November 28, 2009

At the Faithful Dog Café....


... you can keep up the conversation while M and I do I-90 miles.

UPDATE: Home, at 3 a.m.  We drove about 980 miles, nearly all on Route 90. We'd turned the heat off for the long weekend, and it was down to 48° indoors. Bracing!

The atrocity that is Empire State Plaza.

You're walking in a neighborhood of 19th century townhouses...


... and you run smack into this:


New York spent $2 billion to demolish 98 acres of 19th century buildings, displacing 9,000 human beings, in order to build a sickeningly ugly collection of government buildings. Is there a worse architectural crime in the history of the world? I'm sure there must be, but...
... it destroyed a neighborhood, isolated downtown from Center Square and created a stark mall that is lightly used and segregated from city life....
Pure evil.


There's whimsy...


... leaden government whimsy.

Look into the sunset...


... and weep.

November 27, 2009

"I dare you to comb through an entire issue and find a single word between those covers..."

"... that doesn't leave you reeling with delight or nodding vigorously at the gobsmacking truth sparking like a Texas thunder storm just behind it."

The 20 best magazines of the last decade. The quote refers to the magazine in second place.

"Nothing will erase the immense, unbelievable injustice he has been subjected to."

"Nothing will take away the hysteria of those ones who have never stopped pouring contempt upon him, hounding him through hatred and asking for his punishment as if we were living the darkest and most ferocious hours of the McCarthysm era all over again. At least, the nightmare is about to end. At least the end of the hell is looming. And this, for the time being, is what does matter."

And can anything erase the immense, unbelievable fatuity of Bernard-Henry Lévy?  Can anything take away the hysteria of this man who has never stopped pouring contempt upon Americans, hounding us through hatred as if we were living the darkest and most ferocious hours of the McCarthyism — McCarthysm? — era all over again?

Tiger Woods seriously injured after crashing his car into a fire hydrant... and then into a tree.

This happened at 2:25 a.m. as he was pulling out of his own driveway. 

AND: The police say it was not alcohol related.

IN THE COMMENTS: save_the_rustbelt said:
The only thing that would make me leave my house at that time, without alcohol but out of control, would be a raging fight with my wife.

Man in green sneakers reads Sartre. Dog arrives.



The Sartre book was "Nausea"  — great title for reading in a café. And the combination of Sartre and a café got us talking about Sartre's waiter (in "Being and Nothingness"):
Let us consider this waiter in the café. His movement is quick and forward, a little too precise, a little too rapid. He comes toward the patrons with a step a little too quick. He bends forward a little too eagerly; his voice, his eyes express an interest a little too solicitous for the order of the customer. Finally there he returns, trying to imitate in his walk the inflexible stiffness of some kind of automaton while carrying his tray with the recklessness of a tight-rope-walker by putting it in a perpetually unstable, perpetually broken equilibrium which he perpetually re-establishes by a light movement of the arm and hand. All his behavior seems to us a game. He applies himself to chaining his movements as if they were mechanisms, the one regulating the other; his gestures and even his voice seem to be mechanisms; he gives himself the quickness and pitiless rapidity of things. He is playing, he is amusing himself. But what is he playing? We need not watch long before we can explain it: he is playing at being a waiter in a café....
The name of the restaurant was — aptly! — The Daily Grind.

"You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

Said William Jennings Bryan in 1896.

He was not talking about that sculpture in the Empire State Plaza in Albany, which I encountered up close.


My point of view:


Human gargoyles of New York.

All a part of the New York Capitol:





We had some discussion about whether the last one is racist and whether there was any significance to the fact that someone once took the trouble to paint the lips red.

"Don't look too closely... or you'll see the swastikas...."

Reading this comment from Scott (in the previous post)...
I haven't been through Albany in years. But I do recall that the NY State Education Building is this gigantic federalist pound cake of a building that takes up the entire block and comes right up to the sidewalks. The scale is just so wrong. It's a frightening building....
... made me want to post the little video I took while walking by that building yesterday. The post title is part of the video dialogue:

Beautiful Albany.

