July 3, 2010

Madison street theater: The Madtown Liberty Players depict the history of war in Afghanistan.

In less than 4 and a half minutes:

Today on the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin.

Which face is more attractive to you? Each is a composite of 8 female faces.

The 8 women were grouped based on foot size:

The women used for the face on the left had unusually small feet, and the women used for the face on the right had unusually large feet. I think it's clear that the small-footed morph is prettier, but the evolutionary psychologists effort at an explanation strikes me as a particularly silly example of after-the-fact bullshit.

As usual, the more attractive thing is presented as representing better health and suitability for producing offspring. But don't you think the woman on the right looks healthier?

Interestingly, the morphs done on male faces found that women were especially attracted to the faces morphed from men with small wrists. Explain that, oh, evolutionary psychologist bullshit artist. Of course, they can explain it, because they are up for explaining everything that happens to be.

Tomatoes and carrots.



At the Farmers Market today.

Madison men out and about in their shorts...


You know I think most men in shorts look like overgrown children, so what can you say when the man carries balloons? You can say the younger man is carrying a little girl, and the older man must be carrying the girl's balloons for her.

"The United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world."

The Ayn Rand table at the Farmers Market — on the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin today:


With all this talk of Al Gore's inappropriate massage, have we forgotten about George Bush's inappropriate massage?!

Let's get matters into proportion, people.

At the Holiday Weekend Café...


... you can carry on without me. I'll have some news-related stuff later, but for now, I'm up late and the family is hankering to get out into the 3-D world of commerce and recreation. Back later!

July 2, 2010

At the In-Your-Face Wildflowers Café...


... you can get up close and personal.

Grow your house from plants... and meat!

Today's exercise in the comedy of Drudge photographic juxtapositions — AKA Drudgedy.

At Drudge right now, the picture at the very top is the Obama-with-winged-fingers that we were talking about yesterday, but let's talk about this collection of images:

This is a mysterious one, so let's brainstorm. The first thing I noticed was how that Google "You can trust us with your data" device — whatever it really is — looks like it's designed to stamp beanies onto the Pope's head or perhaps to examine/muddle/read the mind of the Pope. In the center column, the space shuttle is a simple and obvious phallic symbol. The left column — which we may interpret in relation to the giant technological phallus — is mainly hands: Nancy Pelosi's outstretched palm and Arnold Schwarzenegger's thumb-to-fingers grasp approaching 3 phallic microphones thrust toward his face.

Okay, you take it from there.

Michael Steele must resign.

Sheer stupidity/incompetence.

"At this moment, 4,547 comments have rained down upon me for that blog entry."

"I'm informed by Wayne Hepner, who turned them into a text file: 'It's more than Anna Karenina, David Copperfield and The Brothers Karamazov.' I would rather have reread all three than vet that thread. Still, they were a good set of comments for the most part. Perhaps 300 supported my position. The rest were united in opposition."

That's Roger Ebert talking about a blog post of his called "Video games can never be art."

The reason I'm noticing this brouhaha is that, checking my Site Meter, I saw I was getting a ton of traffic from Bing on a search for "roger ebert apologizes." I wanted to know what was stirring people up today, and kind of sorry they were dropping by my blog only to be disappointed to find something I wrote back in October 2008 called "Roger Ebert apologizes for reviewing the first 8 minutes of a movie."

Funnily, Ebert's new post begins:
I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place. I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn't seen.
I think my old post does have some relevance: It calls that second sentence into question. I can see a lawyerly way to defend it, but it's pretty weasely.

AND: "I would rather have reread all three than vet that thread" insults the 3 novels doesn't it?

"Chakra Con."

"It took these latest revelations of sexual impropriety to get anyone to question whether Al Gore - a man who, for years, made one bogus, scare-mongering thing after another - is someone trustworthy enough for us to have listened to. Again: how does that happen?"

At the Bright Sun Café...


... shine!

"She will be buried up to her chest, deeper than a man would be..."

"... and the stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately..."

Death by stoning in Iran. The crime is adultery. The evidence was a confession obtained after 99 lashes.

Obama is the 15th greatest President of all time.

According to a survey of 238 presidential scholars:
In office for barely two years, Obama entered the survey in the 15th position - two spots behind Bill Clinton and three spots ahead of Ronald Reagan.

Obama got high marks for intelligence, ability to communicate and imagination, but his score was dragged down by his relative lack of experience and family background.
Yeah, they marked him down because of his humble beginnings. He should have been higher.

