February 20, 2010

Lake Mendota, today.

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"I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems."

"On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don't know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East — you're as good as dead."

So said Elton John, and he's getting some attention for the "gay" part. I think the other parts of the statement are interesting too. For example, I don't normally think of Jesus as distinguished by super-intelligence. Was he great at math? That's something I've never wondered about. It's good of Sir Elton to remind us of Jesus's compassion and forgiveness, and if he likes to think of Jesus — who lived with a group of men — as gay, what's the harm in that?

At the Wisconsin Log Café...

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... maybe this is the particular one you are interested in.

Obama reflects.

From the endlessly entertaining Chip Ahoy:

A creative writing assignment.

Tell a story about something that, told simply, would be self-aggrandizing, but tell it in a way that is not self-aggrandizing.

Remember Audible Althouse?

It was a podcast... of the odd last few days on a blog called Althouse. I drifted out of podcasting, mostly because of vlogging — YouTube and Bloggingheads. And then I got tired of paying for the site I used to host the files. So you can't find the podcasts there anymore, and I'd thought they were lost, but you can still listen to them here. Or here. There were 87 episodes, recorded from 2005-2007. I've heard from a few people over the years that they liked the feeling of being on the blog when they were out walking the dog... or whatever. Well, thanks for walking with me back then.

At the Amaryllis Café...

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... amour is real.

I know it's late for this.

But it's still February at least, and this met my quick and dirty test for what is bloggable: I laughed a lot.

"I was inspired to make a sculpture and studied many other logs, but I realized that I was only interested in this particular one."

I love this line of wall card next to a sculpture at the museum:

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That line made me — and, independently, Meade — think of the way the Little Prince felt about the rose he loved. Eventually, the Prince encounters a garden of roses:
"You're lovely, but you're empty," he went on. "One couldn't die for you. Of course an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than you altogether, since she's the one I've watered. Since she's the one I put under glass. Since she's the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she's the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except for two or three for butterflies). Since's she the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she's my rose."
Here's the sculpture that was made out of the loved log:

Hinoki by Charles Ray

"Hinoki," by Charles Ray is actually one of my favorite things in the Modern Wing of the Chicago Institute of Art. I've criticized the writings on the wall at the museum. I dread these explanations of art, but I loved Ray's essay, which you can read in full here. The man found and fell in love with a log, but the log was about to rot, so he got big cypress tree and got it carved into a replica of the log:
"With several friends, I transported the tree, cut apart by a chainsaw, back to my Los Angeles studio. Silicone molds were taken and a fiberglass version of the log was reconstructed. This was sent to Osaka, Japan, where master woodworker Yuboku Mukoyoshi and his apprentices carved my vision into reality using Japanese cypress (hinoki).... When I asked Mr. Mukoyoshi about the wood and how it would behave over time, he told me that the wood would be fine for 400 years and then it would go into a crisis; after two hundred years of splitting and cracking, it would go into slow decline for another 400 years. I realized then that the wood, like the original log, had a life of its own, and I was finally able to let my project go and hopefully breathe life into the world that surrounds it."

"That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation."

Said Alexander Haig. He also said "The warning message we sent the Russians was a calculated ambiguity that would be clearly understood," and, most famously, after President Reagan was shot: "As of now, I am in control here in the White House."

That last quote is often misremembered as "I'm in charge here" — including by the BBC in its obituary today — for, yes, Alexander Haig has died. (He was 85.) Here's another obituary. And here's the NYT:
[The day of the Reagan assassination attempt] Secretary of State Haig wrongly declared himself the acting president. “The helm is right here,” he told members of the Reagan cabinet in the White House Situation Room, “and that means right in this chair for now, constitutionally, until the vice president gets here.” His words were tape-recorded by Richard V. Allen, then the national security adviser. His colleagues knew better. “There were three others ahead of Haig in the constitutional succession,” Mr. Allen wrote in 2001. “But Haig’s demeanor signaled that he might be ready for a quarrel, and there was no point in provoking one.”

Mr. Haig then asked, “How do you get to the press room?” He raced upstairs and went directly to the lectern before a television audience of millions. His knuckles whitening, his arms shaking, his knees wobbling, Mr. Haig declared to the world, “I am in control here, in the White House.” He did not give that appearance.

What does Sarah Palin owe John McCain... and what would she be without him?

Why is Sarah Palin "supporting a candidate [John McCain] that's held in very low regard to the tea party movement"? A caller asked Rush Limbaugh that on yesterday's show, and he said:
[I]f you're Sarah Palin, the one thing you know is that if it weren't for John McCain, nobody would know who you are right now.... And there's, you know, she has some loyalty there. I'm more puzzled by Scott Brown endorsing McCain and then having McCain come into his district so Brown can campaign for him.

I know why she's doing it. Look it: I haven't spoken to her about it, and I don't even want to put words in her mouth. I can only address this were I to be in her shoes. And she's a Republican, and she's made the case that she's a Republican, and this guy put her on the ticket, and had that not happened, she'd be "Sarah Who?"  She owes him something....

Okay, now, look, those of you out there in the tea party that are miffed at Sarah Palin and at Scott Brown, I just want to remind you of one thing, like I said the other day.  If Sarah Palin had not endorsed McCain, can you imagine what the press would do to her?  Can you imagine the refrain: "Oh, he's perfectly fine to be president, you'd run on the ticket with him as president, but he's not good enough to be Senator from Arizona?"  They would kill her.  And in the case of Scott Brown, McCain was the first senator to openly support Scott Brown.  He was being totally ignored by every other Republican in the Beltway.  It's the same deal, folks, it's just loyalty.  It just is.
Now, I think that's plenty of explanation for why Sarah Palin is supporting McCain and not helping J.D. Hayworth (who is challenging him in the Republican Primary).

But I want to talk about the idea Palin is indebted to McCain for bringing her into the political spotlight when he did. Is Palin better off because of that? She is what she is now because of that — because she was plucked unripe, tasted, and sneered at. She and we will never find out what would have happened if she'd been allowed to ripen through a term or 2 as Governor of Alaska and attempted a run for President on her own, building support, gaining seasoning, practicing dealing with debates and interviews while the stakes were still low and the press would be disarmed and friendly.

Just as we will never know The Other Hillary — the Hillary who would have evolved without Bill Clinton — we will never know The Other Sarah. The woman with a male sponsor, subordinate to a man — she may get very far but can she gain the ultimate trust, the Presidency? I have an intuition that our first woman President will be someone who fits the set with The Other Hillary and The Other Sarah.