My favorite building in Albany is City Hall, also pictured in the previous post:


In front is a statue of Philip Schuyler, a Revolutionary War general, born in Albany:


Also lovely is the building that houses the New York Court of Appeals (the highest court in the state of New York). The Court of Appeals Hall has a fabulous rotunda:


The mural inside the dome is called "Romance of the Skies." It was painted by Eugene F. Savage:


A very new age vibe. With painted sparkles that remind me of a 5-year-old girl's princess fantasy. Visionary, painted in 1959. What it has to do with law, I'm not too sure. Is law some sort of astrology? But what else to paint in a dome in a government building? You can't depict a God anyone believes in, so why not some Greek/Roman gods?

Near the Court of Appeals Hall, is St. Mary's Church:


Nearby, is Academy Park, which has a cool sculpture of Lewis A. Swyer, who seems to want company:


In the background, you can see the New York State Capitol. All I want to say about that building in this post is that I love the magnificent equestrian statue of the Civil War general Philip Henry Sheridan that guards one side of the Capitol:


I won't go on to the New York State Capitol in this post. An overdone horror, it is only beautiful relative to the unbelievable atrocity that is the Empire State Plaza. It will take separate posts to attend to these complicated architectural matters. This post is called "Beautiful Albany," and I will end it here.

November 26, 2009

Where we are...


... in America...




No one seemed to notice where we were in the photo in the previous post. It's actually easy to see if you look at all closely. Today, we're somewhere else. Here's a favorite picture from today. It doesn't much reveal where we are, but there are pictures to come that will make it crushingly obvious.

We're giving thanks for everything.


And much love to all the Althouse blog readers, from Althouse + Meade.

A Thanksgiving reflection.



Who made Biden — and Katie Couric — look dumb?

It's not Biden's fault — or Couric's — that he — or she — looks like a doofus posing with reality show wannabes at the White House State Dinner. It's not their job to check identities. It's their job — at a party — to pose like this — or is there some gracious way to deflect posers? You might ask why they're throwing big parties when times are so bad. But what the hell? And when can we watch the big Oprah-Obama TV Christmas special? There's Obama putting up the White House decorations, the doorbell rings, and it's Oprah! The doorbell rings again... and it's — who? — Russell from "Survivor"?

November 25, 2009

At the Footbridge Nightclub...


... it's your stomping ground.

That solemn editorial about global warming looks pretty silly...

... with all those comments about Climategate.

Newspapers just aren't what they used to be, when the readers can instantly talk back.

"Despite the fact that Mr. Sparkman was found hands, feet and mouth bound with duct tape, rope around his neck and the word 'FED' written on his chest..."

"... analysis of the evidence determined Mr. Sparkman's death was self-inflicted."

Was he trying to jerk us all around? The official conclusion is that it was for the insurance, not for fame and deception.

Charis Wilson, model and muse, 1914-2009.

You know her as:

The model and muse to Edward Weston:
"He had been the master of the close-up of body parts," Ollman said of Weston. In "Dunes, Oceano," however, "the model is moving in space, there is no horizon line. It was a breakthrough for him, largely because of Charis' spontaneity. Her uninhibited style gave Weston a freedom that was vitalizing to him," [said Arthur Ollman, director of the School of Art, Design and Art History at San Diego State.]

Weston was aware of a change in his style. "The first nudes of C. were easily amongst the finest I had done, perhaps the finest," he wrote in his daybook in April 1934....

The 28-year age difference between Wilson and Weston gave their romance "a Bohemian, May to December quality," photography dealer and historian Stephen White said in a 2007 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "Charis brought an essence of youth, when Weston was starting to wear out."

Soon after they met in Carmel in 1934, she began to pour her writing talents into advancing his career. Along with editing his articles for Camera Craft magazine, she wrote some of them under his name, she recalled in her memoir. "My goal was to make the articles sound exactly like Edward Weston," Wilson wrote.