George W. Bush is at 39th place: "a steep drop from 23rd place, which is where Bush ranked when he entered the survey after his first year in office." He got marked way down for his low capacity for compromise. Plus he was the second-to-the-dumbest President. Harding was the biggest dunce.

The linked article is in The Daily News, which also has a poll asking readers to pick "the best president of your lifetime." The Democratic Party choices are getting nearly all the votes, with Barack Obama the biggest winner at 37%. The Republican choices can only scrape together 6% of the votes total, with Reagan hogging 5%. George W. Bush gets 1%. George H.W. Bush is left off the list, but the so is Jimmy Carter — would anyone say Carter? — and there is an "Other" choice, so it's balanced.

I'll redo the survey here, for what it's worth. I'm including all the Presidents but only going back to Carter. A lot of us are older, but it's screwy to have some of us voting for guys that other readers can't vote for.

Who's the best President of your lifetime?
Barack Obama
George W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George H.W. Bush
Ronald Reagan
Jimmy Carter

pollcode.com free polls

Apple on the supposed problems with the new iPhone: "Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place."

So it's not a flaw in the new iPhone, it's something that was phony in all the phones all along. Hmmm. How convenient! Just when I was trying to decide if I should buy the new iPhone or stick with the old one while the bugs are getting ironed out of the new one.
Apple... said it will fix its signal strength formula to conform to other AT&T phones through a free software update for iPhone models 3G, 3Gs and 4 within a few weeks.

''We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see,'' Apple said.
Massaging our perceptions. Who knows if the reception is really bad or not? People are fixated on the way their bars look. So make the bars bigger.

July 1, 2010

At the Reading-by-the-Lake Café...


... you can take note of your surroundings or blithely indulge your own interests.

"It is not just the Clinton-Lewinsky affair that has generated invocations of 'Rashomon' in recent years."

"'Rashomon' got a workout back when the Senate deliberated over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas."

From an essay I published back in 2000 that raises some ideas I've been thinking about in connection with the accusations against Al Gore.

I was reading the transcript of the accuser's statement to the police and thinking about how you could film that story — exactly that — in 3 versions: 1. Gore as a violent, misogynistic monster, 2. Gore as an awkward man in search of love who has little sense of the furious thoughts in the massage therapist's mind, and 3. A complex story of 2 imperfect adults.

ADDED: In "Rashomon," the 4 versions of the story are built around a set of external facts: a dead Samurai whose sword and dagger are both missing. In my proposed 3-act play, what will remain the same is the set of outward facts in the accuser's transcript. Yes, in real life, the woman may be lying. I want to assume that every word she says was spoken was in fact spoken — release the second chakra, etc. — and every action she says took place — the hug, the chocolates, etc. — in fact took place. That is, I'll write a screenplay with all the internal dialogue and feelings stripped out. Then 2 highly skilled actors play the script 3 times, with the 3 directions stated above. I think it can be done, and I think it would be a fascinating study. What does that have to do with the real question of what Al Gore did? It would get us away from the woman's subjective experience and allow us to focus on Gore's culpability — his subjective experience. Of course, it's still possible that the woman is lying or has some of the facts wrong. I'm not trying to brush that aside. I only want to try to figure out whether, if what she said is true, Gore might not be as bad as he seems when you read the transcript that is, unedited, filled with internal dialogue and descriptions of her feelings.

"I'm not talking to them. They sent me a message. They sent that budget that was out of balance."

NY Governor David Paterson is about to veto 6,900 bills.

ADDED: A song for the occasion:

"I know he doesn’t want me to and I know he thinks it is useless but..."

"... Christopher Hitchens, I am praying for you."

"The tattoos take her look to a entirely different place."

"Honestly, I can't decide if they add or distract from her natural beauty but, with that added edge, it's hard to take your eyes off her."

And: "I love that she can pull off the black sock/brown shoe look in summer."

Sandhill cranes.


Seen in the late afternoon, today in the UW Arboretum.

Trekking poles.

Ever use trekking poles? We got some like this.

"Everything that was once cutting-edge becomes reality-TV fodder."

Andres "Piss Christ" Serrano as a guest judge on "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist":
The contestants had less than a day to create their "shocking" works of art....

