October 10, 2009

In the NYT.

Here.

"Possibly not since Renaissance Italy has there been such a gathering of creative minds in one locale as there has been in Los Angeles County during the past half century."

"While enriching the community with their presence, they have brought with them the manners and mores of their native lands which in rare instances have been at variance with those of their adoptive land."

Bilge from the probation report for Roman Polanski, written in 1977, when, the NYT writes, the cultural climate was much warmer toward moviemen and their interest in young girls.

The view from my sofa.

photo

"No serious leader in Kabul is asking us to leave. Instead we are being asked to withdraw by American leaders who begin their analysis with the presumption that victory is not possible."

"They seem to want to ensure defeat by leaving at the very moment when our military leader on the ground has laid out a coherent and compelling strategy for victory. When it comes to foreign policy, almost nothing matters more then your friends and your enemies knowing you will keep your word and follow through on your commitments. This is the real test of presidential leadership. I hope that President Obama—soon to be a Nobel laureate—passes with flying colors."

Bob Kerrey.

"The minutiae of legal drafting is not necessarily related to understanding the concepts in the bill."

It would be perfectly easy to put the health care bill up on the internet, but we can't have you reading the legislation. Please accept our representations about what's generally in it. Why don't you just think of it as the Fix the Problems bill and leave the complicated stuff to the experts. Mmmkay?

"Why do they give Peace Prizes to pussies?"



(Via Insty.)

You can't arrest me. I'm naked!

The news from Sheboygan:
The criminal complaint alleges [Julia E. Laack, 36] stole a bag of beef jerky and a lighter at a convenience store Thursday afternoon. Police went to her home. The complaint said she refused to come to the door and began screaming and swearing at three children in her house, telling one that the incident was all his fault.
Police entered and tried to calm her down. With her children present, the complaint said, she stripped to her underwear and told the officers they couldn't arrest her because she would be naked.
Laack struggled with the officers as they tried to arrest her, the complaint alleged, kicking one in the groin and spitting in the mouth of another.

While in the squad car on the way to the police station, the complaint said, Laack exposed her buttocks against the rear window.

The brochure said you'd move beyond "self-imposed and conditioned borders" and "learn (and apply) the awesome power of 'integrity of action.'"

And was that really puffery? What was delivered was... death!
Shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, a man and a woman, reportedly in their 50s, lapsed into unconsciousness during a simulated Native American sweat-lodge purification ceremony led by a self-help guru and inspirational speaker at a Sedona retreat. They were pronounced dead at Verde Valley Medical Center, and 19 others were hospitalized for as-yet-undetermined causes....
64 people were taking part in the sweat-lodge ceremony, which lasted about two hours and was being hosted by James Arthur Ray, an author and spiritual self-help entrepreneur....
The victims were attending the ceremony during the final day of a five-day program called "Spiritual Warrior," which Ray has conducted at the resort annually since 2003. Ray's Web site lists the cost for next year's program at $9,695 per person.
This all happened in Sedona, which the linked newspaper article calls "an international mecca for New Age beliefs and purportedly the site of numerous 'vortexes,' or natural energy confluences thought to enhance spirituality and well-being."

It seems to be a money vortex. $9,000+ to be packed into a very hot stuffy room with 63 other people who saw fit to pay $9,000 for such abuse — rendered subjectively beautiful via soppy thoughts about "Native Americans."

At the Your Obsession Café...

DSC04537

... it's where you can go to talk about what's been on your mind, which, one hopes is neither Andrew Sullivan nor the Nobel Peace Prize.

I respond to those 2 posts Andrew Sullivan wrote about me yesterday.

In Sullivan's first post, he quotes me saying that if his blog had comments, it too would collect some homophobic comments, just as mine does. He called this "disingenuous," because his readers, according to his polls, have said they don't want comments. That's irrelevant. I'm not criticizing him for not having comments. I'm just saying that if he did have comments, some of them would be nasty.

He also accuses me of having comments so that I can get "vile ad hominem, anonymous hate-speech" which he thinks, I "rel[y] on for traffic." What proof does he have that that is my reason for having comments or that it helps my traffic? I'd be very surprised if the ugliest comments brought more traffic. I think they hurt traffic, so I certainly am not relying on them for traffic. I do think a vivid, flourishing comments section keeps readers coming back to this blog, but not because of the ugliness. I think that drives people away.

This is more serious:
[T]hese were not just homophobic comments. They were vicious personal attacks on a specific human being, using both my sexual orientation and my illness as targets.
But generic attacks on gay people as a group are much worse than attacks on a specific person who is a public figure, like Andrew Sullivan.  They are still mean, but they are more like the anti-Bush material that goes on about how he was an alcoholic or used cocaine or whatever. I'm not saying it's good, just that it's different from general bigotry. And I would like Andrew Sullivan to acknowledge that I have a good number of active commenters here who are gay men. (Lesbians too.) So there is plenty of pushback against homophobia, and anybody who hates gay people is not going to be happy in my comments section.