"She did write under his name," Ollman confirmed. "It was easy for her and slavishly hard for him."
Ah, so it's one of those stories about a husband and wife. And then it was one of these stories: "She fell from her place as 'exalted goddess to the more human, unenviable and inglorious role of helpmate and art wife." Oh? Is it so unenviable to be a "helpmate"? Would you want to be a helpmate to a great artist whom you dearly loved? And what exactly does an "art wife" do? Are we supposed to have a stereotype in our heads about that? I suppose — I would suppose if I were writing a roman à clef — that she thought of herself as a great artist and found the subordination irksome. Look at the photograph again and see the subordination.

Wilson left Weston in 1945. The following year she married a labor activist. First a photographer and then a labor activist. You're left to imagine the precise nature of Wilson's taste in men.

"My hero is Gandhi. I'm an extremely non-violent, peaceful person and a vegetarian. I don't even kill bugs."

Protests Matthew Roberts, 41, who has recently learned that his father is Charles Manson. He's considering calling the murderer who raped his mother:
"If I did talk to Charlie on the phone, I would say, 'I truly understand what it's like to be you, more than anyone could ever imagine on so many levels.'”
On so many levels...

"We apologize if you've had an upsetting experience using Google."

But Google will not take down an offensive, racist image of Michelle Obama that comes up first when you do an image search on her name.

UPDATE: The blog that hosted the image has removed it.

At the Gingko Nightclub...

DSC05493's the middle of the night. Let's play.

November 24, 2009

"At a state dinner in 1996, low decolletage wasn't merely sexy or daring; it was a political trap for a president known to have a roving eye."

"Clinton was hosting a state dinner for Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. The voluptuous Italian actress Sophia Loren was a guest and she arrived with her magnificent cleavage framed in an ivory evening gown by Giorgio Armani. As she made her way through the receiving line, media observers paid close attention to Clinton's gaze, waiting to see whether it would waver -- even the slightest -- from where it belonged to where it was most emphatically being drawn. Reports indicated that Clinton maintained steely eye contact. But no guest should really put the leader of the free world to such a test of willpower."

So putting her breasts right under President Clinton's eyes was, in Robin Givhan's opinion, a deliberate political trap.

It was so out there when Loren did it. (Photo at the link.) Is it okay to talk about it? Is it okay to talk about the other women who have followed in Loren's bra cups footsteps? Thanks to Robin Givhan for giving me new confidence in straight talk about breasts and politics.

Obama has decided to decide to send 34,000 new troops to Afghanistan.

Or at least that's what the leak says he's going to tell us at long last on December 1st. I suppose we're being tested. Since some people will squawk loudly and try to push him back, if you like the decision, make some positive noise.

An awful lot of young people seem to think their personal escape from the economic valley of despair...

... is through law school.

"A new detailed map of Mars shows what was likely a vast ocean in the north and valleys around the equator..."

"... suggesting that the planet once had a humid, rainy climate, according to research published Monday."

I'm having a really hard time believing scientists lately. I'm a thorough believer in science, but there is absolutely nothing unscientific about skepticism toward the human beings who call themselves scientists. As such, they are tempted to serve their own interests over — and tapping the power of — the high ideals they espouse. Climategate is rubbing my skepticism raw, and this Mars story hits me in a tender spot.

It's just so useful for there to be plenty of water on Mars. I think of all the money that would flow — like water — into the hands of the Mars scientists if there were a mission to Mars, and the existence of water — plentiful water — is a fabulously powerful incentive to undertake that mission.


(Car sticker encountered in Madison, that I serendipitously only had to wait 3 days to find a use for. The pop culture reference, in case you don't know it or in case you want to watch a video clip, goes here.)

The Daily News deftly juxtaposes pictures from the American Music Awards.

Check it out. It's like panels of a comic strip:

These pictures don't really relate to each other in the manner the sequence suggests, but the apparent story is hilarious.