Miles, who has won two previous rounds, created a large illustration of Mickey Mouse involving penis-like embellishments. Last week's winner, John, attempted a painting of a man performing fellatio on himself, while Jaclyn created a series of low-res nude photos of herself. Ryan made a portrait of himself as a transsexual prostitute. Both Erik and Mark created works addressing child sexual abuse.
Works addressing child sexual abuse, eh? And when you do that, you're not making child pornography, right? Can't have been or it wouldn't have been on TV. You have to shock without really doing anything wrong.
Taking a different approach, Abdi chose to create a series of molds depicting young black youths as bombs ready to go off.
Sounds racist — but racism is still shocking, right? — and like a rip off of the infamous Muhammad-with-a-bomb-turban cartoon. Abdi is a Muslim name, by the way. But a little research shows that Abdi is black, so presumably that was TV-okay.
Because of the nature of the challenge, the episode featured a lot of bleeped words and blurred images.
All the better for DVD sales.
They criticized John's work for its cartoon-like execution and for the fact that he misspelled "fellatio" as "follatio."
Ha ha. Spelling error! Ding!

Yet more photo-fun on Drudge.

Earlier, I showed you Drudge's "heat is on" picture of Al Gore with a picture of Obama slightly below, wiping his brow, and a picture of Biden gesturing — arms spread and palms out — just like Gore. Gore was at the top of the page, Obama was in the left column, and Biden was in the center column. A little later in the day, this went up in the third column:

Obama's upstretched hands are a bit different from Gore's and Biden's, but the resonance is there. What's also notable are the little wings "on" his hands — actually, probably, eagle decorations on top of flagpoles set up behind him. Then, a little below that, there's Eric Holder photographed in front of an eagle in such a way as to make it look like wings grow out of his neck. This is all, I'm sure, intentional — typical Drudge fun with photos. We might call it "Drudgery," but I'd prefer a portmanteau of Drudge + comedy: Drudgedy.

And quite aside from all that. Those 2 stories in red type are pretty important:
Obama calls AZ immigration law 'unenforceable'...

Justice Lawyer Accuses Holder of Dropping Black Panther Case -- for Racial Reasons...
Both of those deserve separate blog posts. Forgive me for presenting them as if they are nothing more than afterthoughts. Please discuss them in the comments, and I will, if I can, write better posts later and frontpage some comments.

Over at Media Matters, Eric Boehlert is writing about me.

Eric Boehlert. Eric Boehlert? Oh, I know where I read his name recently. He's a character in Iowahawk's brilliant "I'll Take a Cashier's Check, Mr. Breitbart." He's the one handing out the assignments:
EZRA KLEIN: hey boehlert whats the assignment

ERIC BOEHLERT: 3 part essay

ERIC BOEHLERT: 1. Explain why unemployment report shows stimulus is working

ERIC BOEHLERT: 2. link BP oil spill to teabaggers

ERIC BOEHLERT: 3. spin latest Gallups

JOSH MARSHALL: crap crap crap and I have a lab assignment for global warming due

ERIC ALTERMAN: o fack me looks like an all niter...
Ha. But why is he on my case? "Ann Althouse continues to blog about Journolist; appears to have no idea what it was," he says. Well, then, release the archive so I can cure my terrible ignorance. That's all I want.
Althouse continues to post item after item about Journolist, despite the fact that... Althouse has no idea what Journolist was.
Stop me before I blog ignorantly again, Eric. Send me the archive. Or send it to Breitbart and collect $100,000 and I'll get to it that way.

Boehlert goes on to quote me saying that if I were to sue a Journolist member for defamation — something I'm not inkleined to do — I would be able to get discovery into the archive. Eric B. says:
Althouse, a law school prof and very public blogger, was thinking out loud about suing the owner of Journolist to find out if any of the 400 journalists on the listserv ever wrote anything nasty about her in their private emails. (Ego much?)
Eric Boehlert continues to write about me like that even though he has no idea what the thing I wrote that he just quoted says.  I cited a specific item of defamation against me that was published on the web and that remains there. If I were to sue based on that remark, I would be able to get discovery into relevant evidence about that claim. Moreover, I know that there are specific, related remarks about me in the Journolist archive, because that remark was tweeted, in Ezra Klein's own words, "after I was alerted to her thread on Journolist."

Boehlert imagines that one of my commenters nails his argument for him. Here's that comment:
I would think a law professor might have a better grasp of this. But on what grounds would you seek the archives? To borrow a popular argument of the right, where in the Constitution does it say you have the right to know what others are saying about you, especially when you have no proof they are saying anything defamatory about you.
Clue to Boehlert: Not all law is in the Constitution. The tort of defamation is a matter of state law. The extent of discovery is a matter of procedural law. I don't need a constitutional right. (Conceivably, there is a right that would bar my access to the archive, but I don't need a constitutional right to discovery if I bring a defamation claim.)

