March 13, 2010

"2300 show up for St. Louis Tea Party..."

"... only 30 show up for St. Louis 'Coffee Party.' And that 30 includes the 'tea party infiltrators.'"

Senator Scott Brown calls the Democrats' push for health care "bitter, destructive and endless."

Well... you know, sometimes they get bitter, and they cling to health care...

"A few months before disappeared, her stepfather says he confronted her: 'What are you going to do, strap a bomb on and blow up something?'"

"He recalled that she responded: 'If necessary, yes.' 'She never liked who she was,' her mother said. 'She was always looking for something.'"

A second American woman, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 31, has been arrested in that plot to murder a cartoonist who depicted Muhammad. The other woman is Colleen R. LaRose, 46, AKA "JihadJane."

I find it especially hard to understand an American deciding to kill a cartoonist. I can understand how someone coming from our culture could become consumed with anti-government passion adopt a violent path aimed at government targets. And I understand the religious path toward violence and can see that strand in American culture too. And I know converts can be the most passionate religionists. Religionists might aim at private citizens. (I'm thinking of the pro-lifers who've targeted abortion doctors.) But still, going against a cartoonist. How can that happen?
On Sept. 11, she suddenly left Leadville, Colo., a small town in the Rocky Mountains, for Denver, then for New York, to meet and marry a Muslim man she connected with online, her family says. Ms. Paulin-Ramirez, who is 5-foot-11 and blonde, phoned her mother and stepfather in Leadville, providing them with an address in Waterford, Ireland, they say.
I suppose she was drawn in by the passionate intensity of the man, and he came up with the specifics. Killing a cartoonist... it was exotic... erotic.

Animal dentistry.

How does a hippopotamus get its teeth cleaned? Zebra.

"I guess she dropped her purse. Except you never do that. Never."

The 82-year-old father of the woman who died after jumped onto the subway track, supposedly to retrieve a dropped bag. "It’s too late now... I’ll be praying for the rest of my life, until I die."

The woman, Rose M. Markos, was a graduate of NYU School of Law.

Rush Limbaugh, still pissed about hippies after all these years.

Even though I am kind of a hippie — an evolved hippie —I was amused this rant from Friday's show, which I listened to in podcast form just now. What set him off was this dreamy Nancy Pelosi murmur:
PELOSI: Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or, eh, a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance, or that people could start a business and be entrepreneurial and take risk but not [be] job-locked because a child has asthma or someone in the family is bipolar. You name it. Any condition is job-blocking.
Now, I think it's really important that under the current system, for health insurance reasons alone, people stay put in jobs instead of moving freely and efficiently into work that would be better for them. Insurance and work shouldn't be linked like that. I would love to find a way out of that problem, even though I loathe and dread the Democrats' heath care bill. Conservatives who like free markets and economic liberty ought to care about de-linking career and insurance choices. But what set Rush off was the kind of work that Pelosi used as her examples. You could be an artist or a photographer or a writer.
RUSH: So this is what the Democrats are fighting for. They're fighting for you not to have a job and still have health care so you can pursue your entrepreneurial risk of writing, painting, taking pictures. 
Because it's never an actual job to write, paint, or take photographs. In Rush's mind, artists have just got to be freeloaders.
It's just such a pain in the rear end to have to have a job. It's so damn mean of this country to require people to have a job. It stifles people. It stifles creativity and economic growth to require people to have a job, to have health care. What a country. Man, are we horribly rotten mean to people. So Pelosi says go ahead, health care will allow people to quit their jobs and write, take pictures and paint while the rest of us work to pay for it. While the rest of us work to pay for these... never mind.

[AFTER A BREAK] This is what Democrats are fighting for. Nancy Pelosi, this idiot Pelosi, thinks this country is Woodstock or Moscow or something. [PLAYS PELOSI AGAIN.]  So they're fighting for people to be able to quit work while the rest of us pay for their health care while they go out and be artists and photographers and tend to bipolar kids with asthma or what have you, and we're going to pay for this. This idiot thinks this is Woodstock. I mean, it's right out of the San Francisco mentality. It's just breathtaking here....
... I mean, she thinks of the country as Woodstock or as San Francisco.

...So quit work. Indulge your fantasies. Become an artist or documentarian, photographer, what have you -- and let the rest of us pay for your health care bill. And, by the way, while you're out there finding yourself, if you happen to get pregnant and want to have an abortion, no worries! We'll pay for that, too. But I want to focus on something here. "Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance." Now, one of the things that Obama has promised is that you will not lose your coverage. If you like it, you'll be able to keep it. Here is Pelosi admitting: If you're able to quit your job and have "free," quote-unquote, health coverage, who is hell is providing it for you?
I thought people were supposed to buy health insurance and the reforms (if they were any good) would make it possible to afford to buy health insurance individually, even if you had a pre-existing condition.
Pelosi inasmuch as confirmed single-payer, public option, universal health care in this quote, while she's attempting to establish solidarity with the nation's freeloaders! She's encouraging the freeloaders to freeload. Isn't it such a shame that this country requires people to work to have health care? How inhumane is that? So we're going to enable you to quit! If you want to dabble sitting there writing things, taking pictures or painting garbage that nobody will ever be able to understand, go for it!...
Art can't be work in Limbaugh's mind: Those writers and photographers and painters aren't going to be buying their insurance. As Limbaugh sees it, Pelosi is sending out a coded message to the nation's hippies: We will have taxpayer-funded health care as a government benefit in the end.
Just move to Haight-Ashbury. Just be done with it. Move out there and start painting murals or whatever you want to do, and all of your neighbors will come up and pay for your health care for you. 
... be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. 

I'd say the 60s left quite a mark on Rush Limbaugh. They left a mark on me too — quite a different mark though (and I was born on the same day in 1951 as Rush).

March 12, 2010

At the Grafitti Bridge Nightclub...

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... you can write whatever you want.

"With the goosebumpily gravel-voiced Alex Lambert and the adorably indie Lilly Scott inexplicably and tragically out of the running..."

"... this show is going to get so shark-jumpingly bad that it might as well be filmed on location at Sea World from now on."

Oh, come on. It's not that bad. First, "jumping the shark" doesn't mean getting dull. It means doing something desperately weird and out of keeping with what was good about a show. That's not this. Second, Paige Miles survived, thwarting the theory that Americans are racist. Third, Alex Lambert and Lilly Scott were low energy and they're responsible for their own low vote tabulation. Fourth, we already had a Lambert last year. Fifth, it's "American Idol." It's always been in large part about being kind of bad and loving somebody who doesn't deserve it and failing to appreciate somebody else who was better.