Sullivan goes on to criticize me for not deleting the comments that attacked him:
I am glad she does not deny that she engaged in this thread herself, and she did so long after many of the references to my HIV were published. It seems to me that if you are actually contributing to a comment thread, you tend to have read the thread leading up to that point.
Well, try it some time. There are hundreds of comments. I skim. I look for spam. I stop at the names of commenters I know and like. I have a free speech policy and ignore stuff that looks like low-quality junk. I have a lot of idiosyncratic strategies for getting through it all, and it's still a lot of work. I'm telling you: Your assumption is wrong.
So the idea she had no idea what was afoot is ludicrous.
I may know what's "afoot," but only in a vague way, and not oriented toward finding things to delete. My working strategy is not to delete. From that I have exceptions. One is to look closely if someone emails me and points to something specific. Sullivan never did me that behind-the-scenes courtesy. He just made a post attacking me — and reprinting the ugly stuff. If he really wanted it excised, he wouldn't have reprinted it. He wanted to expose it and air it out. And there you see the value of my non-deletion policy. The ugly stuff is self-destructing! It argues against itself. Why drive it underground? Why empower the haters by letting them see they got to you? They are their own worst enemies.
She has already accused me of being a racist, a heterophobe and a misogynist...
I appreciate those 2 links, because I wouldn't have remembered what I'd said. Go ahead and read those old posts of mine. I didn't generically call him a racist. I found racism in the way he talked about Bobby Jindal. As to heterophobia and misogyny.... well, frankly, I do think Sullivan has a problem with women. Does he ever write positively about women? For the most part, women barely exist in his world. And when one comes into prominence — notably Sarah Palin — he seems to feel a special antagonism.
[E]ven if everything Althouse says in her defense is true, it says a lot to me that she is unable even to offer a word of apology or regret, or to remove any of the vilest personal attacks in that thread. I offended her a while back with a post on her announcement that she was getting engaged to one of the commenters on her site... I subsequently apologized for any offense she subsequently felt.
Did he really apologize? I emailed him about his outrageous insult and he posted something, but it wasn't really to the point.  And anyway, "I subsequently apologized for any offense she subsequently felt"... that's what's called a nonapology. Okay, if it's really that easy then: Andrew, I am subsequently sorry if anything on my blog subsequently offended you.
I was too glib, and insensitive, but it's in a different universe from the hate speech she publishes.
It's different all right. The difference is, what was said about me, you wrote. I didn't write any of the the offensive comments. I just have an open forum and a free speech policy. To say I "published" it makes it sound as though I pre-screened it. Ironically, you published those comments. You chose to copy and paste them on your blog.
If Althouse had not partially built her traffic on this kind of stuff for years, and if she weren't a big blog, and a contributor to bloggingheads and other MSM outlets and a professor at a university, I'd let this slide as I usually do....
Since I didn't respond yesterday, he may have thought I was letting it slide, because he came up with this second post:
Just check out Ann Althouse's reaction to Garance Franke-Ruta's rather anodyne reference to Jessica Valenti breast controversy on bloggingheads....
Oh, for the love of God.
I have no idea what the reference is....
Don't worry. It has to do with breasts. It would only bore you.
... she threatens to hang up and tells Garance that she is involved in character assassination. But she is happy to post the vilest attacks on my being gay and having HIV and refuses to apologize.
Again, jeez, I don't post the comments! I have an open comments section and a policy against deletion. In the Bloggingheads, I was in a one-on-one conversation with someone who was quietly sticking a dagger in and I called her on it. Where is the contradiction? I don't like crap said about me — and believe me, the breast controversy was a shitstorm — and I completely understand that you don't like crap written about you. Do you realize that my free speech policy includes leaving hundreds of insults against me in my comments section?

Finally, Sullivan restates my asserted free-speech position and then quotes something I wrote in 2005, when I was annoyed by the trend in the comments and said "I'm adopting a new, more activist form of supervision." He then says:
Maybe I missed a post after that where she expressed her willingness not just to accept but to participate in threads that accuse an HIV-survivor of AIDS dementia because they disagree with him.
Let me use his word, "disingenuous." It's disingenuous to assume that a policy I stated 4 years ago is the policy I maintain and employ today. Obviously, it's not. Digging up the old defunct policy is a lame device that Sullivan is using to push the point he's been tying himself up in knots trying to make, that the insulting remarks came from me. They did not.

Why antagonize me over this? My inclination is to be sympathetic to anyone with an illness, and I like substantive argument (or funny snark) and not mean-spirited trash.

And, Andrew, if you ever want to go on Bloggingheads and talk about it one-on-one, let me know.

Am I really as interesting as Sarah Palin's womb?

Yesterday, in what I hope you appreciated as a gesture of bloggish artistry, I adhered to a day-long theme — President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. I therefore declined to jump to my own defense when Andrew Sullivan took a shot at me here. This morning, despite that first post, the theme is over. I go over to Sullivan's to find the post against which I know I need to defend myself. And what's this? He wrote 2 posts about me yesterday!

Am I really as interesting as Sarah Palin's womb?

Amusingly mean headline in the Daily News email gets me to click... over to a warm fuzzy place.



"GOP split on whether to cudgel Obama with Nobel Prize." The song that immediately played in my head was "Vicious, you hit me with a flower." That's enough of a hook for me to think something's bloggable, so I click....

And what the hell?



It's all rainbows and unicorns. Our sweet prezzident peeps at us through green and gold raindrops, under the sticky-sweet birthday-present headline: "Great Expectations: Nobel Peace Prize will be whatever President Barack Obama makes of it."

October 9, 2009

"We have to bow down to our President, Obama."

I say it:

It's the Bloggingheads Nobel Prizapalooza.

Ha ha ha ha. And you thought I had done enough with my all-Nobel-Prize-all-the-time blog theme of the day.



Enjoy!!!!

"George Bush liberates 50 million Muslims in Iraq, Reagan liberates hundreds of millions of Europeans and saves parts of Latin America. Any awards?"

"Gore, Carter, Obama, soon Bill Clinton. See a pattern here? They are all leftist sell-outs... Obama gives speeches trashing his own country and for that gets a prize...."

More from Rush Limbaugh.

Leave Bill Clinton alone. The poor guy. It must really hurt to have Gore and now Obama getting the prize and not him. It was just a blowjob. Don't they understand that in Europe at least? Or are they waiting for the day when they can give the prize to him and Hillary at the same time. And what about Hillary? Why must she too suffer, seeing Obama collect the prize — and overshadow her in foreign affairs — overshadow her by doing nothing. The indignity of it all!

Let's let Bill speak:

"Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo's birthday."

"Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up."

"How can he now send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan?"

Rush Limbaugh — just now — on the real reason why Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize. It's a "hand grenade that has been lobbed" into American foreign policy. "He's basically emasculating America, and they're rewarding him."

"70% of the French don't think he deserves it."

70% of the French...

"Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

That's the Obama quote cited with approval at the end of the officially stated reasons for awarding Obama the Nobel Prize.

Kind of a trick quote, isn't it? Or is that the lofty puffery we've learned to love? Or are you one of the ones who've come to find that sort of thing insipid? Or funny? Or damned scary?
His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.
That is, to lead, you must follow.
For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman.
All right then.  Hopefully, everyone will tag along after his tagging along and everything will be lovely.

"This just reinforces my ongoing impression that we've been living out a satire for the past year or two."

"We elected a callow nobody as President on the strength of a few vacuous speeches. The healthcare debate — driving trillions of dollars in anticipated future expenditures — got turned around by comments someone scrawled on Facebook, and now the Nobel Peace Prize committee has decided to award prizes for good intentions. It's like no one's even serious about anything anymore. None of it matters. It's the Society of the Spectacle."

"It's a prize for weakening America."

Says rhhardin.

"They are handing him the Nobel Peace Prize because he isn’t George Bush."

A man on the street in Egypt nails it.

More reactions:
Lech Walesa: "Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast — he hasn’t had the time to do anything yet."
Lech, look at it the other way. If they wait, he might do something that makes him undeserving. And since he must win it, best to give it preemptively, before any pesky "achievements" cloud the picture... the picture of hope.
Nils Butenschon, director of the Norwegian Center for Human Rights at the University of Oslo: “It seems premature to me... I think the committee should be very careful with the integrity of the prize..”
Integrity? Why start now?

I wonder if the Dalai Lama is thinking kind thoughts right now.

And Al Gore. What's he thinking?

Riddle: Why didn't Barack Obama win the Nobel Prize for Literature?

Answer: He wrote 2 books.