So, Boehlert, your post is incredibly lame, but, as a law professor, I'll give you a rewrite. I think Media Matters portrays itself as a champion of truth, so... see if you can get a little closer to something that feels a little more truth-y.


On a related note: Yesterday, James Taranto, in Best of the Web, opined that a journalist's shield law would prevent discovery into the Journolist archive in a defamation suit:
Seems to us it would depend on the venue. Most states have some sort of shield law protecting reporters from having to disclose confidential sources, but the specifics vary from state to state. In federal court, however, there is no such privilege.
The privilege is about shielding confidential news sources — informants. The Journolist archive contains the statements of journalists talking to each other. I don't see how the privilege could apply.
[Journalists] should, of course, have all the legal protections of the First Amendment, which among other things mean that Althouse almost certainly would not win her defamation suit against Klein. His offending tweet, it seems to us, is a constitutionally protected opinion rather than a false statement of fact.
One reason I have no interest in suing is that I want the broadest First Amendment rights here. I would not want to have to argue that the statement in question — "Ann Althouse sure has a lot of anti-semitic commenters" — is not an opinion but a false statement of fact. But I'm afraid it is, quite plainly, a false statement of fact.

"You're a bitch"/"I didn't do anything"/"Did so."

The Mel Gibson tapes. And that's not the worst of it.
The tapes do not make it clear what the couple was arguing about.

But Mel tells Oksana, "Look what you did to me... look what you are... look what every part of you is... f**king fake... f**king fake.

"You are the most synthetic person... who the f*** are you?"
That's not the worst of it either. I excerpted the bit in the title because of the childishness of "Did so." I excerpted the other part because Gibson chose Oksana Grigorieva presumably because of and not in spite of her looks. But maybe "every part" included her soul and it was only after harsh experience that he was able to determine that that part of her was fucking fake too. But our Mel — he is not fucking fake. He's always had genuinely great looks and a genuinely horrible temper.

The TV series based on a Twitter feed.

The Twitter feed is Shit My Dad Says. The show is "S#*! My Dad Says." It's on CBS, so dad can't say "shit." The dad is William Shatner....

I'm not able to give a sane assessment of whether the show could possibly be any good — and I love the Twitter feed — because the jaunty music track that ran through that whole clip redirected all my energy into the struggle to retain the will to live.

Another Drudge juxtaposition: the "heat is on" Al Gore...

... and Obama is wiping his brow:

IN THE COMMENTS: Meade says:
And Vice President Bite Me also looks woeful.
Ha! I didn't see that when I cropped the picture, but Biden's hand-gestures mirror Gore's. Matt Drudge is a comic genius. There's nothing fair about roping Obama and Biden into Gore's horrible problem, but it's just the juxtaposition of images (along with the glue of language — here, "heat"). It's a kind of silliness — or a devious subliminal attack — that seems wrong, but the wrong disappears if you look closely and try to figure out what he did wrong.

"I feared that if I ran for the door to get out, I could or would be violently accosted by some security detail."

HuffPo writes, noting that Portland police have reopened the case against Al Gore.
"I felt certain that any, even the smallest complaint from him to the hotel, could also destroy my work reputation."...

"I finally told him and said, you're being a crazed sex poodle, hoping he'd realize how weird he was being, yet he persisted"...
So "crazed sex poodle" was an expression she directed at Gore, in an effort to prompt him to see himself in a different light and change what he was doing. Maybe he'd laugh and/or be embarrassed.
The woman said Gore's "Mr. Smiley Global Warming" persona differed from his actions and made her afraid....

After the alleged incident, the woman said she was dissuaded from contacting the police by liberal friends of hers, whom she refers to as "The Birkenstock Tribe," and of which she counts herself a member.

"It's like being the ultimate traitor," the woman said.
It's painful when your own hero falls. Quite aside from global warming, what about feminism? If the massage therapist's story is true, we are looking at the same problem we saw with Clinton. There are politicians who give the appearance of caring about the equality of women. It's a principle that, conceptually, is a necessary part of a political ideology they need to appear to hold. But maybe they don't really believe it at all. What a dirty secret, thinking that women exist to serve you!

ADDED: What makes a man treat a woman like that? Generally, I think it's because he's done things like that before, many times, and gotten away with it. We're talking about an older man, with a big reputation and a lot to lose. Why would he proceed in such a crude fashion? I would guess that his sensibilities have numbed over the years, as women acceded to his moves. The moves became less and less elaborate.

"It would be a huge mistake to pass a bill that purports to re-regulate the financial industry but is simply too weak to protect people from the recklessness of Wall Street."