"They're professionals, musicians and housewives."

"They're frustrated liberal activists, disheartened conservatives and political newborns. They're young and old, rich and poor, black, white and all shades of other."

It's the Coffee Party:
Born on Facebook just six weeks ago, the group boasts more than 110,000 fans, as of Friday morning. The Coffee Party is billed by many as an answer to the Tea Party (more than 1,000 fewer fans), a year-old protest movement that's steeped in fiscal conservatism and boiling-hot, anti-tax rhetoric."

This new group calls for civility, objects to obstructionism and demands that politicians be held accountable to the people who put them in office.

"The government has become so broken that the will of the people has been lost in the political game," said Stacey Hopkins, 46, coordinator of the Atlanta, Georgia, chapter. "And the only voices you're hearing are the ones of those who are screaming the loudest...."
So, an un-hot movement. Kind of almost the same as no movement at all. But it has more Facebook fans. I'm wondering how this works. Everyone sits around coolly at their computer or perhaps goes to a coffeehouse and hangs out with other people, and they are all very polite and placid.

***

I'm so sick of getting email invitations to become a "fan" of a damned Facebook group. You get some Facebook friends and that triggers these endless, automatic invitations to become a "fan" of whatever group they join. If that's the modus operandi of the Coffee Party, I have all the more reason to think of these people as lame and their numbers — counted in Facebook fans — as consisting of people who friend too much and respond to meaningless prompting. Perhaps they do it to be polite. And, in that case, they have their movement that's about being civil. How very nice for them, and horribly meaningless for us.

The oldest person in the world...

... is a lot older than other oldest persons who've been identified as the oldest. 

From the video at the link, I have gleaned some tips for hanging onto life as long as possible:

1. Stay in bed, lying down, under thick covers.

2. Have cute kids romping around you, kissing you, and bringing you flowers.

"See, for example, the words of former Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska: 'If [the Pledge] was good enough for the founding fathers, its [sic] good enough for me....'"

Those words appear in Palin's Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire, Eagle Forum Alaska, July 31, 2006. In his dissenting opinion in the new 9th Circuit case upholding the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, Judge Reinhardt cited Palin's words in a footnote in support of the proposition that "some individuals" don't know their history:
For many Americans, the current version of the Pledge is the only version they have ever known. Some individuals not familiar with our political history may even be under the impression that its language dates back to the founding fathers.
Orin Kerr sees the hand of a smartass clerk:
I think it’s notable when a federal court of appeals judge with a well-established political view picks up a meme from political blogs and pokes fun at a politician on the other side in a pretty gratuitous way. It also screams “law clerk idea.” If you don’t think that’s notable, then I suppose we’ll just have to disagree.
A Kerr commenters defends Palin. DrGrishka says:
Reinhardt’s citation is misleading. The question to which Sarah Palin responded read:
11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
The answer was
Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance
It could be that she gave a stupid answer in which the “it” referred to the Pledge itself. That would be historically inaccurate. But the “it” could have just as easily referred to the phrase “under G-d.” If so, the answer would be completely plausible as founding fathers used such phrases all the time.
And Palin's task at hand was to be an effective political candidate, and that is not about parsing the question and saying the most technically correct thing. People who assume they are smarter than Palin need to perceive the contextual dimension of intelligence. Are you smart at doing the thing you are currently trying to do or smart in the abstract? Because life is not in the abstract, and the people who are smartest in the abstract are not the ones who win political power. Reinhardt/his law clerk was overconfident, perhaps, in his own intelligence and failed to pay attention to the context in which he was operating, a judicial opinion. Fortunately, the political process is pretty good at filtering out individuals afflicted with this form of stupidity. But if they have life tenure, as judges do, we are stuck with it. And yet, Reinhardt needed votes too, and here we see he is writing in dissent, having lost.

Another commenter, footnoter, says:
What a sad reflection on Reinhardt. When a judge gets to doing this, it’s past time to hang up the spurs.
On the topic of a 133-page dissent with its own table of contents, on a rather simple issue, I’m reminded of EZ Rider’s dictum: “simple arguments are winning arguments; convoluted arguments are sleeping pills on paper. . . . when judges see a lot of words they immediately think: LOSER, LOSER. You might as well write it in big bold letters on the cover of your brief”
[I]magine if Judge Bybee or Justice Scalia said “we have 50 states– a fact unknown to some Americans in power” with a footnote saying “see, e.g., President Obama’s remarks he had visited ’57 states.’”
What if the other side had done the equivalent? That question pops up so often these days.

Younger Americans are trending away from support for abortion rights.

According to this new Gallup poll:
In the mid-1970s, when Gallup started polling on the issue, adults aged 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 were the most supportive of legal abortion under any circumstances, and those 65 and older the least, with 50- to 64-year-olds falling in between. That pattern continued through the late 1990s. Since 2000, however, all age groups with the exception of seniors have shown similar levels of support for broadly legal abortion....
In the most recent period, from 2005 to 2009, the majority of all age groups favored the middle "legal only under certain circumstances" position. However, there was some differentiation in support for the more liberal abortion view, as roughly a quarter of adults aged 18 to 29, 30 to 49, and 50 to 64 -- versus 16% of seniors -- believed abortion should be legal under any circumstances.

At the same time, young adults were slightly more likely than all other age groups, including seniors, to say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.
Why this new trend? It could be that young people are influenced by their parents, and parents who oppose abortion have been having more children, especially in the post-Roe period — when the 18 to 29 year olds were born.

What has happened to our Hillary?

Hillary Rodham Clinton is — have you forgotten? — Secretary of State. And here we see her as the First Lady's sidekick at the 2010 International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony:


This photograph almost enrages me. Michelle Obama laughs openly and Hillary covers her mouth like a geisha. The photographer doesn't even get a clear shot of the shrinking former First Lady. A fuzzy head blocks our view.

Is Hillary Clinton some sort of special women's Secretary of State? Every time I see her, she's tending to some nurturing, women-oriented matter, helping people in the Third World and so on. Women of Courage... where's her courage? Or is her annoyingly modest posture a cover for a truly bold move in the offing? I hope so!

March 11, 2010

"The president is a person, not a product. We shouldn’t be referring to him as a brand."

What Axelrod supposedly said to Desiree Rogers, the former WH social secretary, after she talked to much about "the Obama brand."

"I was an idiot. I was in the wrong. About the breakup. About the haircut story."

"About so many things with her. Anything bad she says about me I can confirm."