Barack Obama has got me tweeting again!

Tweeeeeee!

You may ask who else was there who should have won the Nobel Peace Prize?

And to that I say: Who else? What are you talking about? When there is Barack Obama in the world why should anyone else get anything?

Barack Obama can now proceed undistracted by thoughts of what he would need to do to win the Nobel Prize.

Go totally hawkish. Kick Iran's ass. Anything you want. Ah ha ha ha ha.

The question is not why did they give Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize.

The question is why didn't he get the Olympics.

The story of Barack Obama is the story of winning things when he hasn't yet done enough to deserve them. He is, quite simply, Barack Obama. We understand that. Why didn't the IOC understand? You could see it in that smile on his face, when he concluded his little speech in Copenhagen, that he bore the sublime knowledge he would acquire the Olympics for Chicago. Because he is Barack Obama, the man to whom grand prizes are given.

Last Friday, it was so disconcerting. It just didn't make sense. Chicago is out?! Chicago is out?! And now, things feel right again. Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

October 8, 2009

The Late-Night-Confessions Hotel...

DSC04531

... you can spill over.

The Obamas selected a work of art that's an outright copy of Matisse — done by an African-American woman.

Michelle Malkin shows the 2 pictures side-by-side and reprints this bilge from Art in America:
A good place to begin thinking about Alma Thomas’s ravishing late work might be the moment in 1964 when, close to paralysis and bedridden, the 73-year-old artist found herself staring at the hollyhock shadows she had known her entire life and calculating how to use them in her paintings. A year earlier, she had seen the late Matisse cutouts at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Matisse’s work had prompted her to paint an acrylic-on-canvas version of his collage The Snail (1953), in which nearly all the original colors were reversed. Thomas named her painting Watusi (Hard Edge), after Chubby Checker’s dance hit “The Watusi.” As well as marrying high modernism with the popular culture of black America — then entering the American mainstream — the title she chose noted Matisse’s debt to African art.
You know, the dance hit, which is actually titled "Wah-Watusi," was by The Orlons. It's not a Checker hit (though he may have covered the song). The Orlons are black too though, so it's as if it doesn't even matter to Art in America, as it makes up its inane explanation of what the old woman was doing.

Anyway, it's really sad to see this sentimental stretching to identify African-American artists. There are plenty of real ones, and mistakes like this make it seem as though there are not and that patronizing — which really ought to be called racism — is necessary.

I am defended over at Unzipped....

... in a post with a title that, if I quote it, I'll have Andrew Sullivan on my case all over again. So go into the very gay environment over there and read it.

Maybe I should set up an Althouse on-line store...

Something I thought on reading this:
It is funny that most of the conservative posters here seem to blithely wave off all of the vile quotes that Sullivan links to but if I write "Althouse Hillbillies" many of these same right wing Jethros get all lathered up about THAT!

Now I want an "Althouse Hillbilly" t-shirt.

Professor Althouse deleted me once. ...

My Dad always told us we was from the hills. Now I want an "Althouse Hillbilly" t-shirt.

Me too!
Okay, so shirts: "Althouse Hillbilly," "Professor Althouse deleted me once," etc.

"The Top Ten Wonderfully Weird Dylan Performances."

"I usually play these things only to myself... but I feel like I'm all by myself now.

After I note Andrew Sullivan's obsession with Sarah Palin's womb, he responds... by quoting the nastiest stuff in the comments.

He writes:
I ... stumbled across these comments in Ann Althouse's blog, regarding my skepticism of Sarah Palin's pregnancy stories. I deserve criticism on this and have aired it on this blog ... not because my doubts have been put to rest, but because I know I'm out on a limb and I know that means you take your fair share of whacks. But look at these comments, which Althouse engages with and certainly doesn't remove. I have a thick skin but really...
Go to the link to see what he selected from the comments to quote.
This comes with the territory. Some of it is even a little funny. I'm not complaining. But it does bear noting that on a widely read conservative blog, this stuff is routine. I think that's part of the GOP's problem. I also think that Althouse's engagement in the comments section and failure to remove any of these remarks is eloquent.
"Althouse engages"... "Althouse's engagement"... hey! That reminds me of the time he gratuitously mocked me for writing a blog post letting people know I'd gotten engaged. A peek into Andrew's psyche? Tied to his obsession with Palin's womb? Think about it.

Anyway, as many of you readers have seen time and time again, I have a very high tolerance for vigorous/rough/nasty speech in the comments here. (Some of it is very pro-male homosexuality!)

I rarely delete, and there is no way that my failure to delete indicates approval. I do sometimes participate in the comments, and I have one comment (accidentally double posted) near the beginning of the thread in question. That comment of mine is a response to a commenter (Loafing Oaf) who asks:
How come we often see Althouse commenting on Andrew Sullivan posts but we almost never see him posting replies? I like Andrew Sullivan, but I wish he'd engage in more back-and-forth between him and bloggers who disagree with him.
(Guess that one got answered.)
Althouse tends to post replies when bloggers post criticism of her. In recent years, a lot of the bigshot political bloggers have decided to just ignore debating people who disagree with them.
So I did engage with a commenter in that thread. I answered a specific question that was addressed to me, and that I happened to find interesting. What I don't do — and what Sullivan is wrong to infer — is monitor the hundreds of comments that come in every day. I don't systematically keep track of anything. Sometimes I read haphazardly, and I am a very busy person... a very busy person who is committed to free speech and to creating a place where people with different opinions can talk with/at each other.

Now, Sullivan is upset/annoyed that some homophobic things show up in the threads here, as if it says something about my blog. He doesn't have comments, but I'll bet if he did, he'd collect plenty of homophobic crap at his place too. Probably even more than shows up here. Maybe that's one reason he doesn't have comments. But I've chosen to open my place to comments, and I have a strong free speech policy.

And let me add that my writing on this blog has never included anything homophobic, that I have a long record of supporting gay rights, and that many of the commenters who hang out here here are gay men. There is no way that I am cuing readers to be homophobic, and I think people who care about free speech and vigorous debate should be careful not to impute such things to me.

ADDED: And check out the lame piling-on by the local blogger for the Isthmus, Kenneth Burns:
... Andrew Sullivan...  quotes vile anti-gay comments on the blog of Ann Althouse, the Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Althouse is teaching on the Madison campus this fall.
Indeed, Althouse has been teaching on the Madison campus since 1984.
These slurs appear quite literally under Althouse's name. If her policy is not to delete comments, that's her prerogative. But what purpose is served by leaving them up, other than to humilate gays like Sullivan and me and further curdle an already dismal political discourse? Is this prominent Madisonian proud to have these people as readers?
The purpose is free speech and vigorous debate.