"That would be like building an impressive-looking dam without telling everyone that it has a few leaks in it. False security is no security at all."

Russ Feingold.

June 30, 2010

At the Wildflower Café...




... you can talk about whatever you like.

(Photos taken today in Governor Nelson State Park, on the north shore of Lake Mendota.)

"... Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil."

A lengthy and ravenous kiss on a dark and stormy night.

"You stupid ignorant son-of-a-bitch dumb bastard..."

100 movie insults in 10 minutes. NSFW:

Black raspberries.


Hand-picked in the wild, today.

"President Barack Obama has attacked House GOP Leader John Boehner for comparing the financial crisis to an ant."


Once again, Obama is drifting aimlessly and out of touch. Unless something is done about ants, man as the dominant species on earth is done!

Am I sorry not to be live-blogging the Kagan hearings today?

I don't want to slog through the Senators reading their questions to the nominee. It's such a slow-motion ritual. Her answers are so predictable. But what I find most annoying is the Senators' inability to do proper followup questions to force her to get past the predictable. For example, from my live-blog yesterday:
Senator Kyl [reads] Obama's empathy statement — you can read it here: In 5% of cases, Obama said, "adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon," and one must at that point rely on "one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy." Kagan is forthright: "It's law all the way down." She says that several times — and I note that her statement isn't really at odds with what Obama said. A good follow-up question would have been: But do you think that law includes a component that comes from deep values and human empathy? The secret answer is: Yes.
If I had a written transcript, I would pick out one thing after another like that and write the text of the missing colloquy.

Why don't the Senators do better? Yeah, they are scripted, but the nominee's answers are predictable enough that the followups could be scripted too, more or less. And that's assuming the Senators are too dumb or timid to think on their feet. (Technically: on their asses.  We say "asses" now in polite company, of course, after this and this. It's standard American speech in 2010.)

I think it's more likely, in fact, that Kagan is being given a pass, and that the Senators from both parties have their reasons for giving her a pass. It's related to the unavailability of a transcript, I'm guessing.

Who really has an interest in attacking Kagan? I think that it is the strong ideological progressive who doesn't care much about the political fate of the Democratic Party. Can you see why? I'll try to spell it out later, but, right now, I need to get out in the real world....


And we know where the ripe black raspberries are!

"Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds gay marriage ban."

"In a 7-0 ruling, the court on Wednesday ruled that the 2006 constitutional amendment was properly put to voters in a statewide referendum. The court rejected a lawsuit that claimed the amendment violated a rule that limits referendum questions to a single subject. The lawsuit, filed by a voter opposed to the amendment, argued that gay marriage and civil unions were two different subjects."

Bittman's list of 101 fast grilling recipes.

Great, and I think you could do most — all? — of these on a panini grill inside and even more quickly. I was amused by Bittman's video demonstrating how to make a real grilled cheese sandwich — actually grilling it...

... but you don't need a plate on top with a can weighing down the plate and you don't need to flip it and do the other side if you have a panini grill. (Here!
that's the panini grill we use. But if I were buying something today, I'd get this — because we eat a lot of pancakes at Meadehouse. Note: Making a purchase at either of those links will automatically and without additional cost to you help support my work on this blog.)

"When Ann Althouse Gets Ahold of Those Archives..."

Hmm. Yeah. Thanks for reminding me of that incident. I would be curious to see what was said about me then. Was there jubilation that this video clip could be used to attack me? A plan to pick a spin and stick to it? An agreement to deprive me of links forever and ever? I'd like to know. I mean, I can imagine it on my own, but it would be fascinating to have the transcript.

I need more text! The internet is withholding the texts I want to blog. And I know those texts are longing to be free.


Did you know the phrase "Information wants to be free" has its own Wikipedia entry?
The expression is first recorded as pronounced by Stewart Brand at the first Hackers' Conference in 1984, in the following context:
On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.
Ah, but now that Andrew Breitbart is offering $100,000 for the full Journolist archive, the paradoxical desire of information can finally be fulfilled! It can be both free and expensive!

Why am I having such a hard time finding a transcript of the Kagan hearings on line?

I want to catch up with what I missed of the hearings, without slogging through all the video — the video is very nicely presented on line at C-Span — and in a form I can cut and paste for blogging purposes. But I can't find a transcript!

Could someone point me to a transcript of the first and second day hearings so before my thoughts come to rest on the theory that the media don't want us to be able to comb through the text?

The text! The text is important when we're talking about the Constitution!

"If you’re worried about your own stuff being released..."