"Sheryl had checked herself and her 12-year-old daughter into a hotel Wednesday night and returned home Thursday to find it ablaze and Stack gone."

Before his suicide plane crash, Joseph Stack had scared his wife and daughter out of their house.

If only they scored...

... sportsmanship.

"Who do you think made the first stone spear? That wasn't the yakkity yaks sitting around the campfire."

"It was some Aspberger sitting in the back of a cave figuring out how to chip rocks into spearheads. Without some autistic traits you wouldn't even have a recording device to record this conversation on."

Said Temple Grandin to the Wall Street Journal, which is, presumably, responsible for misspelling Asperger.

I mean, really, Aspberger? What is it? Cleopatra's last meal?


Ah! I am distracted by a worm! We all have our mental quirks and orientations, and the point is: The world benefits from the diversity of human minds. I'm inclined to tap out endless assorted bloggings to the web, and Temple Grandin's precursor chips away at stone and invents the spear.

Grandin opposes the "handicapped mentality" some people take toward kids with Aspergers:
"When I see these kids with 150 IQ and their parents want to put them on Social Security [disability], it drives me nuts." These kids "will come up to the book table and start talking about 'my Aspergers.' Why don't you talk about becoming a chemist, or a computer programmer, or a botanist?"

She continues: "It's important to get these autistic kids out and exposed to stuff. You've got to fill up the database." Silicon Valley and the tech companies are like "heaven on earth for the geeks and the nerds. And I want to see more and more of these smart kids going into the tech industry and inventing things—that's what makes America great."

Ms. Grandin lives in a simple apartment in Fort Collins, Colo., and has used the profits from her books to put students through school. "Four PhDs I've already done, I'm working on my fifth right now. I have graduate students at Colorado State—some of them I let in the back door, like me: older, nontraditional students. And I've gotten them good jobs."

"You know what working at the slaughterhouses does to you? It makes you look at your own mortality."

"When I was younger I was looking for this magic meaning of life. It's very simple now," she says. Making the lives of others better, doing "something of lasting value, that's the meaning of life, it's that simple."
So Aspergers is not just an aptitude for designing technical things. It also opened a different path into morality.

February 19, 2010

Did the skater Johnny Weir deliberately allude to Picasso's "Boy with a Pipe"?

After skating in the Olympics last night, Johnny Weir got a wreath of roses, which he wore on his head as he waited for his scores:

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And here is the famous painting:

At the Red Stripe Nightclub...

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... you can frame your involvement with the people you encounter.

Manly trousers.

These are a little edgy — they're by Isabel Mastache — but I approve:


Meade said: "Yeah, I need a pair of those trousers to wear with my fivefinger shoes."

Another Democratic Senate seat threatens to turn Republican.

Senator Frank Lautenberg is 86 years old and diagnosed with stomach cancer:
"We expect a full and complete recovery for Senator Lautenberg. The senator will be treated with chemotherapy administered approximately every three weeks. We anticipate that he will receive between six and eight treatments, and in between treatments, the senator is expected to be back at work in the Senate."...

If Lautenberg's health forces him to resign, it could hurt the Democratic Party. Under New Jersey law, Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, would be able to appoint a replacement if a senator left office.

"The government in the Indian state of Meghalaya has confiscated textbooks showing pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and a can of beer."

"Jesus Christ is central to Christian faith and Christian life. The attempt to tarnish his image is highly objectionable and goes against the spirit of religious tolerance in India."

Because disrespecting religion is the main problem here. As opposed to: How the hell does such insane nonsense get into a school textbook?

What was the subject to be taught from the book? Cursive writing. Oh, do we even need cursive writing anymore? Come on. Get with it. We don't need cursive writing. We need cigarettes and beer:


Or wine. Jesus was more of a wine advocate.

For Tiger Woods, why is the religion substitute — therapy — preferable to Buddhism?

I'm looking at the transcript of Tiger Woods's remarks:
My behaviour has caused considerable worry to my business partners, to every one involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors -- and most importantly, the young students we've reached....
"Worry" = financial loss.
... I have made you question who I am and how I have done the things I did. I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry.
Yes! How?
... but there is one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that Elin either hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that. Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage. Ever....
People weren't fabricating. They were looking at the evidence, which you brought out into the public sphere with that car wreck, and trying to figure out what it mean. That's not nasty prying. It's ordinary speculation about a mystery that's right in front of our faces.
The issue here was my repeated irresponsible behaviour. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in.

I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting; instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that married people should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them.
Okay. That's how. He thought he was special. (He was!) And he thought he could avoid the rules that applied to ordinary people.
I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.

I've had a lot of time to think about what I've done. My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It's now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made. It's up to me to start living a life of integrity.....

I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That's where my focus will be. I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it.

Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don't realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist and I actively practised my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years.

Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes and unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught.

As I move forward, I will continue to receive help, because I've learned that's how people really do change.

Starting tomorrow, I will leave for more treatment and more therapy.
So then, not Buddhism, but therapy. The problems will not be understood in terms of his traditional religion, but modern American addiction treatment. Why, exactly? Why is the religion substitute — therapy — preferable to Buddhism?
I would like to thank my friends at Accenture and the players in the field this week....
Did he just win an Oscar?
In therapy, I've learned the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping it in balance with my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be centered so I can save the things that are most important to me — my marriage and my children. 
Spiritual life, balance, centering... therapy displaces and partakes of religion.
I do plan to return to gold one day....
An amusing typo.
Finally, there are many people in this room and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.
Believe in him... The echoes of religion are everywhere.

At the Cute Conversation Café...

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... the talk is highly animated.

The photo is a detail of a painting called "Personages with Star," by Joan Miró (1933):

Joan Miró: Personages with Star
(Enlarge.)

"[I]nvasion of the home has been approved based on no showing whatsoever. Nada. Gar nichts. Rien du tout. Bupkes."

"No other circuit allows entry into the home on less than reasonable suspicion," writes 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, in United States v. Lemus (PDF)
Plain view is killing the Fourth Amendment. Because our plain-view case law is so favorable to the police, they have a strong incentive to maneuver into a position where they can find things in plain view, or close enough to lie about it.

... There was absolutely no reason for the detectives to enter [Lemus's house] except to try to find contraband in "plain view." So, the detectives went in and, while there, Diaz thought he saw "something sticking out from the couch" that "looked like the butt of a weapon." Longoria then lifted the couch cushion "to make sure" and found a gun. Under what theory of "plain view" may police lift cushions off a couch to make sure something is contraband? Why weren't the officers required to get a warrant — if they could — based on what they saw, before rummaging through the couch?

