who know him say that part of the reason he has disappeared from public view is that he is so bothered by the media's prurient interest in his personal life...

Perhaps Limbaugh... was trying to protect a fellow conservative from attack by the left. Or maybe he simply grasped something that now appears very obvious: Matt Drudge owes his power in part to the air of mystery that surrounds him.

Obsessively following Twitter.

Elsewhere in the NYT, there's a whole big story about a woman who tweets other people's recipes. It's a challenge translating the directions into 140 characters. It's also a challenge translating them out of 140 characters if you actually want to use them.

***

Remember when you borrowed the notes of a classmate who had a penchant for compression? Or were you the one who always went to class and then did you deliberately compress, compress like mad — with lots of idiosyncratic abbreviations — so you could say I don't think these notes are comprehensible to anyone but me? Did they insist on borrowing your notes anyway? (Remember how nerve-wracking that was back in the days when it meant handing over your precious spiral notebook?)

***

Questions:

1. Tightly compressed writing. Good or bad?

2. New York Times constantly writing about Twitter. Good or bad? If bad: bad because they need to keep being obsessed with blogging?

3. Class notes. Were you the one who wanted to borrow or the one pressed to share? Did you?

4. Blogging: Compress more or go ahead and expand? (No one stopping you.)

5. Blogging: One topic per post or mix it up?

6. Bloggers: Annoying or cool? Cooler/more annoying than Twitterers?

"Is there any thought that doesn’t need to be published?"/"The one I’m thinking right now."

Maureen Dowd interviews the Twitter founders, Biz Stone and Evan Williams.
ME: I heard about a woman who tweeted her father’s funeral. Whatever happened to private pain?

EVAN: I have private pain every day.
And he's thinking what a private pain Dowd is and not publishing that thought.
ME: If you were out with a girl and she started twittering about it in the middle, would that be a deal-breaker or a turn-on?

BIZ (dryly): In the middle of what?

ME: Do you ever think “I don’t care that my friend is having a hamburger?”

BIZ: If I said I was eating a hamburger, Evan would be surprised because I’m a vegan.
See how good he is at keeping it short?

April 21, 2009

How insanely wrong is Mark Penn about all the money there is to be made in blogging?

If he's not wrong, I feel like a fool.

"I'm going to stop this car right now and leave you here!''

What happens when a mother really follows through on that? And she's a NYC law firm partner...

The nightmarish embarrassment of Madlyn Primoff.

When school officials strip search a 13-year-old girl who they think might have some extra-strength ibuprofen...

The Supreme Court heard argument today in Safford School District vs. Redding, and the Justices seemed pretty sympathetic to the school:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the school officials should be shielded from being sued since the law governing school searches had not been clear...

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy... objected when Adam Wolf, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer for Redding, argued that the strip search was unreasonable because there was no evidence she was hiding anything in her underwear.

"Is the nature of drug irrelevant?" he asked. "What if it was meth to be consumed at noon?"...

It is "a logical thing" for adolescents to hide things, [Justice Breyer] said. A student might stick something "in their underwear," he added, provoking laughter when he said that this had happened to him at school. "It's not beyond human experience."...

"Better embarrassment [of one student] than the risk of violent sickness and death," Souter said.

The pirate smiles the fabulous smile of celebrity.


Enlarge.

Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse, thinking I'm a big star in America now.

UPDATE: The pirate cries.

The high-tech long-distance relationship.

"While lying on their beds miles away from each other, the couples wear touch-activated rings visible to a camera mounted above them. A computer vision system tracks the movement of the ring as one of the device's users passes it across their own body, or bed. At the same time these strokes are transmitted to and projected in beams of light on the body of their partner. The lines change colour if they cross."

Susan Boyle needs a makeover, not "an 'Extreme Makeover,' but rather the Tim Gunn or What Not to Wear' version."

Says Robin Givhan:
Those are the kind of transformations in which the recipients spend a little time figuring out precisely why they've been squeamish about trying to achieve their personal best. Just before her triumphant performance on "Britain's Got Talent," Boyle said she wanted to be a professional singer, but no one had ever given her the chance. It was a reasonable comment, but it also had the ring of passivity to it. What held Boyle back for so long?...

The tale of Susan Boyle will not be complete until the shy spinster blossoms. Those who have been entranced by her story so far should let Boyle's fairy godmother finish her work.
Yeah. The idea of keeping her in her original state is sentimental and selfish. Is she supposed to bolster your self esteem? One of her attributes is that she's never been kissed. (She's 47.) Should she retain her virginity along with her bushy eyebrows so that TV viewers can feel warm and squishy?