(No! This is not another post about the National Enquirer story!)

".... you don’t really safeguard it by not selling out to Breitbart — you just ensure that if one of the 400 other members does, you won’t get the $100K."

The National Enquirer article on the Gore accuser is out.

... with a cover photo of the accuser holding a zip lock back with something inside that the tabloid labels "her stained pants."

"Do the math."

Have you noticed no one says that anymore?

June 29, 2010

What viral video will break out from the Kagan hearings?

I see Drudge is featuring this clip, just over one minute long, in which you hear Senator Coburn making a memorable, colorful point and — for the clip-viewer — overshadowing Elena Kagan's perfectly conventional profession of dedication to judicial restraint:

The clip is taken out of context, and now it has a vigorous life of its own.

I'm wondering what other clips are gathering strength on YouTube and what sort of political career they will have. Here are clips that went up today.

Kos and Research 2000.

"While the investigation didn't look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we've written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling."

Okay. So then... this one?
• 39% of Republicans want President Obama to be impeached.

• 63% think Obama is a socialist.

• Only 42% believe Obama was born in the United States.

• 21% think ACORN stole the 2008 election....
We all talked about that. It was garbage?! Here's what I had to say at the time (boldface added):
Yes, we have to stop first and wonder how good are the Daily Kos/Research 2000 pollsters. I picked up this story at Talking Points Memo, where there's no information about why I should trust this poll. How did they locate their 2,000 "self-identified" Republicans, who, TPM tells us represent "the psyche of the minority party's base"?...
Here's the Kos post announcing the results of the poll. It begins with this mind-boggling sentence:
"As I've mentioned before, I'm putting the finishing touches on my new book, American Taliban, which catalogues the ways in which modern-day conservatives share the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic  world." It turns out this poll was designed to help him with that theory.

How independent and reliable is Research 2000?
Now, Kos is distancing himself from Research 2000. But I want to know the whole story. What's going on with that book of his?

"I know the reality of life for Afghan women."

"If these women were treated with justice, I don't think 50% of them would be in [this prison]. They are here because of problems in the family or personal vendettas."

"Welcome to the Journolist Top Secret Progressive He-Man Wingnut Haters Club and L33t H4xoR Chat Room."


Andrew Breitbart offers $100,000 for the full Journolist archive — with a promise to keep the source secret.

Surely, somewhere among the 400 members of that former discussion group, there is someone who feels motivated to fulfill the desire of the information to be free. I've listed reasons why I think it would be doing a good thing to make the archive public, and now there is an additional motivation — $100,000. Now, virtue is mixed with venality. But virtue is mixed with venality when it comes to keeping the archive private. The motivations for not disclosing are not pure. People are protecting their careers, hoping for favors from powerful and well-placed co-Journolisters. Breitbart has added economic incentive to the other side of the balance, and he fortifies his offer of payment with an ethical argument:
Ezra Klein’s “JournoList 400” is the epitome of progressive and liberal collusion that conservatives, Tea Partiers, moderates and many independents have long suspected and feared exists at the heart of contemporary American political journalism. Now that collusion has been exposed when one of the weakest links in that cabal, Dave Weigel, was outed. Weigel was, in all likelihood, exposed because – to whoever the rat was who leaked his emails — he wasn’t liberal enough....
ADDED: Mediaite thinks it's "unlikely" that any Journolister will spring for the $100,000. I don't really understand her argument. It only takes one person to decide to disclose.  I think it's obvious someone with a mix of motives, including a desire for $100,000, is likely to do it. There's a great argument for transparency and freeing information — for the public good. I, personally, believe that argument. And it's impossible for me to believe that in a group that size, with that many people, people who are in competition with each other, that there isn't one person who feels on the outs and isn't interested in protecting anybody. Indeed, human nature being what it is, there are probably a few people who would love to see some of the prominent Journolisters exposed as... whatever the exposure would expose them as.

AND: Then there's the nothing-to-see-here-move-along gambit: Jonathan Chait insists that the conversations were "mundane..... requests for references... instantaneous reactions to events, joshing around, conversations about sports, and the like...." Matthew Yglesias portrays it as talk about sports,  links to published articles, and "failed efforts to get an interesting discussion going."

At the White Petal Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want. I've been live-blogging the Kagan hearings, so do go down here and check the updates. I'm going to take a break from live-blogging though, because it's a tad tedious and because I have a life that isn't entirely lived in front of the computer monitor. I'll pick up later with transcripts and video clips.

The scary fruit salad.

Look what Meade made!