"I ate too much fried food, too much ice cream, too much everything."

Says Bill Clinton. To which I say "ahem."

IN THE COMMENTS: EDH said, "Jennifer Flowers, in her first tell-all interview with Penthouse, said 'he ate pussy like a champ!'" Heh. The chimp could chomp like a champ.

Who was that woman sitting in front row center who would not look at Tiger Woods as he made his apology?

Oh! He hugged her. It was his mother!

I'm waiting for the full transcript, because I'm in the mood to pick it apart, especially the material about Buddhism, which, he said, is the religion he was raised in, which teaches not to pursue desire, and which he drifted away from. Indeed! So he wants to get back to Buddhism — he said, as his mother looked down into her folded hands in her lap and then off to the side. He wants to return to Buddhism, but he's going back to therapy. Why not to a Buddhist retreat, if Buddhism is the answer? Or was he just throwing things at us that he thought might work to make us love him again? Buddhism, therapy, leave my children alone...

Deep down, what does he really believe? If I were writing a fictionalized version of his story, I'd have him believe that he is the greatest golfer of all time and that this grand stature authorizes him to do what fits his fabulous mind and body. People get to see the manifestation of that mind and body on the golf course and in those idealized advertisements, but outside of that he must do what has worked, and that means having the anchor of a beautiful family and the whole range of intense sexuality that belongs to him — because he is what he is. Now, he's been called to account by conventional minds and all those people who make money through him — the PGA, the sports networks, advertisers — and they are dragging him down to their mundane morality with no concern for what it took to build the superior mind and body that is Tiger Woods. He is cornered and contemptuous, but he must abase himself for these little people and act as though he agrees. The outrage!

IN THE COMMENTS: dbp quotes the linked CNN article — "'I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you,' said the golfer, dressed in a blue button-down shirt and a blazer" — and says:
Can we take a closer look at his shirt? The resolution of the video was not high enough for me to detect button holes on Mr. Woods collar, but I could easily see that it wasn't buttoned down . What does this mean? He wears a button down shirt but leaves it flapping in the breeze — maybe his emotions are making him miss details. I think he should stay off the links for a while more.

Either that, or the reporter was mistaken about the type of shirt.
What does it mean? It means you can't trust CNN to report even the plain facts that are visible on screen to us here at home.

UPDATE: I go through the transcript here.

"But for the life of me, who in God’s name is into a Superwoman whose underwear slips while carrying celery?"

Nattb is puzzled. But it would all make sense if only he knew about "The Peculiar Art of Mr. Frahm."

Was that Austin IRS suicide plane-crasher a lefty or a righty?

And should we even be talking about that? Are we talking about that? And who started it? He started it!

I'm trying to sort out the bickering between Allahpundit and WaPo's Michael Berston True/Slant's Michael Roston.

And then there's the old it's terrorism and they won't call it terrorism rant.

I think some people want to bounce political arguments off the incident, but they don't want to look unseemly doing that, so they need to say that somebody on the other side said something first. It's quite farcical.

ADDED: To the extent that what Stack did is terrorism, it's completely ineffective terrorism. When a single act of violence kills a terrorist who is acting alone, what are we supposed to feel terror about? There's no threat of something else happening. Al Qaeda is effective because there's a whole organization, with more individuals ready to go on suicide missions. The Unabomber was an effective solo terrorist because he mailed his bombs and, uncaught, represented a continuing threat. Solo + suicide ≠ terrorism.

The end of the quadruple jump.

It's been proved, perhaps conclusively, that skaters should not attempt the quad in competition:
An analysis of all quadruple jumps attempted in major international competitions in the last four seasons shows that only about a third of them would earn more points than if the skater had performed a triple lutz, an easier jump, but worth as many points when performed well. 
Evan Lysacek — the American gold medalist — excluded the quad from his program:
"For me, it’s just as difficult to have the intricate program that I have and execute everything as it would be for me to execute a quad... I guess if you asked a speedskater if there is one stroke they do that’s more important than any other, they would say no, that every stroke is equally important. I feel that way about my program, that each stroke I take, each step I take, each jump, each spin, is of equal importance. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the simpler moves and to take them for granted."
And so it is with life... I feel like saying. It sounds like a general personal philosophy, doesn't it?

Radio alert.

I'll be on the "Week in Review" show with Joy Cardin on Wisconsin Public Radio at 8 a.m. Central Time (9 ET). This is the show where I'm on the right and someone else — today it will be Tony Palmieri, another professor — is on the left, and we talk about various issues from the past week.

Go here to listen on-line live. And you'll be able to listen to the archived show here, later. It's a call-in show, so feel free to call 1-800-642-1234. You don't have to be from Wisconsin to call. (But if you're in Madison, use the local number: 263-1890). You can also e-mail questions to talk@wpr.org. Come on, make me answer your question, in real time.

UPDATE: Heh heh.

February 18, 2010

At the Late Night Notes Café...

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... you can always find one more detail to observe and describe.

Obama is renaming the Iraq war — from "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to "Operation New Dawn."

It's supposed to represent some change in the nature of the war — presumably, that it's now going to be more like an improved formula for dishwashing detergent. But don't laugh. It does mean something. It means the President thinks switching labels is doing something.

ADDED: It's a new dawn! It's a new day! It's a new life! For me! And I'm feeling good!

Tube in...

... tube out!

(Via Kaus.)

"Seat availability is on a first come, democratic basis."

I just read that on some restaurant website. My question is: What the hell is democratic about first come, first served?

At the Alienation Nightclub...



... you can walk right by.

"Retirees Trade Work for Rent at Cash-Poor Parks."

Well, that makes it sound kind of pathetic. But look at the video, and it seems quite lovely. We want to do it!

Big Teacher Is Watching You.

"School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home."

***
Orwell presaged it:
The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

"I think 2010 is going to be a phenomenal year for the conservative cause."

"And I think that Barack Obama is a one-term president."

Cheney at CPAC.

Was it just by chance that the building that small plane crashed into housed the IRS?

In Austin, Texas.

Here's the pilot's suicide note (supposedly):
We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals [sic] represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal [sic] is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.
Read on. It's long. And it's about taxes. It ends like this:
I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

"I like the way you walk. I like the way you talk."

"I like the way you walk. I like the way you talk. Susie Q."

Brilliant, brilliant rock recording, by Dale Hawkins.

Dale Hawkins, dead at 73. RIP.

With the recent death of Doug Fieger — of "My Sharona" — it's been a tough week for guys known for one great song about a girl's name. (Is there anyone else in that category?)

"Representing either Italy..."

"... or the Clampett family."