***

Here's an article about Stacy London of "What Not to Wear." She's Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar with degrees in 20th-century philosophy and German literature, and she's been skinny (90 pounds) and fat (180) — so presumably she's knows what she's talking about when she tells less-than-perfect women to cast aside their slovenly comfy clothes and show off their curves.
The point of the show, she says, is to help people "find perfection in their imperfection." That means helping them really see the image they're projecting to the world -- which can be painful. "You have to see it clearly," London argues, "so you know what you're working with, what to emphasize, what to camouflage." Helping makeover subjects see themselves that clearly sometimes requires tough talk. "People think we're being mean," she says. "But we're helping take down barriers."

"As was the case with Chavez's tendentious present, Ortega's speech was intended as a slap."

"Obama was correct not to walk out on the speech. But... [w]hen Obama spoke later, he should have prefaced his promising call for an 'equal partnership' with other countries in the hemisphere with some strong pushback against those who would rather relive the insults of the past than move forward."

Says Eugene Robinson (who just won a Pulitzer Prize).

Yes. As in his campaign, Obama is very bland. For some reason — possibly vaguely racist — American liked the bland. But at some point, bland is not what you want.

"The thrifty measures Obama ordered for federal agencies are the equivalent of asking a family that spends $60,000 in a year to save $6."

Ouch.

"Judge rules former President Bush can be deposed."

A headline that seemed odd but wasn't meant to be odd.

April 20, 2009

The Succulent Café.

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Say something juicy. Something tender.

U.S. News leakage.

The new law school rankings. Weep, celebrate... whatever.

"Comic Sans walks into a bar, bartender says, 'We don't serve your type.'"

Hating the font.

"You can hold back from the suffering of the world. You have free permission to do so and it is in accordance with your nature."

"But perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could have avoided."

Hey, RLC is blogging again.

Beginning — after 2 years of holding back — with that Kafka quote.

Is there a free speech right to sell and to own graphic videos of dogs fighting?

Congress made it a crime, and the Third Circuit said it violated the First Amendment. Today, the Supreme Court took cert.
In nullifying the law, the Circuit Court refused to create a new exception to the First Amendment to apply to portrayals of animal cruelty. It noted that the Supreme Court “last declared an entire category of speech unprotected” by the Amendment in 1982 (in New York v. Ferber, involving child pornography). The Circuit Court rejected a government argument that the depiction of animal cruelty was analogous to the depiction of child pornography.

[T]he Justice Department argued that the 1999 law is narrow in scope, applying only to a “particularly harmful class of speech,” only when that is done for commercial gain, and only when the particular depiction has “no serious societal value.”
Protected speech?

WaPo commenters lame, thinks Dana Milbank.

"On Tuesday, I learned that I am a right-wing hack. I am not a journalist. I am typical of the right wing. I am why newspapers are going broke. I write garbage. I am angry with Barack Obama. I misquote Obama. I am bitter. I am a certified idiot. I am lame. I am a Republican flack. On Thursday, I realized that I am a media pimp with my lips on Obama's butt. I am a bleeding-heart liberal who wants nothing more than for the right to fall on its face. I am part of the ObamaMedia. I am pimping for the left. I am carrying water for Obama. Lord, am I an idiot."

"1970s lifestyle 'protects planet.'"

A headline.

Obama: "Well I think it was a nice gesture [for Hugo Chavez] to give me a book. I'm a reader."

What was the book? "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent."

IN THE COMMENTS: Palladian said:
I wonder if Hugo gave Obama a copy of his other favorite book?

Good thing some bloggers read the memo.

The NYT reports under the headline "Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects":
A footnote to another 2005 Justice Department memo released Thursday said waterboarding was used both more frequently and with a greater volume of water than the C.I.A. rules permitted.

The new information on the number of waterboarding episodes came out over the weekend when a number of bloggers, including Marcy Wheeler of the blog emptywheel, discovered it in the May 30, 2005, [Justice Department] memo.

It seems to me that the mainstream press should have found everything significant in the memos within a few hours. Why is some blogger the one to discover something days later?

Want to switch careers...

... and become a teacher?

"The child is special now. This is NOT an ordinary child. This is an Oscar child!"

$300,000 to buy the young "Slumdog Millionaire" actress.

ADDED: "They tricked us into this fakery but we came out unscathed."

April 19, 2009

At the Double Image Café....

IMG_0451

... you can take a different view of things.

IN THE COMMENTS: Jason and Andy reference this:

"'Put your hand on it, you can feel the heat they make. They're all in a big mound right now on top,' said Althouse."