AND: No one emailed me to point out offensive comments and request that I consider deleting them. I wasn't aware of any of them until I read Sullivan's post this morning. I did get email the other day asking me to delete some nonsense about Glenn Beck. (I didn't delete.) I might delete some truly vile things about gay people. I've deleted comments that contain the n-word. Try emailing me!

ALSO: Boy, a link from Sullivan — who has huge traffic — brings very few readers over here. I would like them to see what the real context is. Of course, a link from the Isthmus blog brings absolutely nothing. As expected.

Irving Penn has died, age 92.

A slide-show of his work.

***

In other photography news, finally, we'll get to see Levi Johnston naked. And oh, the humiliation for Sarah Palin!

ADDED: Deafening Silence spotted a fascinating homage to Penn.

Low-quality females prefer low-quality males.

"Evolutionary biologists previously thought that females would always opt for the best male available."

You might not want to be the one out in front, championing Polanski, if this is what you wrote in your memoir.

"I got into the habit of paying for boys... All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market excited me enormously... the abundance of very attractive and immediately available young boys put me in a state of desire."

All that texting.

I sneezed downstairs. Got the text: "Gesundheit."

"Obama and students space out at the White House."

L.A. Times headline.

George Gershwin left some songs unfinished.

And now — authorized by the Gershwin estate — Brian Wilson is going to finish them.
Todd Gershwin said a collection of several dozen song fragments, ranging from "a few bars to some almost finished songs and everything in between" had been sitting virtually untouched for more than seven decades. He and other trustees began reaching out in the last year or two to find contemporary artists who might be interested in completing those musical bits and pieces.

[Brian] Wilson, who says "Rhapsody in Blue" is his earliest musical memory, said the pieces he's working with are very likely to remain as instrumentals, and that they could easily wind up as three-minute pop songs. But he's also holding open the possibility of expanding them to more substantive pieces.

Wilson said many of them aren't easy to evaluate.

"I can't decipher the verse from the chorus from the bridge," he said, "so I'm going to try to insert some new music into them. I might even write some music for an introduction."

"Will Dylan or Oates get literature Nobel today?"

Oh, how deluded we Americans are! Even to ask that question! The Europeans don't love us, and it's just embarrassing to publicly swoon about their possible love. Bob Dylan isn't going to win the Nobel Prize for Literature:
Before last year's prize announcement, outgoing permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said the United States was too insular and ignorant to challenge Europe as the center of the literary world, setting off an uproar.
Go ahead, Europe. Boost your ego at our expense. It's what you need. It's what we're here for.
However, England struck a different tone, saying that in most language areas "there are authors that really deserve and could get the Nobel Prize and that goes for the United States and the Americas, as well."
Engdahl, England... what difference does it make? Do we care what you think?
The contretemps has made people think there is a better-than-normal chance that an American will receive the prize.

Oates has been called a favorite to win for 25 years.

However, British betting firm Ladbrokes is giving the lowest odds to Israel's Amos Oz and German writer Herta Mueller.
And Herta Mueller it is.
In ... two works, Muller depicts life in a small, German-speaking village and the corruption, intolerance and repression to be found there. The Romanian national press was very critical of these works while, outside of Romania, the German press received them very positively. Because Mueller had publicly criticized the dictatorship in Romania, she was prohibited from publishing in her own country....

The novels Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jaeger (1992), Herztier (1994; The Land of Green Plums, 1996) and Heute war ich mir lieber nicht begegnet (1997; The Appointment, 2001) give, with chiselled details, a portrait of daily life in a stagnated dictatorship.
Well, let's see some sentences. Let's see some lines and passages. Let's see those "chiselled" details.

Meanwhile:
Socialism, hypnotism, patriotism, materialism.
Fools making laws for the breaking of jaws
And the sound of the keys as they clink
But there's no time to think.

October 7, 2009

What the hell???

Jon Stewart tells Barack Obama something he apparently needs to be told.

"You're the President of America!"

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Gay After Tomorrow
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

A darling sleep aid, from Japan in the 1960s.

Artificial breasts with a heartbeat. Aw.

What is your writing implement of choice?

It might depend on what you're writing. For example, this morning, when I was about to use a checkbook that makes carbon copies, I was handed a felt-tip pen. That's not happening. And then yesterday, a lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court offered this kooky advice to Congress:
"I think at some level Congress has a job to write with a scalpel and not a buzz saw in the First Amendment area."
Well, it's true, a scalpel is a better writing implement than a buzz saw, but it's still pretty bad. I recommend — for free-speech-threatening purposes — the Uniball Vision Needle. Or, better yet, put down all your implements.

Bill Ayers "admits" he wrote "Dreams From My Father."

I'm putting "admits" in quotes, because I think he's toying with the conservative blogger who accosted him in a Washington airport. And yet, even though I think he's joking, I also think he's playing with the whole idea of lying.

This, you realize, is especially clever and post-modern.

Get it? Let's say he did write it. Well, he's not really admitting that. He's making fun of the way some conservative bloggers think they've found evidence that he wrote it. He knows most sensible people believe their evidence is bullshit, and this has been amusing to him because he — in this scenario of mine — knows that, actually, they are right.

Now, confronted in the airport, he's handed an opportunity to stir them up into a frenzy — create a vortex around himself — ah, that feels so good! — by telling one of these conservative bloggers that he really did write it. Ah, ha ha ha.

And — he anticipates — that they will ultimately be beaten over the head with how stupid they were to have believed him when obviously he was just jerking their chain.

And this will be especially funny, because he'll know that these people, his enemies, who look like complete idiots, were actually right. And what better way is there to throw everyone off the track?

Brilliant!

After 10 years on death row, freed.

After 30 days of freedom, dead.

Healthful foods are also the foods most likely to make you sick.

Hmmm.

Obligatory film reference:
Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called "wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk." 
Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties. 
Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge? 
Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true. 
Dr. Melik: Incredible.
But don't laugh. Watch the clip at the first link to the end. This is all about priming us for a big increase in the power of the FDA.

Instant Karma.

Instant Doorma:
"Yeah, my name is Stacy and I am driving toward Ontario, when a car went off into the median at mile marker 22"...
From a very credible-sounding 911 call. (2-minute audio at the link.)
Stacy is actually Melissa Farris, 35, of Caldwell, according to Caldwell Police Chief Chris Allgood. He says Farris made the call to 911, waited for paramedics to leave, then tried to slip under the closing bay door.

That attempt failed, and instead she got trapped and died.

Farris was a former worker at the paramedics station where she died Thursday. Her call appeared to be perfectly crafted to call paramedics away from the station.
The paramedics drove off looking for the nonexistent accident — as Farris — who, for whatever reason really wanted to get inside — lay dying under their door.

The artwork Obama has chosen for the White House.

What does it say about him?
While Jacqueline Kennedy was known for her love of Cézanne and Hillary Rodham Clinton for living with paintings by Kandinsky and de Kooning as well as glass by Dale Chihuly, the Obamas have made a wider selection.