Rush Limbaugh keeps mocking Obama for being too much of a professor.

And I agree with a lot of this mockery. So don't get me wrong: I like Rush Limbaugh. I listen all the time. But that means I catch some things that you may not notice. And I caught a couple of ironies in yesterday's show.

First, he's twice played this clip from the Rodney Dangerfield movie "Back to School":



And yesterday he says that it shows "an economics course with an Obama type professor, an arrogant, conceited snob who has no understanding of what really happens in the business world... who thinks he has all the answers."

So Obama doesn't know what goes on in the real world, and the evidence of what goes on in the real world is... a Hollywood movie. Irony #1.

Later, after this putdown of professors, he's talking with a caller about the subject of "the Big Lie" (a concept from Hitler's "Mein Kampf"):
RUSH: Well, see that's the nature of the Big Lie. You tell something --

CALLER: You're right.

RUSH: -- so audacious that nobody could possibly think they'd make it up.

CALLER: No. No. Well, Hitler used to do that. Goebbels was great for that, just tell a bigger lie and bigger lie --

RUSH: Hitler didn't need Goebbels. Hitler was the architect of all this stuff. Goebbels, he just implemented it all. He didn't need Bormann. He might have needed Rommel --

CALLER: -- started it all (crosstalk)

RUSH: -- and he might have needed Christoph Waltz, and Hitler might have needed Bormann.

CALLER: Yeah, that's right.

RUSH: But Goebbels made movies out there....
Rush and the caller are suddenly acting like a couple of know-it-all history professors. What the hell does Rush know about who Hitler needed? Irony #2.

A kid gets detention for a (big cliché) wisecrack ...

... and becomes an internet hero:



I'm not approving of what the kid did. HuffPo salutes him as "awesome." You really can't have kids making sexual remarks in class (as if it's "South Park"). But this shows what the internet can do. The earnestly detailed teacher's note makes for hilarity from this distance, and the kid gets another big laugh, as the biggest blog tells him "it was totally worth it" — getting detention.

"Is InstaPundit for sale, you ask? A better question: Who would buy it?"

Glenn Reynolds reacts to the sale of the blog Hot Air. I don't really understand what it means to sell a blog that has its character by virtue of a particular writer's voice (or, in the case of Hot Air, 2 writers' voices). It's especially incomprehensible when the person pocketing the money — Michelle Malkin, who owned Hot Air — is not the writer of the blog. Or does it make more sense that way? Ed Morissey and Allahpundit were paid by Malkin — I wonder how much — and now they will be paid by Salem Communication, which operates the poorly designed, ad-cluttered site Townhall.com.

Presumably, Ed Morissey and Allahpundit will retain the motivation to keep writing in the same way, but what if they don't, or what if they leave? What do their contracts look like? Presumably, they can't go off and start a new blog, taking their readers with them. But if Malkin is the one who got the money, and they are the ones who provide the entire substance of Hot Air, then how did Salem protect its interests? If Ed and Allah's writing is so valuable, wouldn't they be open to better offers? If they take them, where does that leave Salem?

Anyway, I've never wanted to be paid by someone to write my blog. I've turned down offers, because I'd be afraid of what that would do to my motivation. I wouldn't want to be constantly thinking about whether I'm writing because I have something to say and I'm having fun or because I need to give value for the money. (This doesn't mean I don't want to make money. I do! I just want the incentive of owning my own business. I make money through BlogAds. And I accept PayPal contributions from readers who want to give me, say, $10 now and then to show their appreciation.)

Why haven't I produced another post yet this morning?

Because I'm seething away in the comments on the Goldie Hawn/Buddhism post from yesterday!

At the Morning Teapot Café...



... after last night, we wake up transformed.

February 17, 2010

At the Teapot Inn...

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... you can pour yourself a big cup of reflection.

"We’re hoping to have the females whack the [Nancy Pelosi] piñata and males try their hand at a Harry Reid punching bag."

I love the way CPAC bad taste stops short of symbolic violence against women — except women-on-women violence because — what? — "cat fights" don't count?

Jeez, what idiots. This really undercuts the ability of conservatives to mock those godawful papier maché puppets that animate lefty protests.

"Avoid the term 'global warming'," Thomas Friedman says. "I prefer the term global weirding.'”

Because, apparently, then anything that happens can be evidence of the thing you need to be true so you can have the policy changes you wanted anyway, but for reasons people wouldn't support because they weren't scary enough. And "weirding" sounds scary.

Friedman is quite absurd. He begins his column by mocking people who are saying "because Washington is having a particularly snowy winter it proves that climate change is a hoax and, therefore, we need not bother with all this girly-man stuff like renewable energy, solar panels and carbon taxes."

But then he turns around and says "The fact that it has snowed like crazy in Washington — while it has rained at the Winter Olympics in Canada, while Australia is having a record 13-year drought — is right in line with what every major study on climate change predicts: The weather will get weird; some areas will get more precipitation than ever; others will become drier than ever."

So weather is not climate — which, duh — but he still wants to use weather as climate. And he even gets to say that cold is evidence of heat, because we shouldn't be saying heat anymore, we should be talking about weirdness.

Come on, that's really weird.

***

I see the analogy between global warming and the weapons of mass destruction used to justify the Iraq war. Those who planned the war believed there were other good reasons to go to war with Iraq, but they made a decision to use weapons of mass destruction as the reason to go to war, because they thought people could understand this reason and unite behind the war effort. But then, when the WMD were not found, the war looked like a big mistake.

Now, think about the analogy. Think about how people support the policies that are supposed to deal with global warming — renewable energy, solar panels, carbon taxes, etc. — and what other reasons they have for wanting those policies. Think about why they would decide to rely on the global warming prediction rather than those other reasons, and how they will need to scramble if the global warming theory proves untrue or is no longer believed.

If global warming were the only reason for doing the things that are needed to deal with global warming, then no scrambling is required. We can simply be happy about it. But the scrambling... that's what shows that people wanted the policies anyway.  And maybe they are right! Maybe going to war in Iraq was right even without WMD.

So why not stress the other arguments for renewable energy, solar panels, carbon taxes, etc.? Because it's not scary enough! Running low on traditional fossil fuel — the old energy crisis — just isn't crazy-making enough to get the public to accept great sacrifice and pain.

"The real story, of which Mr. Bayh's frustration is merely the latest sign, is the failure once again of liberal governance."

"For the fourth time since the 1960s, American voters in 2008 gave Democrats overwhelming control of both Congress and the White House. Republicans haven't had such large majorities since the 1920s. Yet once again, Democratic leaders have tried to govern the country from the left, only to find that their policies have hit a wall of practical and popular resistance."