Great, great, fabulous response to the revelation that the "worst boyfriend" in that hilarious Lynda Barry comic strip was, in fact, the beloved radio personality...

Ezra Klein grasps at straws after the Senate parliamentarian rules that if the House passes the Senate bill, it must go to the Prez for signature, before any reconciliation bill.

He says:
If Republicans figure out some nuclear level of obstruction that could actually derail the reconciliation process, then they will effectively own the worst elements of the Senate bill, and Democrats can just spend their time hammering Republican obstructionism that has so lost touch with reality that they'd rather keep legislation they're against than let Democrats fix it. Or so goes the argument.
"Or so goes the argument." Does that mean he buys the argument? Or is that just what others are saying? Because it's ridiculous to think that people won't hold the Democrats responsible for the bill they produce. Klein's readers are flaying him in the comments. E.g.:
Ezra do they actually pay you for this drivel or do you get supplemental pay from Acorn or the SEIU? You are a complete shill for Obama and have lost all objectivity. What a worthless piece of tripe. Please start posting a warning label on your articles that people may actually lose intelligence after reading your it.

To clarify, if the democrats ram this through with reconciliation they will be hammered in the November and 2012 elections. Trying to say the Republicans are responsible for this stupidity is so convoluted it is simply breathtakingly stupid....

"60% Say Their Kids’ Textbooks Place Political Correctness Above Accuracy."

A Rasmussen poll.

"An investigation of a sitting governor of New York is a complex, weighty matter indeed."

Says NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, appointing, as independent counsel, the estimable Judith Kaye.

"The 'can you believe uteruses' fake-out macho/not-macho daddy-card..."

TWOP on Michael Lynche on "American Idol":
Not so bad on the falsetto, but between the fake emotion bullshit and the stupid hand gestures and the "can you believe uteruses" fake-out macho/not-macho daddy-card, not to mention letting the backup singers carry 90% of the load which I didn't even consider he would do but makes total sense, and the camera shaking all over like it's giving birth to the stupidest cow of a baby as we're watching, and some unending glory note out of nowhere and for no reason, and mangling the lyrics into nonsensical, and generally being a total dickhead in every way, we're going to forget this happened. Trash-eeeeeeeee.

Jackson, of course, wraps his hand firmly around the shaft of Mike's life-giving penis. Ellen blah-blahs. Kara loses her fucking mind and puddles herself into some kind of empty-womb barren having-it-all bullshit that I hate to see happen, both as a humanist and as a feminist, and Simon angles for a blowie from his new girlfriend by going similarly nuts on how babies are great and semen is magic and ovaries can fly and whatever, I mean, you know I am Baby Crazy and I like ladies more than people who Like Ladies, but give me a fucking break and I'll say it again: Babies are the new dead people. The mothereffing end. I haven't anything left.
Thank you. I feel cleansed now. Took me a couple seconds to understand "Babies are the new dead people." That's not a reference to dead babies. It's a reference to the way last year on "American Idol," a contestant was promoted ahead of the others because his wife had died. This year, we're supposed to go all soft over the fact that this man's wife had a baby. We were supposed to be impressed that he auditioned while she was going through labor.

"Is there anything cooler than Al Franken at Netroots Nation?"

No, there is nothing cooler than Al Franken at Netroots Nation. It is absolutely the coolest thing known to mankind.

Men are more likely to be skeptical about global warming.

But why, exactly? Is it that women care more?

The Hispanic rebellion.

Why not? When health care reform hangs on every single vote, why shouldn't every single Congressperson perk up and call attention to what he/she wants? Once there's a breach in the wall of silent cooperation, it's every congressperson for him/herself in the dash for individual goodies.

Is it okay if I stand back and watch... or heckle with stuff like: Don't you know 100 human beings are dying every day because of you?

Binging and purging.

Sexually.

"Democratic insiders... said Massa hired a surprisingly large percentage of young gay men, and paid them so little that staffers were forced to live in the house with him."

"It's like he had people trapped."

The Democrats eat their own.

A father who stays home with his child while his wife works struggles with feelings of isolation and shame.

This was the story of my life, 25 years ago. My ex-husband wrote a novel about it. I couldn't believe, back then, the way this problem persisted. And now, here's this guy writing about it and getting an Instapundit link as if it's a fresh problem yielding new insights.

These deeply embedded sex roles... they don't change so easily. Being large-minded and flexible and into change isn't enough. It doesn't get at the root of what you really feel, and you can't just feel what you want to feel.

"I went to Cornell.... Ever heard of it?"

There's this:



And then there's the WSJ article calling Cornell Law School "white hot" and it wasn't clear what the reason was.

Some Cornell Law School applicants were citing that Andy Bernard character on "The Office" — in the clip — so the school "decided — let's have a little fun with this." They put the "Office" character on the front page of their website in a slideshow along with various "distinguished" alumni.

And some alumni, distinguished, presumably, but a lack of a sense of humor, started blogging things like "Somebody at the Law School Needs to be Fired." Oh, now they've updated that post to specify that the problem is that Andy Bernard isn't a positive character. He's "like the uncle in your family that nobody quite likes" and "you don't bring him up unless asked." And what are we to think about someone who demands that somebody get fired because he pushed the comedy envelope a little? If I had an uncle who did that I wouldn't quite like him.

An ear for humor is an excellent attribute for a prospective law student. When you read legal arguments, one thing you do is ask: Does this pass the laugh test? Understanding humor is a legal skill, people. Use it. And value your colleagues who have it.

So I think the new popularity of Cornell Law School might be that there are a lot of smart young people who think it will be cool to be able, some day, to say: "I went to Cornell.... Ever heard of it?" And I hope when they get into court, they run rings around the stuffed shirts who can't understand why you'd want to identify with a fictional fool.

***

Disclaimer: My son went to Cornell.  

Ever heard of it?

March 10, 2010

"Dear Howard Stern, Stop Pretending Like You Care About Gabourey Sidibe's Health."

The controversy continues.

"An act to amend the general business law, in relation to prohibiting the use of salt in the preparation of food by restaurants."

"This legislation will give customers the option to add salt after the meal has been prepared for them. In this way, consumers have more control over the amount of sodium they intake, and are given the option to exercise healthier diets and healthier lifestyles."

A law proposed in New York state. (Via Metafilter.)

"To the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I'm not sure why we're there."

The video of John Roberts, talking about the SOTU, is now available:



WaPo says:
Wednesday, Senate Democrats followed up with pointed criticism of Roberts, and at a hearing on the decision, a leading Democrat said the American public had "rightfully recoiled" from the ruling [in Citizens United]....