In the first panel, Taylor Swift — the perfectly popular girl from whom a man once famously grabbed a phallic symbol — clutches her throat and looks with shock toward the second panel. In that second panel, American Idol also-ran Adam Lambert, clutching a phallic symbol, is angling back to get a look at the head going at his crotch. And, in panel 3, Jennifer Lopez, clutching a phallic symbol and looking quite angry, is falling backwards.

Juxtaposed, it looks like a story of sex and betrayal. In real life, the only intentional sex, simulated of course, came from Adam Lambert. He'd like you to believe he's fighting against discrimination:
"I do feel like there's a bit of a double standard in the entertainment community, on television, on radio... I feel like women performers have been pushing the envelope, especially, for the past 20 years. And all of the sudden a male does it and everybody goes 'Oh, we can't show that on TV.' For me, that's a form of discrimination and a double standard. And that's too bad."
The head in his crotch was female, by the way. Lambert subsequently canceled that discrimination by kissing a male.

Swift and Lopez weren't being sexual at all. Swift was expressing surprise — whether she felt it or not, we don't know — for beating out, as Artist of the Year, an artist whose big achievement this year was suddenly dying. And Jennifer Lopez was about to fall on what everyone feels compelled to refer to as her famous ass.

ADDED: The prime example of the womanly pushing of the envelope — in 2003 — reference by Lambert:

November 23, 2009

Life at Meadhouse.





"But keep going, Ann. Debunk them all. With facts, not spin."

Andrew Sullivan is still giving me assignments.

So let me give him one. It's only fair. Andrew Sullivan, what if, with the same intensity and standards you've aimed at Palin, you went through the things Barack Obama has said and written? (Pick a segment of his career that is equivalent to the period you examined of Palin's.) What kind of a list would you end of with?

You say:
[S]omething is very seriously wrong. This is not about destroying anyone. It is about saving a system that perpetrated an error as huge as this one. And we cannot save this system until we fully understand the depth of the scandal in front of us: that this clinically delusional person had a good chance of having her finger on the nuclear button. And still does if she is not fully vetted and understood. I intend to keep doing that until the whole truth is in front of us.

If you don't want to pursue that truth wherever it takes us, read someone else.
I'm into pursuing the truth, which is why I propose that you test your judgment and style of analysis with the assignment I've proposed. I know this would be time consuming, and it will be extremely hard to work up the enthusiasm about it that welled up naturally over Palin.

So maybe others can help out. Let's try to put together an Obama list that equates as well as possible with Sullivan's Palin list. Then his assignment can be to reflect on his project of exposing Palin's lies and his conclusion that there is something truly different about her, something clinically delusional.


As for my assignment, I'll look at a couple more items from Sullivan's list tonight when I have some extra time. I'm not inclined to "debunk" them. I'm not Palin's defender. I will look at the items and say what I think, with an eye toward Sullivan's assertion: whether we are dealing with a person who is not just the usual politico but clinically delusional.

UPDATE: Sorry I didn't get around to doing a couple more items tonight. I guess some people would say I lied.

The best of Susie...

... NSFW.

Imagine having a face like...

... this.

Or this.


But perhaps a horrendous face is helpful... "if she were pretty, ordinarily pretty, she'd be a haphazardly employed..."

"Carter tried weakness and the world got tougher and tougher because the predators, the aggressors, the anti-Americans, the dictators, when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead."

Newt Gingrich, quoted in a Spiegel Online article titled "Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage."

And now, from the left...

... empathy!

"The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn’t work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle."

That sentence, written by Sarah Palin, is howlingly awful. Written by Barack Obama? Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Ha ha. That takes me back to last week... a very short snippet, forgive me:

(Click to continue if you want to hear me trash the liberal's self-love over nuance.)

AND: You know, I'll admit it: After I found out Obama wrote that sentence, it started looking better to me. I could feel this happening and I paid attention to the readjustment going on in my brain. Unlike some people, I am not inhibited about revealing it. It's what I'm interested in: how people think, how mental processes work, how opinions take shape. That, and not adhering to an ideology or supporting a party, is what I think about when I write about politics. I'm different from politicos like Goldberg, and I know that this difference can be very disturbing to them. I've got a hypothesis that when I've gotten into fights in the blogosphere and in the real world — like here — it's been because of this different orientation of mine. Oh, why won't liberals celebrate this difference? Just kidding. I know it drives them up a wall. It drives conservatives and libertarians up the wall too. It's disarmingly unpolitical.