When do Hollywood liberals favor teaching religion in schools?

When the religion is Buddhism, propounded by The Hawn (as in Goldie) Foundation and it's used "to rethink our whole approach to classroom education, integrating neuroscience with the latest social and emotional learning techniques," because "a peaceful, happy child is the first step towards a peaceful world."

Somehow the Other's religion is neuroscience, to be imposed on rowdy children to make them serene. Thanks, Hollywood liberals. You know, I can't think of one Hollywood movie about kids that had a placid protagonist. The movies always boost boisterous children. The great kids that we are encouraged to identify with are mischievous and too energetic for their stuffy teachers. If there were a movie with an aging hippie teacher character bringing nonviolence to the kids through Buddhist meditation, I'm virtually positive she would be a self-loving idiot whose was really about repression and a hostility to the vibrancy of youth. But outside of the movies, are our Hollywood friends on the side of the childish protagonists or the repressive authority figures?

The NYT big story about New York Governor David Paterson — focusing on his "closest confidant" David Johnson — is pretty much of a fizzle.

But what's the big deal here? He rose quickly, there are 2 felony drug arrests that date back to his teen years, and there were 3 "altercations with women, two of which led to calls to the police." And:
Some heads of significant government agencies have said they feel they have to go through Mr. Johnson, often known as D. J., to get to the governor. And several current and former administration officials said that Mr. Johnson’s dressing down of the governor’s Washington office in September contributed to the departure of several seasoned people from the office.

“I started getting messages from D. J. telling me to call certain players in my industry,” said one former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing the governor.

Mr. Johnson, the official said, started to manage administration press conferences, dictating the order and seating of speakers and calling agencies to request they draft statements on particular issues.

“We were all quite surprised about D. J. taking more of a policy role,” another former official said. “It seemed like it was a long way to come in a short period of time for a guy who had been the governor’s wing man.”
Is this the big exposé we've been hearing about? Saturn Smith says:
See, this piece was supposed to be a whopper... It was supposed, over the past two weeks, to be The Story that was going to force New York's inefficient, disorganized governor into becoming the second governor in a row to resign....

... I'm kind of hard pressed to do much more than give a cheer for a guy who has risen from being twice arrested for drug crimes as a teenager in in early-90s Spanish Harlem to being the closest aide of New York's governor....

So then, the big deal here must be the behavior towards women. And yes, it might be appalling. You can kind of sense that the New York Times wanted to just write, THIS IS APPALLING. Unfortunately, they were unable to do so....

The Times is trying to show a pattern of behavior without anything to go on but the word of one witness against the word of several others....

There's an extended section in the middle that is comprised almost completely of strange, neutral quotes about Johnson and how he's recently been seen to take over -- ably -- management of many political and even policy-oriented tasks. No one is quoted saying anything blatantly negative about Johnson's influence in the entire 2,175 word piece....

The piece then charges forward with some stunningly sour-grapes sounding quote...
Was there more to this story that wasn't fit to print?

February 16, 2010

"I am Dr. Amy Bishop."

What Amy Bishop yelled while punching a woman in the head in an effort to get her to relinquish the last child booster seat at the International House of Pancakes. Bishop, who went on to kill 3 of her colleagues and injure 2 more, was charged with assault in 2002.

52% of Americans think Obama doesn't deserve to be reelected.

According to a CNN poll.

And look at this: Indonesians protested a statue — financed by donations — of the child Barack Obama that had been erected in a public park. The thing had to be moved.

"If one is gay, as am I, one is supposedly predisposed to adore figure skating."

"I missed that day at Gay High. I watch a certain amount of skating. I like that it is fast and difficult and only rotates in one direction. I love the costumes. I hate the music. Like many sports, it has become brutal and artless. The tricks are too hard to be beautiful. I used to love school figures: the endless figure-eights and edges and concentration. But that old-style skill is not interesting enough for today's television consumers."

"If you were sitting in a spacecraft puttering around Pluto and looking out the window, this is what you'd see..."


Beautiful!

Jonathan Chait calls Evan Bayh a "wuss."

He thinks he's "just pathetic" that Bayh is quitting because he "hates the Senate" and "hates the left bloggers."

Ooh. Chait is angry. Bayh is angry. The Democrats are an angry, angry party now. They won, and then they all got so angry with each other. It's hard being a liberal. You want so much for so many people, and then you don't get it. It hurts. It hurts a lot.

At the Global Mirror Café...

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... you can see things a new way.

Why is The Beatles' "Revolver" the Vatican's idea of the best record album of all time?

Because of the priest and the church in "Eleanor Rigby"? No. Looking at what else they came up with...
Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon, Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, whose “illuminating simplicity and musical thrust” they hail. Also: U2’s Achtung Baby, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan fame’s The Nightfly, Carlos Santana’s Supernatural, Paul Simon’s Graceland and David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name.
... I'm guessing they're just Baby Boomers like me.

There's no Bob Dylan though. He's okay himself, but he "harshly tested the ears and patience of listeners with their inferior imitations, thinking that their tortured meanderings might interest somebody." Ha ha. Religious opinions.

"Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with US and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations..."

"Though Barack Obama has banned US agencies from using forms of torture such as waterboarding, Pakistani questioning techniques are frequently brutal."

So, Baradar is being tortured now?

What if there were 2 openings on the Supreme Court? Would it help or hurt the Democrats?

Tony Mauro muses:
Stories raising the possibility that justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg may leave at roughly the same time have suddenly become part of the Washington conversation, already fueling nightmare scenarios of dragged-out battles between a weakened President Barack Obama and a fiercely contentious Senate over possible replacements.

"Republicans are out for blood, and Democrats are out for a fight," said Steve Wermiel, professor at American University Washington College of Law. "We're close to a peak of partisan wrangling in Washington.... We all believed you wouldn't dare filibuster a Supreme Court nominee because everyone recognized that the Supreme Court needs to do its work... That assumption may be less true than it once was."
... [I]n a strange way, two vacancies at once might actually help Obama push through at least one liberal nominee. President Ronald Reagan perfected that strategy from the conservative side in 1986 when Chief Justice Warren Burger retired. Reagan nominated William Rehnquist, then an associate justice, to move up to chief and named Antonin Scalia to replace Rehnquist as associate justice. That meant hitting the Senate with two nominations at once. The Senate could only stomach one bruising battle that summer, it appeared, so Rehnquist took the heat while Scalia, who arguably should have troubled Democrats even more, sailed through without a dissenting vote.
That was pre-Bork. And the game changed post-Bork. There will be no stealth appointment anymore.
... Nan Aron of the liberal Alliance for Justice struck an optimistic note. "Let's be positive," said Aron, a veteran of confirmation wars. "Two vacancies on the Court gives the president a historic opportunity to appoint justices who will begin to change the national discussion around critical issues affecting the environment, consumer protections and civil rights."
Thanks for the (unnecessary) heads-up, Nan.