(For full enjoyment, enlarge.)

"They couldn’t have been spies. Look what she did with the hydrangeas."

An emailer who understands my taste in quotes points me here.

IN THE COMMENTS: traditionalguy says:
When their blue hydrangeas turn pinko, then your neighbors are likely Russian spies.

The Kagan hearings.

Here's the live stream. Yesterday was tedious beyond words, and, accordingly, I wrote nothing. Today, there's some potential for a spark or 2, and I'll do some live-blogging here.

8:03 CT: Senator Leahy invites Kagan to talk more about her parents. This is an incredibly soft softball question, and Kagan receives it the right way: as an opportunity to exhibit her warmth and humanity. Her face immediately radiates what looks like real love for her parents, and her words go straight to what is relevant: Her parents embodied and taught the values that will make her a fine judge. Kagan seems fully at ease and far more natural than the stuffy Senator. She gestures. She seems affable. Leahy is scripted and speaks in a gruff tone. His words are supportive but he sounds like he's scolding her.

8:09: Kagan is wearing a gray jacket. It's tailored with lapels like a man's jacket. Perfectly standard and stunningly dull and undistracting. I approve. Away with the goofy big-collared "political blue" thing she had on yesterday. She's speaking like a law professor, explaining how to do constitutional interpretation. Leahy is trying to drag her through his stodgy script, but she is seizing control. I sense the presence of a lawprof — being generous to a student who's asked a question and pulling the discussion to a more sophisticated level. The level of expression here is excellent.

8:45: Senator Sessions is taking an aggressive tone, interrupting Kagan in a way that doesn't make a very good impression. He quotes E.J. Dionne and [name needed] who have labeled Kagan a "legal progressive," and Kagan says she doesn't know what that term means and would like to decide for herself what labels apply to her. Instead of supplying a definition for "legal progressive," Sessions bluntly insists the meaning is known. Kagan keeps her cool and decisively wins this round. Someone give Sessions a clear definition of the term and a way to ask particular questions to determine if she fits within it.

8:51: The question of the way Kagan, as Harvard Law School dean, handled military recruiting has come up twice now. Leahy stopped Kagan from talking about the law school's specific policy and steered her into a much more general discussion of the great value of the military and respect for individuals who choose a material career. Sessions is now pushing Kagan on the legal position she took. Did she comply with the Solomon Amendment (which required schools to give equal access to military recruiters)? Kagan claims to have followed the amendment. Sessions smiles, but testily snaps: "You didn't do what the DOD requested!" Kagan is good at remaining poised and calmly re-explaining her position, which contains no whiff of antagonism to the military or even to the Solomon Amendment. She is displaying a judicious, careful approach: She needed to balance the school's anti-discrimination policy, the importance of providing full access for the students to military recruiters, and respect for the Solomon Amendment as interpreted by the Department of Defense. There is absolutely zero hostility to the military or to the law. She's not giving Sessions anything to turn against her. There's no righteous criticism of Don't Ask, Don't Tell or assertion of the law school's right to maintain its anti-discrimination policy despite the Solomon Amendment. His time running out, Sessions lets loose with his frustration: "I know," he says emphatically, that you opposed Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

9:09: Now, it's Wisconsin's own Herb Kohl. Rest time!

9:13: Kohl's laughable question: "I'm sure you're a woman of passion — Where are your passions?" He seems to be channeling Obama's empathy idea and wants her to identify some social or political issue that she's excited about pursuing through judging. Kagan, wisely, restates her devotion to deciding cases according to the law. This isn't a job where someone should come in with a particular substantive agenda and try to shape that job to meet that agenda, Kagan says (unsurprisingly).

9:36: Cameras in the Supreme Court would be great — for the Court and the people, she says.

9:40: Senator Hatch is now questioning Kagan about Citizens United. This is a good time to watch live.

9:53: As Hatch stresses the effect of the McCain-Feingold law on small corporations that would like to express an opinion at a time close to an election, and Kagan reminds him that her job as Solicitor General is to defend acts of Congress. When Hatch presses her on whether the law violates free speech rights, Kagan quips: "Senator Hatch, you should be talking to Senator Feingold."

10:57: I skipped Dianne Feinstein. Then, there was a break. Now, we're up to Senator Kyl. He's reading Obama's empathy statement — you can read it here: In 5% of cases, Obama said, "adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon," and one must at that point rely on "one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy." Kagan is forthright: "It's law all the way down." She says that several times — and I note that her statement isn't really at odds with what Obama said. A good follow-up question would have been: But do you think that law includes a component that comes from deep values and human empathy? The secret answer is: Yes.