While there are only a few women represented — Louise Nevelson, Susan Rothenberg and [Alma Thomas, the African-American Expressionist painter.] — there are several contemporary African-American painters like William H. Johnson and Glenn Ligon, whose “Black Like Me No. 2,” a paint-stick-on-canvas work from 1992, was among the works chosen.
Which object do you think most represents him? It's so easy to pick this:



But on subtle contemplation, I'm going with this:


"I don't know how much 4 different weddings would have cost me but I know doing it all at once saved money."

"For example I only needed one tent, I needed to hire one caterer and one photographer for the entire ceremony," said South African businessman Milton Mbele who married 4 women on the same day.

This guy is very organized:
"I prefer polygamy to having many girlfriends which is what some married men do," he says.

"If I love more than one woman, I would rather make it known to the other women in my life and make it official.
"If I feel like taking another wife this is something that will be in the open and my wives would know," he says....
There are seven days in a week and I have four wives. I will take turns visiting them and use the remaining three days to rest.
He's pacing himself. If he's committed to giving each woman sex once a week, then he's got room to add 3 more wives, but then he's going to have to build up his vigor and cut down on that rest time.

Should bloggers who review books have to make a point of saying that they got them free?

Scott Stein writes:
The FTC recently announced that bloggers who review books that they received for free from publishers should make readers aware that the books were provided for free....

Newspapers and print magazines don’t provide disclaimers or tell readers that reviewers get the books for free. Newspapers and print magazines don’t announce that their reviewers often keep the free books or sell them on eBay. There is no presumption on the part of the FTC or readers that a newspaper book review is dishonest just because the reviewer was given the book for free....

[T]he government has no place weighing in on the battle between traditional and alternative media and conveying legitimacy on some and denying it to others....

Readers should base their opinion of the honesty of a review on the quality of the review and the track record of the reviewer — the body of work — and should not assume that a “professional” is somehow more honest or less likely to be bribed than an “amateur.” (And with what little money major publications usually pay book reviewers, really, we might as well all be amateurs anyway. I got free books when I reviewed books for the Philadelphia Inquirer. I didn’t suddenly become more honest because the Inquirer also sent me a small check for my work. ).
I've written book reviews for The New York Times and The New York Sun, and I didn't do it for the money. It's not enough money for all the work it takes. In fact, once the NYT had me review a book, paid me, and then never published it. That irked me no end, because I would never have done that much work for the amount it paid. (Maybe $700.) So I certainly wouldn't read a book and write about it just for a free book. Think about it. It's like when people give you a book for a gift. Don't you think, oh, great, now I have to read it. It's way easier to buy somebody a book than for them to read it. Imagine if when you got a book for a gift, you had to write about what you thought about it. You'd be saying to anyone who threatened to send you gifts, please, no gifts!

Now, some of these other gifts are more potentially corrupting. If companies were sending me steaks or cases of wine or .... hey, remember the time I tried to get Chevrolet to send me a Corvette?

Letterman's "stance is that of the proverbial court jester, a clownish figure with a mandate to prick the powerful -- not set himself up as a model of virtue."

Says Tom Shales. Via Instapundit ("transparent weasels").

But the question is sexual harassment, so: Ask not whether he has a mandate to prick the powerful, ask whether he has a prick to mandate the powerless.

October 6, 2009

At the Floating Bubble Restaurant...



... linger as long as you can.

Andrew Sullivan is still obsessing over Sarah Palin's pregnant belly.

I've got to give the man credit for his amazing resistance to shame.

UPDATE: There is a controversy over the comments to this post, which I write about here.

"It’s very strange. We’ve had months of sturm and drang, and massive attention focused on the question, Whither health care reform?"

"It’s just quietly turned into a fait accompli."

How will the story of America and race be written 100 years from now?

How will the chapters on Barack Obama read?

Save the incandescent bulb!

It's important!

"Cash for clunkers had two objectives: help the environment by increasing fuel efficiency, and boost car sales to help Detroit and the economy. It achieved neither."

Says the WSJ:
According to Hudson Institute economist Irwin Stelzer, at best "the reduction in gasoline consumption will cut our oil consumption by 0.2 percent per year, or less than a single day's gasoline use." Burton Abrams and George Parsons of the University of Delaware added up the total benefits from reduced gas consumption, environmental improvements and the benefit to car buyers and companies, minus the overall cost of cash for clunkers, and found a net cost of roughly $2,000 per vehicle. Rather than stimulating the economy, the program made the nation as a whole $1.4 billion poorer.

The basic fallacy of cash for clunkers is that you can somehow create wealth by destroying existing assets that are still productive, in this case cars that still work. Under the program, auto dealers were required to destroy the car engines of trade-ins with a sodium silicate solution, then smash them and send them to the junk yard. As the journalist Henry Hazlitt wrote in his classic, "Economics in One Lesson," you can't raise living standards by breaking windows so some people can get jobs repairing them.
You can't? It worked for Chaplin:

"Mameshibas are talking beans with puppy-dog faces..."

"... and here is where you can overdose on their quirky cuteness!"

(Via Drawn!)

"Jesus had 12 disciples, so there'd be a hot dog for each of them."

The great hot dog/bun disparity, solved at last.



"W00t, sir, we do agree with that."

"God bless you. And God bless America's wieners."

Letterman's new, improved apology.

He gets off some pretty good jokes in the process of doing what circumstances have forced him to do:
"There's a possibility that I'll be the first talk show host impeached," he continued. "It's fall here in New York City, and I spent the whole weekend raking my hate mail. It's cold, too—chilly outside, chilly inside my house."

Letterman then mock-started making cracks about Bill Clinton, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Eliot Spitzer (apparently they all have something in common), stopping himself every time.

"This is only phase one of the scandal," he reminded the audience. "Phase two, next week I go on Oprah and sob."...

"Also," he added, "what can it hurt? Once again I'd like to apologize to the former governor of Alaska. Sarah Palin, I'm terribly, terribly sorry.
Video at the link.

Heidi Klum, married to Seal, for more than 4 years, finally decides to change her last name to Seal's last name.

But nobody even knows what Seal's last name is!

The FTC going after bloggers and social media is like "sending a government goon into Denny’s to listen to the conversations in the corner booth and demand that you disclose that your Uncle Vinnie owns the pizzeria whose product you just endorsed."

Says Jeff Jarvis, because most people who blog and use Facebook and the like "don’t think they are doing anything remotely connected to journalism."

The most absurd part of it is the way the FTC is trying to make it okay by assuring us that they will be selective in deciding which writers on the internet to pursue. That is, they've deliberately made a grotesquely overbroad rule, enough to sweep so many of us into technical violations, but we're supposed to feel soothed by the knowledge that government agents will decide who among us gets fined. No, no, no. Overbreath itself is a problem. And so is selective enforcement.