Lawprof Doug Berman says:
I urge Prez Obama pick more "first" types of nominees, which could involve any varied combination of gender, racial, ethnic and/or professional and personal backgrounds.  I also urge him to nominate whichever "first" he thinks will make the best Justice, and to name this person as quickly as possible after a sitting Justice announces she or he is stepping down, and to urge hearings and a vote on this nominee ASAP.  I believe that following this script will, for all practical purposes, prevent a filibuster no matter what the perceived politics of the nominee.
Yes, be very quick! That'll stun the opposition. Perhaps Obama can, early on, do his "the time for talking is over" routine. That's worked well for him. Surely, if you nominate a couple people and don't give us time to study their background, the GOP will be lulled into honoring the tradition against using the filibuster. Absurd!

"Politics in Indiana is the old boy’s school. They’re getting ready to put one of their own in," said Tamyra D’Ippolito...

... to FireDogLake.
"My gut feeling tells me they’re meeting in a room, I don’t know if they’re smoking cigars," D’Ippolito said, basically working under the assumption that Bayh’s announcement was timed so the state party could pick the nominee by themselves. "The timing of this is amazing."

D’Ippolito told me she is the first woman to ever run for the US Senate in Indiana. Her impression from working on prior campaigns and from this one is that Indiana political culture is a "tight old boys school, it borders on sexism." In a state where the population is 52% women, D’Ippolito says "in the future, we women of Indiana are not going to tolerate" the chummy, insider culture.
Is that the way to run in Indiana, by flinging about accusations about how sexist everyone is? And FireDogLake has to walk back in an update:
The fact that Jill Long Thompson was the Democratic candidate for Governor in Indiana just two years ago would seem to cut against D’Ippolito’s suggestion that Indiana Democratic politics is ruled by men.
Ouch.

But it's an interesting situation, because  D'Ippolito has been collecting signatures to get on the Democratic primary ballot, to run against Evan Bayh:
She’s collected 3,500 of the 4,500 signatures, 500 in each Congressional district in Indiana, which are needed by noon tomorrow [February 16th] in order to qualify. D’Ippolito said that she’s particularly short in IN-08, in the Terre Haute/Evansville area of the district. Her campaign manager has contacted all of the heads of the county Democratic parties asking them if they would help her get on the ballot.

But she’s not getting the sense that they want to be helpful in that effort.
Now that Bayh is out, there's a danger that D'Ippolito will be the only candidate on the ballot, and other Democrats will need to run against her as write-ins. It's not surprising that people don't want to help her. Here's her campaign website. Read her background. She's a café owner who has never held public office (though she was once a board member of something called Women Inspire).

Why did FireDogLake operate as a brainless mouthpiece for this woman? Are they hoping for a Republican victory in the fall?

Here's Politico:
It would be something close to a nightmare scenario for Democrats: were D’Ippolito to qualify for the ballot, she would be the likely nominee and the party would be left to face the GOP with a political neophyte who said she is running in part to take on a party establishment she said practices “sexism with a big S.”...

[I]n the mad scramble following Bayh’s surprise decision, worried Democrats in Washington and Indianapolis were taking the prospect seriously.

“This would be a complete and unmitigated disaster,” said a leading Democrat in the state. “We’d be up sh—’s creek.”...

And conservatives saw it as an opportunity to wreak havoc among their foes.

"This could be fun," wrote RedState blogger Erick Erickson. "Those of you in Indiana should go out of your way to help Tamyra get the signatures he needs by tomorrow at noon."
Here's the adorable troublemaker:


Watch out, Sarah-haters, she's wearing lipstick!

She says things like: 
“I’m saying it’s an inside job. Indianagate instead of Watergate... The White House set this up, decided who they are gonna put in office, called the democratic county heads and told them to secretly get signatures. Bingo-bongo.”
Bingo-bongo!

IN THE COMMENTS: Fred4Pres croons:
Not so tall or tan, but lovely, The girl named D'Ippolito goes walking..
And when she passes, each Hoosier she passes, goes oh...
But we watch her so sadly...
Ooh! We'll be up sh*t's creek so badly...

UPDATE: D'Ippolito says she's got the signatures... and then takes it back...

"We have enough signatures and we're ready to go to court. We're ready to fight," said d'Ippolito. "And yes it's politics, and I'm sure there are certain Democrats, I hope they are the minority, I'm sure there are certain Democrats who will try those underhanded activities. I hope they would be wiser not to take that road."...

D'Ippolito said the people of Indiana should choose the candidate, not a party committee. "And this is what the machine in Indiana does not want to happen, because they want to choose the candidate, they want to put another Blue Dog in there," she said. "It's a different body than Evan Bayh, same thing, different face, Blue Dog. We don't want any more Blue Dogs. It's bye-bye Bayh, and bye-bye Blue Dogs in the state of Indiana."

I asked d'Ippolito about the possibility that Republicans may have given her a hand. Erick Erickson, for example, personally encouraged his Indiana readers to sign her petitions. "God bless him, because anybody can sign the petition," said d'Ippolitio. "Republican, Democrat, independent, teabag person, any registered voter with a warm pulse can sign."...

Late Update: After telling TPM that she already had the necessary signatures collected, d'Ippolito is now denying to Greg Sargent that she has them yet, saying instead that she would have them in time.
Oh, she's cagey! Oh! But they watch her so sadly....

UPDATE #2: Sketchy reports that she failed to meet the deadline.

Deglamorizing Sarah Palin.

Wow.

Okay, now I'd like to see a set of pictures of the little dweeb leaning over a computer screen, working on photographs of Sarah Palin, cropping her long hair and neutralizing the makeup colors. Because I bet he/she is not sexy at all.

I'd like to see the smirk on the photoshopper's face as he/she decides to make the supposedly natural lips a ghoulish purple and the short hair completely clunky. (It reminds me of this.)

By the way, to be realistic, if you take off the glasses, you need to enlarge the eyes to undo the distorting effect of prescription lenses. But what the hell? Smaller eyes are less pretty, and this exercise is all about stripping away Sarah's prettiness. Honesty is not the point. It has very little to do with what Sarah Palin would look like if she chose a less glamorous look.