A Democratic strategist who works with the White House said the fight is a good one for Obama, helping lay the groundwork for the next Supreme Court opening. "Most Americans have no idea what the Supreme Court does or how it impacts their lives," the strategist said. "This decision makes it crystal clear."
Ha. I think very few people understand the case. The ones that think they do are probably wrong (in that they don't realize it's not about corporations contributing to candidates). So, yeah, "crystal clear." I think there are Democrats — including Obama at the SOTU — who are trying to get people to think something that is crystal clearly false.

At the Hydrangea Café...

DSC08193

... the conversation is tinged with blue.

There's a "growing theory that minority contestants need twice the talent of their white counterparts" to succeed on "American Idol."

And, after last night, that theory is going to get stronger. Except since we can already safely predict that Paige Miles's journey will end this week — as they say — shouldn't that mean that the theory is wrong? She really was, objectively, the worst. 

The teen heart throb's heart throbs its last...

... at age 38. Corey Haim, as he was in the 80s:


In later years, his problems were reality show fodder. Here's a 2-minute scene (NSFW) from "The Two Coreys":



"I should just put you in the ground, kid."

Endgame?

Stalemate?

March 9, 2010

"I am not dumb now."



(Via Terry Teachout.)

"The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering..."

"... while the court — according the requirements of protocol — has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.... I'm not sure why we're there."

Chief Justice John Roberts opines on the State of the Union.

"You feel bad because everyone pretends that she’s part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie."

"What movie is she going to be in? 'Blind Side 2,; she could be the football player.... [Oprah] told an enormous woman the size of a planet that she’s going to have a career... Oprah should’ve said, 'you need to get help, we don’t want to lose you.'"

Howard Stern talks about Gabourey Sidibe.

[Audio.]

"Like many insomniacs, I always feel a bit of bully pride in getting by on a few fractured hours each night while others complain if they don’t get a full, conked-out eight."

"For the insomniac Vladimir Nabokov, I think that sleep, which he called 'the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals,' meant turning off, even for a few hours, his quicksilver, voracious consciousness. The daily nocturnal rest that presages the ultimate big sleep of mortality was for him a price both vexing and insulting, a 'nightly betrayal of reason, humanity, genius.'"

"It's not just these few hours..."

"... but I've been waiting since I toddled/for the great relief of having you to talk to."

(A year ago, today.)



ADDED: Also a year ago: this.

Allegations that Massa has "groped multiple male staffers working in his office."

I figured there was more to it than a stupid, drunken joke at a party. Otherwise, why wouldn't Massa stand his ground?

I wonder how much substance there is to this staffer-groping business? Was it annoying over-friendly arm-around-the-back stuff or something more? "Groping." There's a loaded word. Can we have some details?

Are the Democrats really policing their own? Does every member of Congress at Massa's level of touchiness get investigated, or was this selective investigation?
grope
1: to feel about blindly or uncertainly in search <grope for the light switch>
2 : to look for something blindly or uncertainly <grope for the right words>
3 : to feel one's way
I think they are all groping in one way or another.

UPDATED: Massa says it was a tickle fight.

"You feel that you're sacrificing your inhumanity..."

I misspeak, back in 2006:



This is part of a discussion of the oral argument in the partial-birth abortion case, Gonzales v. Carhart. (I'm teaching the case this week in conlaw2.) What I'm worrying about when I misspeak there is the way one seems inhumane when framing a profound moral question in legal terms. I meant to say that legal analysis makes you seem, to laypersons, as though you are sacrificing your humanity. I hate to misspeak — especially when it comes, as it so often does, in the form of saying the opposite of what you meant.  But misspeaking may reveal something you actually believe, even if you didn't want to say it. Perhaps, deep down, I think the structures imposed by legal analysis really are the best of humanity. And yet, I feel that for general audiences, I need to apologize for being a lawyer.

"Help me for I am lost."

Sayeth the spiral notebook...

DSC00693

... on the altar....

DSC00685

... of the chapel...

DSC00719

... where I may have said a prayer 5 years ago.

"After years of litigation, endless depositions, the fictionalized portrayal of this lawsuit and its litigants on television, and innumerable histrionics, this Court is left to conclude that with this lawsuit, to quote Gertrude Stein, 'there's no there there.'"

And so the federal district judge would shut the drawer on the 1996 scandal known as Filegate.
While this Court seriously entertained the plaintiffs' allegations that their privacy had been violated  — and indeed it was, even if not in the sense contemplated by the Privacy Act — after ample opportunity, they have not produced any evidence of the far-reaching conspiracy that sought to use intimate details from FBI files for political assassinations that they alleged. The only thing that they have demonstrated is that this unfortunate episode — about which they do have cause to complain — was exactly what the defendants claimed: a bureaucratic snafu.
By the way the there that wasn't there for Gertrude Stein was Oakland, California, which really does exist. She just didn't think much of it. I'm not sure what that says about Filegate.
Ever since Gertrude Stein wrote that there was “no there there” during a return trip to her childhood home in Oakland, California, her words have been distorted to imply that Oakland was a “nowhere,” a dissing along the lines of Neil Young’s “Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere,” which was funny for Young, a transplanted Canadian singer, to write for an U.S. pop market, because Young had really been a Californian before he transplanted himself to California, as Stein had been really been an American in Paris long before she left the U.S., and returning to her “there is no there there,” she later clarified that the Oakland of her childhood was gone, she was commenting on her great theme, not just hers, of course, a great thread in American literature concerning place and memory, we all lose the place of our childhood, and in adulthood clutch that place, or more accurately, a complex tangled image of that place, close to our bosom, as Cather did with her....
Hey, wait a minute. I see what he's doing there. That sentence goes on for 1,316 words more. Essay dismissed.

"Straight away Jamie said 'that looks like God', and my other boys (Robbie, four, and Tomas, 11) even said they could see a face."

"People might think I'm nuts, but I like to think it's Jesus looking out for us. We've had a tough couple of months; my mum's been really ill and it's comforting to think that if he is there, he's watching over us."

And by "there," she means in the lid of a jar of Marmite.

I'm only linking to this because it's on BBC.com, where it's ranking #4 on the "most read" stories list (and thereby encouraging the once-proud network to print more nonsense).

"Wow, each tourist spends on average $212,083.33."

"Those are some rich tourists!"

Oh, now, now, it's a problem that Barack Obama understands. Please be quiet and let him solve it. It's only going to cost $100 million and nobody you care about will have to pay for it.