What if hippies had money... and good taste?

A photo-walk around Madison's East Side got me thinking. There's a hippie aesthetic, but it's not well-developed enough, and there isn't enough money to run with it, which could be a disaster if there isn't good taste — and it's hard to have good taste and hippie taste at the same time.

But when it all comes together, it's really cool:



Wouldn't it be fabulous if, taking this house as the exemplar...


...the whole neighborhood could bloom with hippie aesthetic?

(I have no idea whether the people who did this to their house are actually hippies or how they would verbalize their aesthetic, but whoever they are, I salute them.)

"How much worse does Obama have to get before Althouse decides McCain would have been better?"

"Ann, are there any benchmarks we can set on what has to happen for you to change your mind? I'd like to set an over-under on the date. A lot can happen in three years."

Writes d-day in a long comments thread that began last Friday.

What you need to understand, d, is that I am plagued by a vivid imagination. It's easy to look at Obama and see what you don't like. Whenever you do, think about what McCain would have done and spin the wheel forward a few turns. That's what I do. I think McCain would have played nice with Congress. And the Republican Party would be in shambles instead of scrambling to get its act together for the next election.

Here's my original 2008 election post-mortem — "How McCain Lost Me". Excerpt, beginning with a quote of something I'd written just before the election:
"Usually, I prefer divided government, but that doesn't mean I need to support McCain. I've seen McCain put way too much effort into pleasing Democrats and flouting his own party, and I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man. What, really, will he owe them? McCain, by contrast, will need them. And we've seen that he wants to be loved by them.

"Sometimes, I think that letting the Democrats control everything for 2 years would work out just fine. Let one party take responsibility for everything. When they can't whine and finger-point, what will they actually step up and do? It will be interesting to know. And it will do the Republicans good to retool and define themselves, with an eye toward the 2010 election. I'd like to see this clarification after so many years of obfuscation."

This goes along with my problem that McCain had abandoned the effort to define himself as conservative. I could see myself voting for a conservative. I would like some good conservatism. But I did not see it in McCain. Certainly, just bringing in Palin was no substitute for having his own clear principles.
Yes, yes, I know. The "clarification" is killing us, and once we're dead, there's no coming back. And Obama isn't standing up to the Democratic Congress, unless he's doing it in some really subtle way that one day I'll appreciate.

It's hard, but I still have my...

The Althousity of Hope

... Althousity of Hope.

"Hi, I like this article but... Can someone tell me about Barack Obama?"

"I know that he is a serious candidate for '08, but I would like to know where he stands on the issues. I checked his site but nowhere can I find the info. i am looking for. so please tell me..."

Comment, left on a post last night. It's spam, and I've deleted it, but not before laughing.

The "drifter" and the "bug man."

The Daily News reports, in straightforward prose:
The straphanger killed by an exterminator gone mad was a mentally ill germophobe who used his bag to keep people at a safe distance, friends said Sunday.

"He didn't like people to sit next to him," said Phenix Hall, a volunteer who befriended Dwight Johnson at a Manhattan soup kitchen years ago. "Dwight was famous for placing his bag on the seat beside him."

The 36-year-old drifter was knifed in the neck early Saturday after arguing with bug man Gerardo Sanchez, 37, who wanted to sit next to Johnson on the half-empty D train....
A passenger pulled the emergency brake, which meant that the train stopped between stations, with 20 or 30 people trapped with the killer and the dead/dying man. When the train reached the station, the horrible confinement continued, as the doors were kept shut until the police got the killer.

The Daily News has a poll: "Do you believe the authorities did the right thing by instructing the motorman to keep the doors closed when the train stopped, moments after a homeless man was stabbed to death?" Right now, the police are losing, but not by all that much.