This is an effort at defeminizing Sarah — like drawing a mustache on her. In fact, there's a good chance that Sarah Palin would look more beautiful with subtler makeup, no glasses, and a well-designed, more professional hairstyle.

Having said all that, let me add that Sarah Palin's looks obviously are part of her popularity. And I can list many other politicians — female and male, Republican and Democrat — who have won favor in the hearts of the people through their looks. One of them is sitting in the White House.

IN THE COMMENTS: Akiva said:
Actually, her degamorized look distinctly reminded me of former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

That was when women were trying to look serious and slightly manly to be considered a valid politician.

I thought it was ok for a woman to look like a woman and still be taken seriously nowadays. Sorry, my bad.

"It was beautiful to see the people who paid him respect on his deathbed — the people who he was the biggest fan of. It was absolutely sinister."

So said Sharona Alperin — My Sharona.

That's a strange quote, isn't it? It makes you wonder if Sharona knows the meaning of the word "sinister." Assuming she does, what is she saying? That Doug Fieger wanted the respect of his peers and was denied it?

February 15, 2010

At the Reflection Nightclub...

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... you can expound ponderous things or chat about glittering superficialities.

Picasso's "Devil," painted on corrugated cardboard.

"Devil" by Picasso

We were amused by the pop-up penis.

IN THE COMMENTS: Julius Ray Hoffman said:
That thing is haunting. At first I thought it was ridiculous, maybe even a joke. Then it kept popping up out of my subconscious... OWL. PENIS. CARDBOARD. PICASSO. OWL. Now every time I scroll down the Althouse main page to see if any of my Rightist-baiting trollish comments have had their intended effect, I encounter that thing and each time I feel like I have been flicked on my forehead by its cardboard pop-up penis. OWL. PENIS. CARDBOARD. PICASSO. 
Ha ha. You'll never think of corrugated cardboard the same way again. Ribbed, for her pleasure.

A historical plaque.

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In the Tippecanoe County Courthouse in Lafayette, Indiana.

The capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

"It was unclear whether he was talking, but the officials said his capture had provided a window into the Taliban and could lead to other senior officials. Most immediately, they hope he will provide the whereabouts of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed cleric who is the group’s spiritual leader."

Excellent.

(Why do we care about Mullah Omar's eye shortage?)

If Amy Bishop had turned out to be right wing, the MSM would have made a big deal out of it.

Of course, you know it's true. Glenn Reynolds observed that, and Lawyers, Guns and Money just can't handle that truth.
That conservatives are working a false equivalence is made evident by Reynolds's pathological desire to find evidence that will allow him to turn this tragedy into mere political gamesmanship. Unlike his acolyte Althouse, whose affected contrarianism runs so vast and deep she'll write anything if she thinks one rube will do a double-take reading it, Reynolds plays politics to win. He wants to own the narrative, and because his platform trickles up into all the right places, he mostly has a legitimate claim to it.
Me, Affected?

And, hey, rubes: That indented paragraph is lefty talk.

ADDED: LGM expends much effort trying to make it look as though the only source for Bishop's politics was some student review on RateMyProfessors. But — I've already linked to this here's the Boston Herald:
A family source said Bishop... was a far-left political extremist who was “obsessed” with President Obama to the point of being off-putting

"When you gonna give it to me, give it to me? It is just a matter of time, Sharona?"

"Is it just destiny, destiny?"



The ultimate destiny claims Doug Fieger, lead singer for The Knack. RIP.

ADDED: "... Sharona Alperin, is now a high-end real estate agent in Los Angeles."

Q: "So is the battle of Tippecanoe the most important historical event that ever took place in Indiana?" A: "That and the birth of Evan Bayh."

A conversation that took place this past Saturday in front of this mural...

DSC07866

... in the Tippecanoe County Courthouse, in Lafayette, Indiana.

And now, Evan Bayh is moving on from the Senate to... ???.

"I'm doing fairly well for a grandmother who had a monkey tangled up in her hair last month on a ghat in Varanasi at sunset."

"Back home again now, I can report that in the midst of the zap that is India, with its heartbreaking, gorgeous, hallucinatory, dazzling, kaleidoscopic, mind-blowing grandeur and loud reality -- a place where having a monkey's hand trapped in your dreadlocks is pretty par for the course -- I came to three decisions about my own country."

I didn't know Americans were still trekking to India to learn about themselves and attain enlightenment and so forth, but let's see what 3 things Ann Lamott figured out. It's not: 1. India does not exist for the purpose of providing psychedelic experiences to Baby Boomers, 2. White ladies should not affect dreadlocks, and 3. I have had it with these motherfucking monkeys in my motherfucking hair.

It's:

1. "If the people on the streets of India can keep their humor and good nature, I can keep mine."

2. "[F]orgive John Edwards."

3. "I am going to trust this guy Obama."

I kid you not. Those are the 3 things Anne Lamott discovered in India, and I am definitely — without even going to India — keeping my sense of humor about that.

Evan Bayh bye.

Bye bye.

ADDED: I'm watching the press conference streaming at C-SPAN.

AND: He's saying Congress is too partisan and can't get things done. "I do not love Congress." The qualities he has are "not highly valued in Congress." He, we're to believe, is a leader, and so, he does not belong in Congress. He's positioning himself to run for President, right?

ALSO: "If Washington could be more like Indiana, it would be a better place." I agree! We were just in Indiana over the weekend, and I love Hoosiers.

IN THE COMMENTS: Deirdre Mundy said:
Hmmm.. Althouse and Meade take a whirlwind trip to Indiana, and the following day, Bayh retires.....

Coincidence? Doubtful....
Ha ha. And while we were in Indiana, we talked about Evan Bayh in the shadow of a mural depicting a U.S. President. I am seeing Bayh lying in wait to take down Obama in 2012. Someone serious needs to be ready to do that if Obama's failure becomes too horribly conspicuous or if — remember my long-shot prediction? — Obama chooses not to run.

Emily Bazelon and Dana Goldstein talk about Lori Gottlieb's "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough."



I'm embedding this because I can't embed the diavlog that I did last week with Gottlieb herself. "Marry Him" is the book I was talking about back here, where I responded strongly to someone who said that books based on Atlantic magazine articles aren't worth much more than the original article. (Here's the original "Marry Him!" article.) And I said:
I just paid $25+ for a 300+-page book that was an expansion of an article from The Atlantic. I did that for a Bloggingheads diavlog, and — you'll see when it's up — the author scolded me for skimming. Did that open the door for me to scold her for padding? Readers and writers — we all have our tactics and must guard our own interests. You pad. I skim. Or I take a look in the bookstore and put that thing right back on the pile. Unless I'm scheduled for a diavlog. In which case, I tough it out. Up to a point. Then I just scream. On my blog.
But you won't see when it's up, because it will never be up, because Gottlieb's side of the diavlog disappeared somehow. Technical difficulties, I'm told. All that work of skimming 300 pages and talking for 47 minutes.