(Via Fark.)

"Dieters are often advised to stop drinking alcohol to avoid the extra calories lurking in a glass of wine or a favorite cocktail."

"But new research suggests that women who regularly consume moderate amounts of alcohol are less likely to gain weight than nondrinkers and are at lower risk for obesity.... Although alcohol is packed with calories (about 150 in a six-ounce glass of wine), the nondrinkers in the study actually gained more weight over time: nine pounds, on average, compared with an average gain of about three pounds among regular moderate drinkers. The risk of becoming overweight was almost 30 percent lower for women who consumed one or two alcohol beverages a day, compared with nondrinkers."

This only applies to women, for some reason. I'm thinking that the urges satisfied by a drink or 2 correspond to the consumption of food. Even if a nice glass of wine is 150 calories, that's a lot less than a bowl of chips or a plate of cookies. Plus wine is sipped. That's slow. It's those foods that trigger wolfing that are going to make you fat.

Sometimes a watermelon is just a watermelon.

Poor Dan Rather. Don't you feel sorry for him? Look at the ridicule:
"[H]e couldn't sell watermelons to" who?  A state trooper?  He couldn't sell watermelons on a highway?  Yeah, the rest of it is "if a state trooper is flagging down the traffic on a highway, Obama couldn't sell watermelons," and Chris Matthews says, "Well, whoa! (muttering) I didn't think you meant that."  I'll tell you (laughing) from Massa describing Rahm Emanuel walking in a House shower with no curtains stark naked poking him in the chest and yelling at him about health care, to Dan Rather saying Obama "couldn't sell watermelons on a highway with a state trooper flagging down traffic," (laughing) I'm telling you, folks, they are falling apart. (interruption) No, it's no longer Black History Month.  If this had happened Black History Month, Oh.  Well, I don't know the menu was still up there or not, but this is hilarious.  Dan Rather! (laughing) "He couldn't sell watermelons..."  (laughing)...
... [Y]eah, some of you have written me notes.  "Don't you understand that Rather is saying this is what Republicans would say?" Of course he said Republicans are going to say this.  It doesn't matter.  Republicans have not said it.  Dan Rather did.
Now, you know darned well that if the racial slur conventionally perceived in "watermelons" had flashed through Dan Rather's still-flickering brain, he wouldn't have indulged in that particular Southernism. Rather has been dribbling Southernisms for decades and his enablers have petted him affectionately for being so darned sweet and cute and down-home. I'm sure this one was just a way of expressing the notion of incompetence — quite apart from race. It's meant to conjure up an image of someone unable to sell something that people really love even under really favorable selling conditions. The state troopers are there because you're supposed to picture the roadside stand, where the popular product alone is normally enough to lure drivers to stop. The troopers are providing even more help. They're flagging people down. That's all Rather meant. People are going to say Obama can't get anything done. That's it. If he'd have thought about race, he'd have censored "watermelons."

So I'll give Dan Rather a pass. But if we give Dan Rather a pass for the accidental appearance of racism, will anyone who isn't liberal be given a pass? I know they won't. That's the way it is.

What happens to the health care vote in the House when everyone knows each vote is "the" vote?

Hotline On Call has the details:
A reminder of where we stand now: Health care legislation passed by a 220-215 margin on Nov. 7. Since then, Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Eric Massa (D-NY) have resigned. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) passed away. Of that group, Abercrombie, Wexler and Murtha voted in favor. Massa voted against. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-LA), who voted for the bill, has said he will vote against.

That means Pelosi has lost 4 votes, bringing her to 216. Because there are only 431 members of the House, thanks to the vacancies, Pelosi needs exactly that number to pass reform. Arcuri's decision today brings the number of yes votes down to 215 -- one below the number needed to pass. 
How tense! I almost feel sorry for them.  Almost. What's going through those 431 fervid little minds? Each knows his/her vote is crucial, but then what? Worry that angry voters will say this thing passed because of you? Worry that angry voters will say this thing failed because of you? So, then... be quiet and cooperative? Or be demanding and invite a Massa-style ethics investigation (with naked Rahm-poke)? And then what? Become a blustering media star while wussing out and resigning (like Massa)? Try to stand up to the Chief of Staff and his minions? Or maybe the stress will get to you and you'll keel over and die like Murtha? Lay low, stand and fight... or go like Murtha/Massa? Poor congresspeople. Not.

Rahm Emanuel naked: It gives new meaning to the phrase "Chief of Staff."

Man, I hope I'm the first person who made that joke. It's one of those ready-made jokes that's just out there. I can't believe Leno or Letterman — Leno and Letterman — haven't already made it, but let it be known, I arrived at it independently.

And I'm working on this Bob Dylan parody:
While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked.
Picture them naked. It's a great old technique for cutting the people who intimidate you down to size. It's fun too. And funny. And completely legal. At least until that day when your thought-dreams can be seen...

ADDED: Non-random excerpt from David Foster Wallace's brilliant essay about the porn industry ("Big Red Son", republished in "Consider the Lobster"):
A slight surprise is that a lot of the industry’s elite woodmen are short—5'6", 5'7"—and most of their companions tower over them. Dick Filth confirms that the contemporary industry’s 5'6" standard helps a prodigious male organ look even more prodigious on videotape, a medium that apparently does all kinds of strange things to perspective.

March 8, 2010

Caulk.

Caulk.

"Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man? ... It's ridiculous."

"I'm sitting there showering, naked as a jaybird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me because I wasn't gonna vote for the president's budget."

Massa's got the quote of the day, and he's certainly taken his revenge on Rahm Emanuel, whom we will now all instinctively picture naked and poking. I mean, back when the movie "Psycho" came out, it was a standard thing to be afraid to take a shower, because we were picturing Anthony Perkins, in his dress, coming to jab us with that knife. Now, the image is Rahm, naked, come to poke us with that finger.

And, isn't it interesting, that for all his ranting and raving — e.g., "son of the devil's spawn" — Massa did not take advantage of his knowledge of what Rahm looks like naked? I think we know what that means.

UPDATE: I claim first dibs on the joke "Chief of Staff." Chief of Staff™.

Convicted last month of killing 4 women and a little girl, Rodney Alcala was once a winning contestant on "The Dating Game."

This account of the penalty phase of his trial goes on to analyze his 1978 TV appearance. There's an interview with one of the other contestants:
"[H]e was very obnoxious and creepy -- he became very unlikable and rude and imposing as though he was trying to intimidate. I wound up not only not liking this guy ... not wanting to be near him ... he got creepier and more negative. He was a standout creepy guy in my life."
Alcala's murders began within months of the show. Now, you can watch the old TV show on YouTube. And the weird thing is...