The story is interesting for a number of reasons, including — in the text but not the poll — the retro term "drifter" instead of the usual PC "homeless man." Homeless suggests that if only this individual had a shelter of his own, there would be no problem. Drifter implies that there is something inherent in the man's nature that keeps him from putting down roots.

Drifter imputes some romance and mystery to a man's story:
"Oh, help me in my weakness,"
I heard the drifter say,
As they carried him from the courtroom
And were taking him away.
"My trip hasn't been a pleasant one
And my time it isn't long,
And I still do not know
What it was that I've done wrong."
Homeless sounds empty and needy:
I am homeless, come and take me
Into reach of your rattling drums.
But Dwight Johnson's problems are not embodied in either word. The man was mentally ill and terrified of germs. We slangily call germs "bugs," and Gerardo Sanchez made his living killing insects, which are also slangily called "bugs." Now, the Daily News calls Sanchez "bug man." "Bug" can also mean to bother and it can mean to freak out. There is a lot of bug in the story of the drifter and the bug man. Johnson and Sanchez were each concerned with bugs, they bugged each other, and they bugged out.

And now, poor Johnson is dead and Sanchez's life is ruined.

Twitter ads — a self-limiting concept?

Twitter is all about limits. If your tweet isn't 180 140 characters or less you can't send it out to your followers. And if you build up your reputation to the point where you have a lot of followers, you might want to monetize it by signing up with a service that tweets ads through your identity to all those followers. There's a guy with 50,000 followers who made $3,000 last month using that service. He gets $200 every time an advertiser takes advantage of those 100,000 eyes.

To be fair, at the end of the tweet there's a little "(ad)," which means you're untricked after you're tricked. But he can only make that much money because he has all those followers. And people are on Twitter — looking for things to read, becoming followers — because there's stuff they want to read and the whole experience of being there feels cool. As ads pollute the experience, people will unfollow the writers they have boosted or they will abandon Twitter altogether and move on to the next cool place.

Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe a lot of people — especially the younger demographic loved by advertisers — tolerate and even almost enjoy a modest infusion of advertising into their reading experience. Did you know that 46% of people 18 to 49 years old don't fast-forward through the commercials when they are watching TV shows on a DVR? They can skip the commercials but they don't!

Once you're used to the fact that there will be ads, maybe you won't mind. Maybe you think it's natural and appropriate for a popular Twitter writer to make money this way. He'll continue and work hard at keeping up the constant twitter of tweets, because there needs to be a sufficient amount of editorial material around the ads and because $36,000 a year is a fine incentive. When an ad comes up in the feed, you may accept it as fair and endure. You're not outraged when a TV show you're watching suddenly goes to commercial. That's the way life is. People who work providing video/words deserve an income. Deal with it.

Or don't. Personally, I don't watch TV shows with commercials. I watch HBO or I record and fast-forward. And I mostly ignore Twitter these days anyway. Ads would just make it feel even less cool that it already felt to me, when ads weren't the problem.

November 22, 2009

At the Quiet Pool Inn...


... things are so serene right now.

A man believed to be unconscious was conscious, but completely paralyzed, for 23 years.

He had no way to communicate to the people around him that he could hear, think, and understand everything.
"All that time I just literally dreamed of a better life."
How terribly sad. The condition is unimaginable. All that time. What would you do with your mind as all those years passed? Wouldn't you drift into hallucinations and dreams? Could you reach enlightenment? Or would you dwell on your plight endlessly and ache for the times when people would be around you talking, hoping someone would talk to you, read to you, do something.

If this happened to one man, it seems that it must be happening to others.
Doctors used a range of coma tests, recognised worldwide, before reluctantly concluding that his consciousness was 'extinct'.

But three years ago, new hi-tech scans showed his brain was still functioning almost completely normally....

'Medical advances caught up with him,' said Dr Laureys, who believes there may be many similar cases of false comas around the world.

At the Count-Your-Blessings Restaurant...


... it's almost Thanksgiving.

We didn't go out looking for turkeys today.

But, apparently, the turkeys were looking for us!