"A sheet of newspaper separated Maya Althouse's hand from 3 pounds of bees — totaling somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 stingers.... In November, the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association named her the 2009 Pennsylvania State Honey Queen."

"Koh's writings—especially when exaggerated—will add to charges from the right that Obama is a closet socialist."

Stuart Taylor Jr. and Evan Thomas examine Harold Hongju Koh, Obama's choice for the top legal adviser to the State Department.

Excerpt:
Koh argues that American law should reflect "transnational" legal values—and that in an interconnected world it inevitably does to some extent already. In his writings, Koh has campaigned to expand some rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution—and perhaps shrink some others, including the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech—to better conform to the laws of other nations. He has, for instance, pushed for a more expansive view of what constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Eighth Amendment. Koh's views are in tune with—if bolder than—those of a majority of the Supreme Court on some issues....

Were his writings to become policy, judges might have the power to use debatable interpretations of treaties and "customary international law" to override a wide array of federal and state laws affecting matters as disparate as the redistribution of wealth and prostitution. He has campaigned to write into U.S. law the United Nations "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women," signed by President Carter in 1980 but never ratified by Congress. A U.N. committee supervising the treaty's implementation has called for the "decriminalizing of prostitution" in China, the legalization of abortion in Colombia, and the abolition of Mother's Day in Belarus (for "encouraging woman's traditional roles"). In 2002 Senate testimony, Koh stressed that these reports are not binding law, and he dismissed as "preposterous" the notion that the treaty would "somehow require the United States to abolish Mother's Day." Still, the reports are very much part of the "transnational" legal process that Koh celebrates.

"Obama held his tongue when asked what he thought about Ortega's speech. 'It was 50 minutes long. That's what I thought.'"

"President Obama endured a 50-minute diatribe from socialist Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega that lashed out at a century of what he called terroristic U.S. aggression in Central America and included a rambling denunciation of the U.S.-imposed isolation of Cuba's Communist government. Obama sat mostly unmoved during the speech but at times jotted notes" [writes Major Garrett at FOXNews.com.]

Notes, eh?
America responsible for evils of world.

Ortega angry.

I'm bored.

Communism... good for Cuba? Wd b much more successful if not for U.S. evil.

Racism

expansionist policy of U.S.

Look serious. Pretend these are real notes. Listen thoughtfully.

Sandinistas... Contras... check info

Look thoughtful

He can't blame me. I was 3.

When is this idiot going to shut up?

Boooorrrrringggg
ADDED: Actually, Obama said "I'm grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old." That rhetoric sounded familiar. Remember this?



IN THE COMMENTS: Maguro said:
Not sure why he needed to take notes since he listened to the same sermon at Trinity Church for 20 years. You'd think he'd have it memorized by now.

"Someone's knocking at the door. Somebody's ringing the bell. Do me a favor. Open the door. Let 'em in.

That's the entirety of the lyrics to the cute little Paul McCartney song "Let 'Em In," from the 1976 album "Wings at the Speed of Sound."

Please familiarize yourself with the original recording.

Now, you are prepared to view the song and dance interpretation from the 1976 Miss America contest — with Bert Parks and 3 male dancers:



***

What long and winding road led me to that door? Back in last night's "rare opportunity" thread, I wrote:
Being tried for murder is a rare opportunity, as is ending your life in the electric chair.
Meade said:
I once had the rare opportunity to become King of England but I turned it down.

I chose romantic love instead.

Then Hollywood called and I said "no." At the time, keeping my private life private seemed like a rare opportunity I didn't want to give up.

Oh, I almost forgot - then I was asked to run for Vice President but I decided I wanted to spend more time with my family.

In hindsight, I'm glad I turned down that king gig. The pay wasn't all THAT great.
Then Lem said:
Good call Meade.

Greetings from Julio "If love calls on your door"

If love calls your door
let it find it always open
never close it, let'm in ...

Open up, don't get distracted
don't let'm go, dont miss it
you don't know when it will call again ...

If love calls your door
let it find it always open
tomorrow is another day, it's God's will ...

Let love be welcome
Today I will stay with you
For a Gifted night without end ...

I want to be more than your friend
it is all I ask
and that you give me a chance.

(painstaking translation by Lem)
"Gifted" — like "God" — is capitalized in Lem's view, and I accept that.

The open door... someone's knocking at the door...

If you'd left that door open somebody wouldn't have had to ring the bell. Maybe you just leave that door wide open — and let love walk in — but at least answer it. Maybe check the peephole first.