... everyone on the show is creepy. Really creepy.

At the Checkout Café...

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... choose carefully.

"Swiss turn down lawyers-for-pets plan."

Now, there's a teaser/headline that confused me. I thought: What? Do you turn in your lawyer and get a pet in exchange?

But I clicked through — over at BBC.com — and saw that it was just about a proposed national system of government-funded lawyers who would provide legal representation to animals.

ADDED: It was just pointed out to me that I was confused the wrong way.  I should have thought that it was about handing in your pet and getting a lawyer. The expression "cash for clunkers" was used in the explanation of why I was wrong about being wrong. And somehow those 2 wrongs did not make a right.

"They're saying it looked like she pulled a Kanye."

"She did! She pulled a Kanye. And it's a shame, because this is such positive, happy film."

Hmm. I missed that because I fast-forwarded. I think the average viewer does not care about the awards for shorts. What a terrible place to Kanye, when no one cares anyway.

"Mine is now the deciding vote on the health care bill."

"And this administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this health care bill. And now they've gotten rid of me and it will pass. You connect the dots."

Massa says he was persecuted, and all he did was make a stupid drunken sexual remark at a New Year's Eve party. If it wasn't so bad, don't resign. Man up, or shut up, Massa.

The Obama-Hope-End-War sign is already tattered...

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... and yet still the wars go on.

Obama, what have you done to the hope of the hopeful folk who sewed banners with your face inside a heart? I am not one of them. In fact, I'm making a list of Things I Like About Obama:

1. By continuing to fight the wars that George Bush started, he has crushed the hope of the people who bought into the campaign abstraction "hope."

2. By putting his name on many of the policies that George Bush was condemned for adopting, he has rehabilitated the reputation of George Bush .

3. ...

"Even on their own terms the politics and business of the world were absurdly evanescent."

"One week politicians, people who worked in the City, and people whose job it was to report their doings would all be kept out of their beds by a financial crisis which, six months later, would be little talked of. By that time perhaps there would be . . . a corruption scandal in local government, which would then be followed by a flurry of public concern over crimes of violence, which in its turn would be pushed out of people's minds by their fury over some proposed new tax; and so it would go on. Each of these things would seem important for a time, then each would pass away and scarcely matter again except to historians. In fact, the truth is that most of them made little or no difference even to the daily lives of most of the population living through them. People immersed in this stream of ever-changing events were filling their minds with . . . ephemera and trivia, what people in electronics mean by 'noise.'"

Is it a mistake to follow politics?

The morning after the Oscars.

Wow. I did not enjoy that. I already updated my live-blog post from last night to say I did not enjoy that, but I need to get it out of my system. I did not enjoy that. Why do I do that to myself every year? Because there was a time when I truly loved it — and the movies — I guess. Watching the Oscars when you no longer care about the movies is like... watching "American Idol" when you no longer bother with the new music recordings that are released from day to day. Wallowing in the bad seems somewhat fun even as you've lost the hope that there might be something good. Life is funny. And, no, wallowing in the bad as I've lost hope in something good is not how I feel about life itself.

Anyway, the only interesting thing anyone said — that registered with me, anyway — was Mo'Nique: "It can be about the performance and not the politics." I highlighted that line last night, but then this morning, I realized I wasn't sure what she was talking about. Here's the whole text of what she said:
First, I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics. I want to thank Mrs. Hattie McDaniel for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to. Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, because you touched it, the whole world saw it. Ricky Anderson our attorney of Anderson and Smith thank you for your hard work. My entire BET family. My Precious family thank you so much. To my amazing husband Sidney, Thank you for showing me that sometimes you have to forego doing what’s popular to do what’s right. And baby, you were so right!
Now, what was she talking about?  What did her husband encourage her to do that was "right" but not "popular"? I'm guessing that she worried about playing a character that would be viewed by many as a racist stereotype, and her husband convinced her that it was a great script and a great dramatic role and she's an artist who should decide based on what is right for an artist: artistic principles. And Oprah touched it, and that worked some magic, taking much of the power out of the accusations of racism that had to have been anticipated.

Here's a NYT Magazine article from last fall that, I think, explains it:
[The director Lee Daniels told Mo’Nique] he had a part for her that was “going to mess up your career. You are going to lose your world, your audience, your standing in the BET community.” Mo'nique was not fazed. “I did not hesitate!” she exclaimed on a warm day in September in New York City. “I said to Lee, if you want me to play this demon, I am there.”....

Although Mo’Nique’s performance as Precious’s mother has generated talk of an Oscar, Daniels has heard complaints from the black community about the image her character projects. “They see the film as negative to black women,” Daniels said. “Black women are the pillar of the family. Black men have left, and how dare I stab at the one thing that’s helped. So I told Mo’Nique, ‘They’re going to hate you for this movie.’ She said, ‘Let them hate me.’ ”
And, by the way, there was no mention of Barack Obama in Mo'Nique's speech. From that NYT article:
[T]he movie is not neutral on the subject of race and the prejudices that swirl around it, even in the supposedly postracial age of Obama. “ ‘Precious’ is so not Obama,” Daniels said. “ ‘Precious’ is so not P.C. What I learned from doing the film is that even though I am black, I’m prejudiced....”

... “As African-Americans, we are in an interesting place,” Daniels said. “Obama’s the president, and we want to aspire to that. But part of aspiring is disassociating from the face of Precious. To be honest, I was embarrassed to show this movie at Cannes. I didn’t want to exploit black people. And I wasn’t sure I wanted white French people to see our world.... But because of Obama, it’s now O.K. to be black. I can share that voice. I don’t have to lie. I’m proud of where I come from. And I wear it like a shield. ‘Precious’ is part of that.”
And who knows what Samuel L. Jackson was thinking? Watch his reaction to the speech:



Perhaps he was feeling some vindication in his own choice to play some pretty negative characters (rather than the idealized friend/helpmeet/savior/Morgan Freeman type that must not be all that rewarding to play).

March 7, 2010

At the Good Fortune Nightclub...

DSC08285

... you can do what you were born to do.

Shall we watch the Oscars together?

I don't know if I can do my usual live-blogging, but I will try to watch, and I'll put numbered comments up if I think of anything amusing. The main point of this post is to give you a place to comment if you're so inclined.