The book is written in a breezy, chatty style, but I couldn't get a conversation rolling at all. When I asked questions based on what was in the book, she mostly said read the book, it's in the book, etc. etc. I was trying to get past the actual contents of the book and to understand her motivation for writing it. Did she really want to get married? Would she really settle for Mr. Good Enough? If so, why wasn't she married yet? Was she really giving women good advice?

Gottlieb relied heavily on social science surveys about how married people are happier, but married people are the people who got married. You can't say, then: The people who aren't married would be happier if they got married too. They are the people who couldn't find what they felt they wanted or couldn't find real love in their own hearts or inspire it in others or had a greater skepticism about the value of relationships or who put a lot of stock in personal freedom or any number of other things. It was irrational to extrapolate that marriage would make them happy too. Even assuming those surveys about who's happy are sound (or even say married women are happier than single women).

ADDED: Look, some NYT reporter spent an evening with Lori Gottlieb and got just about nothing interesting out of her. Here, you can see me in real time, trying to get Lori Gottlieb to talk about something less trivial than how tall or short people are. This is late in the conversation, and I am struggling to remain decently gracious:



AND: Let me give you 2 more of my clips. In this one, I'm trying to get at Gottlieb's complaint about feminism (and getting nowhere):



In this clip, I invite Gottlieb to talk about divorce.



Could you tell what the other end of the conversation was like? At first, Gottlieb didn't understand what I was saying. She thought I said that she'd already written something called "Divorce Him." (I wonder if "good listener" is one of the factors we should toss out in our search for Mr. Good Enough.) When she got my question, which was whether she would also advise married women to divorce men who had stopped being good enough, she was clear that the answer was yes. She said "You're not dead" very sarcastically. The idea that marriage is a permanent commitment seemed not to be ping-ponging around anywhere in her head. You stay with that man to the extent that he serves your interests.

"She was upset, but not overly emotional, approaching her appeal 'like a game of chess'..."

You know the kind of chess game where you suddenly sweep all the pieces off the board and onto the floor.

"A far-left political extremist who was 'obsessed' with President Obama to the point of being off-putting."

Sound like anyone familiar?

February 14, 2010

With sufficient followers on Twitter, you can cry out in the midst of an incident, get mass support...

... and get the big corporation to tweet you an apology:
Director Kevin Smith was kicked off a flight leaving Oakland airport because they deemed him a safety risk and asked him to leave the flight....

"I broke no regulation, offered no 'safety risk,' (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?)," he Tweeted. "I'm way fat… But I'm not THERE just yet."
Later:
"Dear @SouthwestAir, I'm on another one of your planes, safely seated & buckled-in again, waiting to be dragged off in front of the normies," he continued to Tweet. "Look how fat I am on your plane! Quick! Throw me off!"

Southwest even sent him some apologetic Tweets after they saw all the support he received on Twitter for his embarrassing inconvenience.
Life is so vivid and in the moment these days, isn't it? But did the plane single out Smith because he was the heaviest person? Once one of my sons got kicked off a plane that was overloaded. He was pretty skinny, but he got picked because he had the last assigned seat and the airline didn't try hard enough to get a volunteer:
Two people did volunteer, but American only needed to kick off one person and so it would only offer one of these two the measly $200 travel certificate, and the two volunteers didn't want to split up. So one of my sons had to leave, to get the next bus to Madison, at 11 pm, and arrive at the Memorial Union at 2 am — on a cold night, with no shelter open, and nothing warm to wear, because he hadn't worn a coat in Austin, and his luggage had traveled on the plane.

Many passengers on the plane witnessed how rudely my sons were treated and at least one came up afterwards to say how offended he was and how he was going to write a letter to the airline about it....
Today, there'd have been a lot of tweeting going on.

The suicide's...

... shoes.

Models were terrified in Alexander McQueen's shoes. Prescient?

Witness the brutality:



(If you have trouble playing the embedded video, watch it here.)

Camouflaging myself in a Matisse...

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... doing a picture-in-picture Picasso...

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... stopping for that train-in-a-fireplace Magritte...

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... and getting lost amid the dimly lit glass cases in glass cases in the surrealist passages.

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(These are just some more of my pictures from the Art Institute of Chicago. We've moved on to Lafayette, West Lafayette, and back through Chicago, and — almost to Madison — we're picking up free WiFi (and cheap cheeseburgers) at a McDonald's near Beloit.)

At the Valentine's Café...

... you can post a love note...

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... and chat up a guy who looks like George H.W. Bush...

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Greetings from Lafayette, Indiana.

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The Delahunt/Amy Bishop connection.

So the news comes out that the University of Alabama-Huntsville biology professor, charged with murdering 3 colleagues, shot her brother to death, back in 1986, and the District Attorney's office made the decision not to file charges. The District Attorney was William Delahunt, who has been a member of Congress since 1996.
[Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier] said Bishop was being booked into jail when then-Chief Polio, or someone on his behalf, called and ordered the booking process stopped. Bishop was then released to her mother.

Frazier said the records from the case have been missing since at least 1987. "I don't want to use the word 'cover-up,' but this does not look good," he said.

“I was not on duty at the time of the incident, but I recall how frustrated the members of the department were over the release of Ms. Bishop," Frazier said. "The release of Ms. Bishop did not sit well with the police officers and I can assure you that this would not happen in this day and age.”...

In an interview at his home Saturday, Polio, 87, told the Globe: "There was no cover-up." 
And the next thing you know, Delahunt says he may not run for reelection.

It's all about the Valentine's love!

If you want, you can marry. If you try, maybe you can have a baby...

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... or a grandniece!

"The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws..."

"... at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made."

Huh? Why would it just be skeptics who would be interested in evidence of serious flaws in the science? I'm amazed by paragraph 6 of an article that begins:
The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.
Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.
And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
Everyone should perceive flaws! To talk about "sceptics" as the ones who will "seize" upon "evidence" of flaws is unwittingly to make global warming into a matter of religion and not science. It's not the skeptics who look bad. "Seize" sounds willful, but science should motivate us to grab at evidence. It's the nonskeptics who look bad. It's not science to be a true believer who wants to ignore new evidence. It's not science to support a man who has the job of being a scientist but doesn't adhere to the methods of science.