"My Parents Were Awesome."

"Wow. Very rarely does the horrid internet do something that is both earnest and yet sentimental."

Are you happy with your new seats?

Some of the Justices of the Supreme Court had new seats as the new Term opened yesterday. That's because seniority dictates the arrangement, and we've got a new Justice:
Thomas chatted frequently with new seatmate Scalia, and he and Justice Stephen G. Breyer spent time looking from their new vantage points at something on the ceiling.

Likewise, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg frequently talked to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, as she now sits to his immediate left.
Nice to know that Clarence loves Nino and Ruth loves Tony, but who are they not talking to — other than Thomas not talking to Breyer? Ginsburg's other seatmate is Samuel Alito, and I'm too lazy to figure out who Thomas was stuck sitting next to before the move.

Do I like to see them happy with their seating positions? Not really. I think there should be more turnover of the seats, so they shouldn't be too comfortable. Whether they are comfortable or not, I think the seating will reshuffle again soon enough.

The Supreme Court opened its new Term yesterday, and the big question, of course, is...

... how much did Sonia Sotomayor speak up?
... an inquisitive new justice... displayed no reticence.... she asked as many questions and made as many comments as...  was far more active Monday than in her first hearing as a justice...was part of an animated bench... Sotomayor's active questioning...
I guess it can't be helped. Everyone's hungry for something about the new Justice.

The case — Maryland v. Shatzer —was about when police may question of a person who has asked for a lawyer.  The basic rule is that the police must stop asking questions until the lawyer is brought in. But the problem here is whether there's ever an end to the proscription against more questions. What if years have passed? What if there is new evidence and a new investigation?
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. posed this hypothetical: What if someone was arrested for joy riding in Maryland, invoked his Fifth Amendment protection, and was never convicted? Could police in Montana question him as a murder suspect in Montana 10 years later?

When Davis said no, Alito replied: "And you don't think that's a ridiculous application of the rule?"

When Alito raised the hypothetical ante to a crime committed 40 years later, Sotomayor joined in.

"He is arrested for joy riding, he is let go, and you are saying that for 20, 40 years he is now immunized from being re-approached by the police?" Sotomayor asked.
So Alito asked a great question and Sotomayor repeated it.

Can we infer, then, that she didn't ask any interesting questions?

IN THE COMMENTS: Scott said:
Can we infer, then, that she is a parrot?
MadisonMan said:
Can we infer, then, that she is a parrot?

Obama's photo-op with the doctors gets reported as... a photo-op with doctors.

A sea of health-care-reform-supporting doctors was assembled to be photographed listening to Obama tell them what a sea of health-care-reform-supporting doctors they are, and they were supposed to all be wearing white lab coats — so they'd look like a sea of health-care-reform-supporting doctors.

But some of them — despite getting the memo to wear their lab coats — came dressed, well, appropriately. They wore business suits/dresses for their audience with a President.  Oh, no!

White House staff had to scramble to get a bunch of lab coats, and the photo-op of the staffers passing out lab coats to the doctors was much more amusing than the a sea of health-care-reform-supporting doctors the White House wanted.

Come on, people! Obama's in trouble. You need to help.

October 5, 2009

Obama snubs the Dalai Lama.

To keep China happy.

"Struggling Museum Now Allowing Patrons To Touch Paintings."

"Though it contains more than two million pieces and represents a profound legacy of artistic achievement, most people remain completely indifferent to our museum... So we decided to try something a little different and give visitors a chance to experience our timeless works of art up close and personal."

Scalia "worr[ies] that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to [law]."

You're a smart kid. Do you really want to be a lawyer?
I mean lawyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that....

And they appear here in the Court, I mean, even the ones who will only argue here once and will never come again. I’m usually impressed with how good they are. Sometimes you get one who’s not so good. But, no, by and large I don’t have any complaint about the quality of counsel, except maybe we’re wasting some of our best minds.
Scalia wonders why you aren't out "inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?"

FTC is regulating blogger endorsements.

Disclosure requirements. Blech.
These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other "word-of-mouth" marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.
Much more at the link. I think this is all stuff that I wouldn't be doing in the first place. If anything, I'd blog about getting the stuff and not review it.

Marty Peretz on the President's narcissism.

"What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist. This is not necessarily a bad condition if one maintains for oneself what the psychiatrists call an 'optimal margin of illusion,' that is, the margin of hope that allows you to work. But what if his narcissism blinds him to the issues and problems in the world and the inveterate foes of the nation that are not susceptible to his charms?"

Poor Obama! All his life people projected their hopes onto him and he learned how to step up and be a bright clear screen for these projections. What looks like narcissism is, perhaps, the realism that develops when you are immersed in an environment that is so persistently and consistently distorted to give you the feedback that you are magnificently and magically effective through your sheer presence.

The man who voted present and became President is tragically — touchingly — flawed.

ADDED (after an emailed suggestion): We're Always Touched by Your Presence, Dear President.

Best country to live in: Norway.

Mainly because of a lot of extra wealth from oil.

(The U.S. is listed 13th.)

Sheikh Mohamed Tantawi, the highest Muslim authority in Egypt, will issue an edict saying that full-face veiling has nothing to do with Islam.

It's "merely a tradition, with no connection to religion or the Koran."

"People from the village come up to me and tease me, 'We hear you've started drawing on your telephone.'"

"And I tell them, 'Well, no, actually, it's just that occasionally I speak on my sketch pad.'"

David Hockney and his iPhone.

... Hockney limits his contact with the screen exclusively to the pad of his thumb. "The thing is," Hockney explains, "if you are using your pointer or other fingers, you actually have to be working from your elbow. Only the thumb has the opposable joint which allows you to move over the screen with maximum speed and agility, and the screen is exactly the right size, you can easily reach every corner with your thumb." He goes on to note how people used to worry that computers would one day render us "all thumbs," but it's incredible the dexterity, the expressive range, lodged in "these not-so-simple thumbs of ours."

Are long novels still worth reading?

Sonia Sotomayor has collected 2 severed heads.

Nice work, Sonia!

"I was a brilliant math guy on Wall Street and I got out partly because of the 'math abuse'..."

"... I recognized that the mathematical complexity and sophistication of the models was completely wasted because of the stupidity of the underlying assumptions about economic behavior and the unreliability of the input data."

A comment by JoeShipman from yesterday's "Capitalism: A Love Story" post.

***

Several commenters knocked me for saying: "My favorite thing in the movie was the trashing of young math and science graduates who, instead of applying their talents to the benefit of humanity, went to Wall Street to design the complicated derivative securities that almost destroyed the economy. The closeup on an incomprehensible math equation was, for me, the most shocking image in the movie."