1. Loved Penelope Cruz's red dress.

2. Have you noticed how many of the men are chewing gum? Morgan Freeman, etc.

3. Sarah Jessica Parker is chewing gum. She's 44 and she looks 60, but she's sweet and enthused about the Chanel column of gold satin. Meanwhile, no one wants to talk to Matthew Broderick, who's gone gray and portly.

4. "I like seeing all my friends cleaned up and looking good" — Meryl Streep on what she likes best about the Oscars.

5. Yikes. This production number is more painful than the crap they make "American Idol" contestants do on elimination night. (Elimination... crap... hmmm....) Men in suits singing, surrounded by scantily clad showgirls waving feather fans... what is this, 1962? So retro. So pre-women's movement. Oh, phew, it's over. Now, the talking. Yeeze. Steve Martin looks like Spencer Tracy in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" ... i.e., just before he died.

6. Christopher Plummer looks way better indoors. Somehow the lighting bestows an artificial tan. Outdoors, he looked diseased.

7. Ah! Penelope Cruz again, in that dress. Lovely! She was last year's Best Supporting Actress, so she's giving the Best Supporting Actor award.  Dialogue chez Meadhouse: "Is that Robert Duvall?" "No, Woody Harrelson."... "Everyone knows Christoph Waltz is going to win." And he does. "Oscar and Penelope. That's an uber-bingo."

8. So the first predictable thing has happened. Will all the other predictable things happen to?

9. Sandra Bullock is "a member of the NRA" and "always packing"... according to the clip show of "The Blind Side."

10. Meadhouse dialogue: "IPad ad. Oh, man! Ohhhhhh!" "Still want one?" "Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh."

8a. "Up" wins animated pic. Predicatably.

8b. "The Hurt Locker" wins screenplay, not "Inglourious Basterds." That's not what was predicted, right? I wanted "A Serious Man." The acceptance speech is anti-Iraq-war, btw.

11. Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick introduce a tribute to John Hughes (who died in the past year). "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Beautifully done. Genuinely touching. That made the argument that pop culture is, in fact, deep.

8c. "Precious" for adapted screenplay.

8d. Best Supporting Actress, Mo'Nique. Predicted. But she says something interesting and unexpected: "It can be about the performance, and not the politics."

8e. Art Direction, "Avatar."

12. The tribute to horror movies ends with a cut to Quentin Tarantino loving it all. Nice. As for the clip show, I think it was argued that the 2 greatest horror flicks of all time are "Psycho" and "The Shining"... with music from "Psycho."

13. Sound editing... does anyone care? Did I mention costumes earlier? No. Then, mindcrushingly, sound mixing, a separate award. "Hurt Locker" with its amorphous, ponderous music, wins both. [NEXT MORNING CLARIFICATION: I know this award isn't about the music. I'm just complaining about the theme music the band played for this movie.]

8f. "Avatar" wins Visual Effects. Whoever this guy is who accepts the award says the movie is a film about "learning to see the world in new ways" and that sets me off cursing incoherently. 

14. In Memoriam, with James Taylor singing "In My Life." They gave Karl Malden the final spot, and that was not predicted. People thought it would be either Patrick Swayze (who was put first) or Natasha Richardson (who was tucked in the middle). Only one choked me up, Brittany Murphy. She was so young. Malden was 97. Nothing to be sad about. It's not, then, what's saddest. It's a tribute to life. "In My Life," not in my death.

15. I'm recording this with my DVR and pausing, then fast-forwarding. Otherwise it would be intolerable. Right now there's a dance routine (that's supposed to showcase the scores). It's ghastly. I watched a second, sped ahead, watched a second, cursed, paused, and am now waiting for enough time to pass for more fast-forwarding. Why must they waste our time with this musical crap?

16. I love film documentaries, but I don't care about any of these nominees. What the hell happened to this category?

17. "The White Ribbon" doesn't win best foreign film. I was all ready to do an "8g" entry. Wow. Thrilling. Hell. Get me out of here.

18. Wait. A good joke! "I want to thank the Academy for not considering Na'vi a foreign language."

8g. Come on, give Jeff Bridges the Best Actor award and get me out of here. Oh! The blather, praising each of the nominees. There's an insipid reference to "courage." I scream. Ah, finally, Kate Winslet comes out, in a dress made of steel — or fabric that looks like it — and she gives the award, of course, to Jeff Bridges. He whoops. He looks heavenward and addresses his parents. He says "groovy." He's going on too long. I groan. Meade says "He's The Dude."

8h. Another predictable one: Sandra Bullock gets Best Actress. She's wearing bright red lipstick and a pretty dress, beaded and sparkling. She rattles off a prepared speech. She chokes up and cries appropriately when she gets to the part about not thanking her mother.

19. "Oh, no!" "Why? Why?!" — another Meadhouse dialogue... as Barbra Streisand takes the stage. She's giving the Best Director award (for some reason). I guess this one isn't predictable, other than that it's one of 2, James Cameron or Kathryn Bigelow. "Well, the time has come," Barbra says, meaning that for the first time, a woman has won Best Director. It's Kathryn Bigelow.

20. The band plays her off the stage with "I Am Woman." Gag.

21. Tom Hanks does his part to nail the time. With 2 minutes left to go to the top of the hour, he blurts out "The Hurt Locker."

22. For all this honoring of "The Hurt Locker," did anyone say anything valuable and worthy about the war in Iraq? Bigelow praised the troops and wished for their safe return, but that's not what I mean. There's a lot of talk about the bravery of the filmmakers making the film. There was never anything said in support of the fighting in Iraq, but, to be fair, there was never any opposition to it expressed. In fact, I don't think there were any political statements tonight at all, unless you count Mo'nique's anti-political statement: "It can be about the performance, and not the politics." So: modesty. It's film art. Art, not politics.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Wow. I did not enjoy that show at all. Surely, nothing made me want to go see a movie — or even look for it to come up on my cable Video on Demand. The actresses with their hard, frozen faces and their sinewy bodies encased in lavishly ruffled dresses showed that movies are no longer a source of fresh inspiration about beauty, femininity and womanhood. And frankly, I'm not sure what Mo'nique meant by "It can be about the performance, and not the politics." Maybe she just meant that she totally deserved the award on merit, and there were no "political" considerations in the sense of how career and business interests weigh into people's decisions. At the time, I thought that she meant that voters were able to appreciate the artistic value of the movie "Precious" instead of rejecting it because it isn't politically correct to depict black people as lowlifes. That was the only memorable thing that anyone said last night, and it's just a Rorschach test.

"Feeling a bit off?"