Place: The Arboretum, Madison, Wisconsin. Time: Sunset.

AND: Now, the eagerly anticipated Part 2, The Turkeys Continue to Walk Around:

IN THE COMMENTS: Jason (the commenter) said:
In part three it goes from a documentary to an action flick. Meade machine guns down the turkeys, who turn out to be international drug trafficers, after they kidnap Althouse and hold her for ransom.
Actually, there is a Part 3, and it does get a little action-y after Meade... well, Meade is off-camera. Let's just look at the turkeys:

At the Purple Grass Café...


... things get chaotic, but it all makes sense somehow.

"We want this list to be as accurate as Palin is delusional."

Then if your list is completely inaccurate and Palin isn't at all delusional, you'll have what you want. How devilish! Or, no. Are you going to tell me that's not what you meant, obviously? Aha! By your own standard, you are a liar. Oh, but that's not really your definition of a liar, that's just a standard to be applied to Sarah Palin? Ah, well, then you are a hypocrite. Which is it?

ADDED: Sarah Palin's Uterus — who calls me "notable uterus-having individual Ann Althouse" — has a lot to say.

Just now, the wind catches the rye.

"Like Reagan, Obama is a detached loner with a strong, savvy wife."

"But unlike Reagan, he doesn’t have the acting skills to project concern about what’s happening to people."

Wow. That's Maureen Dowd. (Obama's in trouble!) She's writing about the importance of reaching people on a "visceral" level, the way Sarah Palin does.

Dowd quotes a "spiritual therapist": "[Palin's] alive inside, and that radiates energy, and people who are not psychologically alive inside are fascinated by that."

Obama's admirers have loved his thoughtful thinkiness, his cerebreality. But that's getting old and cold.
Dither, dither, speech. Foreign trip, bow, reassure. Seminar, summit. Shoot a jump shot with the guys, throw out the first pitch in mom jeans. Compromise, concede, close the deal. Dither, dither, water down, news conference.....
Where is the animal fire inside the clammily cool Prez? Maureen wants to know. Was it ever really there?
The animating spirit that electrified his political movement has sputtered out.
The animating spirit...

Whose animating spirit provided the electricity back then? Did it come from him, or did we generate it from within as we looked at him and fell in love?

You know, I think what Obama seems to have become, he always was. Shake him all you want, Maureen, but you're like some Star Trek extra (in tights and a tunic) trying to coax heat out of the body of Mr. Spock. I'm afraid these earnest efforts are futile.

"The ice caps are melting, oh ho ho ho ho ho."

Hey, it's the Tiny Tim song Thomas Pynchon was talking about!

This insane song appears on Tim's 1968 album "God Bless Tiny Tim," so all that ice caps melting business has nothing to do with our present-day angst over polar bears and obeisance to the Great God Gore. Unless Tim started it all. Who are those kids anyway? And why did adults subject the youngsters to this trippy apocalyptic weirdness? Perhaps little Al is there, absorbing the crazed wisdom of Tiny. Mysteries! Wow. It's so far out!

And here's the Pynchon book, "Inherent Vice."

"Fellow scientists who disagreed with orthodox views on climate change were variously referred to as 'prats' and 'utter prats.'"

"In other exchanges, one climate researcher said he was 'very tempted' to 'beat the crap out of' a prominent, skeptical U.S. climate scientist."


From WaPo:
[T]he newly disclosed private exchanges among climate scientists at Britain's Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia reveal an intellectual circle that appears to feel very much under attack, and eager to punish its enemies.

In one e-mail, the center's director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University's Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.

"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report," Jones writes. "Kevin and I will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. "Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal," Mann writes.

"I will be emailing the journal to tell them I'm having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor," Jones replies.
Rid... troublesome... A deliberate allusion to "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?"? That is the conventionally erudite way to express the wish for your opponent's death.

Senator Mary Landrieu doesn't want you to think she got $100 million for her vote.

She wants you to know she got $300 million.

If this is what is trumpeted these days, I wonder what goes on behind closed doors.