I wish I could get a screen shot of the equation shown in the movie. It's far more complicated that my critics are imagining. (More complicated than this.)

Why were people with such depth of mathematical skill using it this way? I guess the question answers itself. For the money. I agree with Michael Moore's disgust over the misapplication of intellectual work.

Now, Moore operates through cinematic technique not conventional rational argument. He's an entertainer and a polemicist, and complicated math can't be funny for long. It's interesting to see how he presents the stuff about the financial crisis. At one point, we see him sitting on a park bench next to a guy who tries to explain derivatives, and what's funny is the expression on Moore's face — we see in him what nearly all of us are thinking — I can't understand. And that generates a further emotional/political reaction: If I can't understand it, I'm worried that it's an evil scheme. Moore's cinematic "argument" works like that.

"As you get older you laugh less, because you’ve heard most of the jokes before."

Says John Cleese. I don't think that's true, perhaps because I've never seen jokes as the main source of laughs.

"President Barack Obama's failed bid to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago cost more than a bruised ego."

"Taxpayers shelled out probably $1 million or more for the president, his wife and others to fly to Copenhagen and back to woo members of the International Olympic Committee. A 2006 congressional study pegged the cost of flying Air Force One at $56,518 an hour. The Pentagon recently said it cost $100,219 an hour to fly the huge, reconfigured Boeing 747 without Obama aboard.... [P]residential travel requires additional spending, especially for security personnel and equipment. Also, first lady Michelle Obama and some administration officials traveled to Copenhagen at public expense ahead of the president."

And please calculate the "carbon footprint" too while you're at it.

***

Maybe the President should never travel anywhere. We've got him set up to work at home. Let him stay there. Let people visit him. Maybe the occasional truly momentous summit, but basically, work from home, President.

"People aren't sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart."

"To my mind he doesn't seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly."

Said "adviser to the administration."

Mc Chrystal "flatly rejected proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda":
He told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to "Chaos-istan".

When asked whether he would support it, he said: "The short answer is: No."
He went on to say: "Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support."

3 Americans win the Nobel Prize in Medicine, and I don't suppose that creates an occasion to talk about how our health care system might not be so terrible.

Does it?

"Uncooked, organic foods such as raw sauerkraut, flaxseed and searingly hot habanero peppers."

What Imus "subsists mainly on."

It's the influence of his wife. He's been a vegetarian for 10 years, but his original idea of being a vegetarian was something I can really identify with. (I was a vegetarian for about 5 years a while back.) He thought: root beer and potato chips.

Yes, you know there are so many things you can eat and still be vegetarian. Most of the great snacks: ice cream, chips, candy, cookies. And all the great drinks: soda, fruit juice, beer, wine. It's only healthy if you make it healthy, which you may be less inclined to do if you're being gnawed at by that deep innate hunger for meat.

But if you can get a highly motivated, food-smart spouse to take care of you and control what food and drink arrives at your table, vegetarianism might work well. And you'll just have to take her/his word for it that sauerkraut is important or whatever crazy food theory she/he believes is true.

October 4, 2009

Some thoughts on seeing "Capitalism: A Love Story."

Here's the scene in the lobby at the Sundance Theater as we arrived for the 4:35 showing of Michael Moore's new movie:

IMG_0216

"Dump ¢apitali$m/Join the Socialists." And, indeed, the movie was a big promotion of socialism. Capitalism is "evil" — Capitalism is a "sin" — we were told over and over. And if only all the downtrodden masses would see this truth and join together we could have socialism.

***

Amusingly, Barack Obama is presented — outright — as a socialist. We see a roomful of people exulting over the election night announcement that Obama has won and, in context, we're made to think that it's the downtrodden people celebrating that socialism has arrived. I don't think Obama really wants Michael Moore's help.

***

My biggest problem with the movie was that it was such an incoherent mishmash, and it wasn't edgy and funny enough to make up for that. There were whole segments that had nothing to do with problems with capitalism and that Moore seemed to use because he had footage with sympathetic talking heads.

There were some teenagers in Wilkes Barre, PA who had suffered a terrible abuse of their due process rights, and the fact that a for-profit detention institution was involved didn't transform what was a criminal scheme into a broader indictment of our economic system.

And there were the life insurance policies that companies take out on their [low level] employees. Maybe these shouldn't be permitted — and calling them "Dead Peasant" policies was kind of outrageous — but if they are wrong, we can make legislation banning them. We have plenty of regulation in this country that keeps us away from a completely free market, and we can procure that legislation if that's what we want. I was disgusted by the camera trained on the face of a boy who cried over the death of his young mother. The real villain there was asthma. It said nothing significant about capitalism, which made it grotesque exploitation to use that boy in the movie.

***

My favorite thing in the movie was the trashing of young math and science graduates who, instead of applying their talents to the benefit of humanity, went to Wall Street to design the complicated derivative securities that almost destroyed the economy. The closeup on an incomprehensible math equation was, for me, the most shocking image in the movie.

***

Moore shamelessly and repeatedly advocated the violent overthrow of the economic system. It was somewhat humorously or moderately presented — such as through the mouth of a cranky old man who was being evicted from his home — but it came across that Moore wants a revolution. He kept advising the workers — and the evictees — of the world to unite and shake off their chains.

***

The most striking thing in the movie was the religion. I think Moore is seriously motivated by Christianity. He says he is (and has been since he was a boy). And he presented various priests, Biblical quotations, and movie footage from "Jesus of Nazareth" to make the argument that Christianity requires socialism. With this theme, I found it unsettling that in attacking the banking system, Moore presented quite a parade of Jewish names and faces. He never says the word "Jewish," but I think the anti-Semitic theme is there. We receive long lectures about how capitalism is inconsistent with Christianity, followed a heavy-handed array of — it's up to you to see that they are — Jewish villains.

Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite? I don't know, but the movie worked as anti-Semitic propaganda. I had to struggle to fight off the idea the movie seemed to want to plant in my head.

Nikki Fincke "witnessed how The New Yorker really bent over for Hollywood."

"NYC power publicist Steven Rubenstein succeeded in deleting every reference to Paramount's Brad Grey. Warner Bros and Universal and DreamWorks and William Morris/Endeavor and Summit Entertainment execs and flacks and consultants also had their way with the mag. (They were even laughing about it. When I asked one PR person what it took to convince Tad to take out whole portions of the article, the response was, 'I swallowed.') At Harvey Weinstein's personal behest, his description of me as a 'cunt' became 'jerk'. (Then the article would have contained two references to me as a 'cunt' in addition to its four uses of 'fuck'. Si Newhouse must be so proud...) And so on. Now remember, readers: you, too, can make The New Yorker your buttboy. Just act like a cunt and treat Remnick like a putz and don't give a fuck."