I was struck by this inane point-of-purchase ad for a homeopathic remedy:

DSC08288

"A bit off"... what the hell kind of a medical problem is that? Perhaps one that goes perfectly with the non-remedy that is homeopathy. It made me think of this ad from 1930 for Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound:
"I was very nervous and weak and never had a good appetite. Almost every day I would have to lie down. My aunt used Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound and so did other women. I often wondered if it would help me but I hesitated to try it. After the firs bottle I felt better, so I kept on. I have already taken five bottles and feel as strong as can be."
As strong as can be, eh? 5 bottles? Is it 5 bottles of placebo or is it booze?

But these ailments! They are relics of one historical era or another. Who would complain about not having a good appetite today? Today, you'd get rich if you could bottle a remedy that caused not having a good appetite. And today, feeling a bit off is something you'd shell out money to cure.

***

Miscellaneous things:

1. I love the assurances on that package: "No Side Effects, No Drug Interactions, Non-Drowsy." Well, duh. It's a homeopathic remedy.

2. Can you believe people pay $9.99 for a product labeled "Gas"?

DSC08287

3. Why did I run across that ad for Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound? We were fooling around with the Google News Archive and did a search for "iPod." We were intrigued at a hit from 1930. Upon inspection, we saw that the word "good" — in "never had a good appetite" — was printed with the "g" and the "o" corrupted enough to make it look like an "i" and a "p." I love odd mistakes like that.

"I need eight hours to get maybe 20 minutes of work done."

The life of a writer — in this case, David Eggers — is not easy:
... I used to write in the middle of the night. I suppose I was surprised by the sedentary nature of writing: like, wow, most of this is sitting down and typing! So I used to add a bit of adventure by starting at midnight and working until five. That was excitement! But now I have two kids... So it's bankers hours for me.

... Writing is a deep-sea dive. You need hours just to get into it: down, down, down. If you're called back to the surface every couple of minutes by an email, you can't ever get back down. I have a great friend who became a Twitterer and he says he hasn't written anything for a year....
Eggers denies himself internet access. That's what I would do if I really wanted to write a book. Which I guess I don't. I mean, I'm at the level where I (mostly) cut myself off from Twitter because I want to have a blog. What if I cut myself off from the internet for — let's say — the 4 months of summer break? The deep-sea dive. It would probably take me all 4 months just to get into into it.

Oddly, Eggers is motivated by his sense of how short life is. All that time getting going and thinking about how short life is? Oh, the pain. Blogging, by contrast, is the continual relief from that pain.

"It's always one man and one woman walking here."

We overheard the young girl, balking at the entrance to the garden, where her mother had brought her yesterday.

Death in Switzerland.

Whenever you want:
Assisted suicide is also legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, as well as in the American states of Oregon, Washington, and Montana. But in all those places, the practice is restricted to people with incurable diseases, involves extensive medical testing and consultation with physicians, and requires that applicants be permanent residents. By contrast, Switzerland’s penal code was designed such that, without fear of prosecution, you can hand someone a loaded pistol and watch as he blows his brains out in your living room. And there is no residency requirement. There are only two conditions: that you have no self-interest in the victim’s death, and that he be of sound mind when he pulls the trigger.

Can we believe the polls that say a big majority of Americans oppose the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United?

No, because the people surveyed mostly only knew about the case from the description given by the pollster. Here's the way ABC/Washington Post tried to get its unprepared respondents up to speed:
Changing topics, do you support or oppose the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that says corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
What percentage of those surveyed do you think understood "spend" to exclude contributing money to the candidate?  20%? I'm saying 20% to be snarky, because that's the proportion of respondents who approved of the decision. My real point is, the survey is utter trash. Worse than utter trash, because it propagated misinformation.

Search the 137-year Popular Science archive.

But you have to go in by keyword. So what do you search... and what does that say about you?

I searched "bomb shelter" and read an article from January 1962 and scrolled through the rest of the magazine to see what was going on from the PopSci viewpoint when I was 11 and wondering why my parents weren't building us a bomb shelter. The article, "Plain Facts About Fallout Shelters" is written as Frequently Asked Questions, and the first question is exactly the one my parents would have asked — "What's the point of all this effort? Wouldn't an H-bomb attack kill everybody anyway, shelters or no shelters?" — if they were the sort of people who put their thoughts on the subject in question form. They were not.

Painted and photographed.

Wow!

ADDED: For those who object to going to Andrew Sullivan's blog, go here to get directly to the photographer's page. And it is a photograph, not a painting. That's why I said "wow."

"If a federal budget that is 25% of GDP is too low, what is about right?"

A big "if."

"[T]he key to understanding David Brooks is that he hates the culture war."

"But when he says the 'similarities are more striking than the differences,'" Jonah Goldberg thinks "he gets it backwards. The differences are more striking than the similarities."
The Tea Partiers, fundamentally, love America. The hardcore New Lefters, simply, did not.

Towards the end, Brooks offers  this rhetorical flourish:
...both the New Left and the Tea Party movement are radically anticonservative. Conservatism is built on the idea of original sin — on the assumption of human fallibility and uncertainty. To remedy our fallen condition, conservatives believe in civilization — in social structures, permanent institutions and just authorities, which embody the accumulated wisdom of the ages and structure individual longings.
Some Tea Partiers may get all sorts of things wrong. No doubt conspiracy theories find fertile soil at Tea Party rallies. But unlike the New Left, they do not believe in starting over with a plan hatched from a new cultural avant-garde. They believe in getting back to basics. They take the founding, the Declaration and the Constitution seriously....
For years — decades — I've found insight into the way other people think with the simplification that there are 2 kinds of human minds: Those that focus on difference and those that focus on similarity. I think most people, like Jonah, figure things out by observing and heightening the ways in which things are different. We're taught to pursue that tendency from an early age. Think of the kindergarten/"Sesame Street" quizzes asking which of these things is not like the other. But the skill of likening things to others is also useful. Perhaps it should be encouraged by repurposing those old quizzes and asking kids: If you had to explain why all these things are alike, what would you tell me? And then you could grow up to be David Brooks.

"This moment. Is so much bigger. Than me."

Are you hoping for a big moment tonight? Or have you had it with Oscar grandiosity — especially in a year when nothing seemed very grand at all... except in that horrible in-your-face grand way that you have to put on special glasses for?

"I have called ALL the highs and lows of the market giving EXACT DATES for rises and crashes over the last 14 years."

Did Sean David Morton think there was some "prophet" exception to securities regulation? Or maybe he — or you — think some things are so stupid that the people who believe them don't deserve any protection from the government.