See, Nikki Fincke does not like The New Yorker. That's because, in her words, she's "too superficial" and "it's so unrelentingly boring." There are different writing styles. To each his/her own. I chose to quote Nikki, because it wasn't boring. It was hilarious.

Information at your fingertips: It's the Internet!

This cracked me up — not as much as something else that I just read (which made me laugh so hard I had to wipe off the screen) — but really hard:



(Via Andrew Sullivan.)

ADDED: That was in olden times. Today: Eel slap.

What movie are we seeing?


Hey, I love that poster, but:
....I am looking forward to Capitalism: A Love Story. But I think he’s sort of an idiot positioning the film as anti-capitalist. Capitalism has its problems, but when a title lack that and posters like this, no one but fans are going to take him seriously, and everyone else will immediately dismiss him as an actual communist, which I don’t believe he is.

Yes, it gives the film a nice visual style with the “propaganda theme,” but I think it could have been better handled and less alienating.
I can deal with the alienation. My big question is: Is it funny? Moore is a funnyman, in my book. The trailer won me over, as I said back here. Come back later for an opinion of the actual movie.

Their first anniversary as President and First Lady... and they look awfully glum as they emerge from the Blue Duck Tavern after eating — perhaps — the braised wreckfish ($26).

I know you can take 1,000 photos and pick out the 2 with the most negativity, but still.... these are the photos in the article, and... well, I'll leave it to you to imagine the dialogue.

By contrast, look how sweet he is out with his daughter:



And here is the haloed Michelle clasping hands with a true goddess, Nadia Comaneci:


Exceptionally strong promotion of traditional gender roles on the Rush Limbaugh show.

This phone call on the Friday show really struck me. I didn't expect Rush to go along with this as much as he did:
RUSH: Tina in Oklahoma City Oklahoma, great to have you on the program.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush great to be on the program and mega dittos from my husband David and our 11 homeschooled Rush Babies.

RUSH:  Thank you.  Eleven?

CALLER:  Eleven yes, every day we listen to you.

RUSH:  Mama.  Mama.  Well, I figure that took, let's see, 11 kids, five minutes, 55 minutes, 11 kids.
So Rush is on a comic track. With 11 kids, she has had sex for at least 55 minutes. Maybe her husband is still not a 60-minute man.
CALLER:  Something like that.

RUSH:  Couple cigarettes in between.

CALLER:  No, not in this house.

RUSH:  (laughing)  Yeah.  I hear you.
He's still going with the funny and she brings him up short. No, not in this house. Righteously puritanical.
CALLER:  Well, I am changing the subject.  You had been discussing recently about why women are unhappy?

RUSH:  Well, I've been reporting that there are people in the media studying why women are unhappy.
(Link added by me.)
CALLER:  Yes.

RUSH:  Yes.

CALLER:  Yes.  And I have been listening to that, and since the first time I heard you mention that, I knew the answer.  I was in the car with my 18-year-old son on Tuesday when you were talking about that again, and I looked at him, and I said, "I know why women are unhappy.  Do you?"  And without skipping a beat, he said, "Yes, because they're stepping outside of their God-given roles."  And I think he hit the nail on the head.  And in saying that I'm not saying it's a lesser role, it's a different role, and I think that women were designed and created to nurture babies, to love them, to educate them, to teach them to achieve their full academic potential, to love their fellow man, to become entrepreneurs, and I think that they're stepping outside of that and pursuing roles and stuff that just leaves them empty.

RUSH:  I have a hard time disagreeing with this.  Look at Hillary Clinton.
Now, I'm looking at the podcast, and this came at the very end of the 2d hour of the show. He needed to go, but he let her finish. Unable to articulate an opinion separate from hers, he made the slightly hedging "hard time disagreeing" statement then jumped for the cheap Hillary Clinton joke as he ran smack out of time.

But there it was. The old-time gender roles ideology, straightforward, unapologetic and unopposed. Served up hot. By a woman with 11 kids.

Is it really so terrible that David Letterman has a bachelor pad in the building where he tapes his show?

Why should we mind if the TV star has an apartment in the building to retreat to before and after the show? He has to commute into town. He has to be fresh and energetic to do the show, which depends largely on his performance. He should be able to easily get away from the workplace to nap, watch TV, eat, and, yes, have sex.
An ex-"Late Show" intern unmasked herself Saturday as one of David Letterman's former flings - and sources revealed the randy funnyman keeps a bachelor pad atop the Ed Sullivan Theater.

"I was madly in love with him at the time," said Holly Hester. "I would have married him. He was hilarious."...

[There was a] year-long, secret romance... she said, until the funnyman called it off because of their age difference.

Outside what is believed to be Hester's country home in Sebastopol, Calif. - in ritzy Sonoma County - a middle-aged man lashed out at a Daily News reporter last night. "Get the f--- out of here. We're being offered a lot of money for this s---," he said.
Ha ha. I love that quote. Get the fuck out of here. We're being offered a lot of money for this shit. Reporters! Trying to get the story for free!
An ex-"Late Show" staffer said Letterman kept a room insiders dubbed "the bunker" that was open only to his favorite young female underlings....

A woman identified as a former paramour, Stephanie Birkitt, 34, remained in hiding Saturday. She was, until recently, dating Joe Halderman, who was arrested Thursday for allegedly threatening to go public with Letterman's dalliances unless he was paid $2 million.

A "Late Show" office worker in 1997, Birkitt quickly developed a role as Letterman's Girl Friday. She went on to appear in several skits as his comic foil. Behind the scenes, their relationship became intimate, sources said.

"The creepy relationship that Letterman maintained with Stephanie was obvious and not normal," an insider said. "She was able to do anything and everything ... It was pretty well known that Stephanie was the one that Letterman was having fun with."
And there you see why we speak of "sexual harassment" even when the employee getting the sex is eager to receive it. It hurts the rest of the employees. It skews the work assignments in a way that feels unfair.

But perhaps an exception should be made for a great late night talk show host. The funnyman's mood and ego need boosting. Just as he must have an office full of people who can write jokes and comic routines — who must share a lot of not-that-businesslike comraderie — he needs pretty ladies to keep his senses well-honed. It's part of the structure of a business that revolves around a performer. The funnyman needs his supply of sex, and the paying career positions on the staff can be used to create a pool of potential sexual partners who will keep the old man bolstered up.

Perhaps, I said. Perhaps. Please discuss. And take into account the other examples we've seen lately of great men to whom the rules arguably do not apply: Roman Polanski (movie director might be allowed to rape), Harvard students (elite collegians might be allowed to stalk), Richard Prince (important artist might be allowed to display child pornography), Brian David Mitchell (man of God might be allowed to rape). And not so recently: Bill Clinton (Presidents of the United States might be allowed to have sex with subordinate employees).