11:10: Kyl is trying to get at whether Kagan is biased against corporations and would find ways to favor the little guy, but there really isn't a way to drag out a confession like that. Kyl is using things Justice Thurgood Marshall said, citing her great praise of the man whom she clerked for, and asking her if she'd say that too. She's able to finesse this: Marshall was wonderful, but she's her own woman. And, of course, the overarching theme of every hearing on a Supreme Court nominee: She's going to decide cases according to the law.

11:22: "How do you decide who's 'on the side of the angels'?" Kyl asks, repeatedly pushing Kagan on a phrase she used in her notes when she was a law clerk. Kagan asserts (and I hear shakiness in her voice) that it meant who was on the right side of the law.

11:56:  Russ Feingold notes that the lack of Supreme Court Justices from the Midwest. How will Kagan, a New Yorker, understand the people of the Midwest? Answer: She's lived in Chicago and something along the lines of being very good about understanding whatever she needs to understand.

12:02: I'm taking a break from the live action. I'll catch up with transcripts and recordings later.

June 28, 2010

Sunset, June 28th, 2010.




(Reverse chronological order. Picnic Point. Madison, Wisconsin.)

"Just suck it up; otherwise, the world's going to be destroyed from global warming."

Advice given.

At the Serenity Café...

... if you think of anything, let me know.

Watching the Elena Kagan confirmation hearing.

Here's the live stream, which begins at 12:30 ET. You'll also be able to watch non-live. After all the new Supreme Court cases this morning, I'm not going to park myself in front of the screen and watch the Senators read their statements, which should take all afternoon. I'll catch up later and do some commentary, but I need to go live in the physical world for a little while. Please comment on the hearings in this post.

This is...

... weird.

ADDED: "Third-string leftish narcissistic bed wetter blogger Michael Roston, who unprovably claims that he is a member of Journolist, links to this post as evidence of … something. Who knows. When they get agitated, they get incoherent."

Roston, among other things, says:
Thus the often-fact-challenged Ann Althouse says that she wants to acquire the JournoList archives to complete an ‘academic study’ (sorry: what’s the UW Law School’s interest in JournoList?) and lesser conservative bloggers start fundraising to help her buy them.
Fact-challenged? Me? That's funny coming in a sentence with the words "academic study" in quotes. The words don't appear at the link — not by me or anyone else. Roston apparently just threw that in as if it might bolster some implicit half-baked argument that the University of Law School has to have an "interest" in anything I might choose to write.

AND: Roston has added:
Correction: Ann’s right – it was the blogger who linked to her, and not Althouse herself who said that the study she wanted to do was ‘academic.’ She’s absolutely right in the first instance, there’d be nothing ‘academic’ about the ’study’ she contemplated. I apologize for even hinting that her partisan exercise had any academic intentions. And while I may have messed that up, at least I don’t fall for hoaxes like this one.
Now, Roston has me saying that there is nothing that would be academic about the book I would write. Of course, I never said that either. He seems to find it very difficult to speak without making things up. If you read my original post, you can see that I offered to analyze the material in an intellectual way and indicated what my approach the material would be. I said I was interested in "human nature and how social and political systems work" and so forth. Roston lurches from one misstatement to the next. He accuses me of wanting to do a "partisan exercise" perhaps because it's the only thing he knows how to do.

The Court's new separation of powers opinion.

Here's the opinion in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, in which the conservative Justices — Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito — take the strong position on enforcing the constitutional principles of separation of powers, and the liberal Justices — Breyer, Stevens, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor — take the position of judicial restraint.

It's a question of restricting the President's power "to remove a prin­cipal officer, who is in turn restricted in his ability to remove an inferior officer, even though that inferior officer determines the policy and enforces the laws of the United States." (The law that sets up this new structure, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which regulates the accounting industry.)

The Christian Legal Society loses its 1st Amendment challenge to the accept-all-comers policy required by Hastings Law School.

Justice Ginsburg writes for the majority in Christian Legal Society v. Hastings College of the Law, answering yes to the question: "May a public law school condition its official recognition of a student group — and the attendant use of school funds and facilities — on the organization’s agree­ment to open eligibility for membership and leadership to all students?" The CLS wanted to restrict membership to those who would sign a "statement of faith" and to exclude those who engage in "unrepentant homosexual conduct."

Justice Ginsburg expresses deference to the law school's reasonable and "viewpoint-neutral" policymaking:
Hastings... could reasonably expect more from its law students than the disruptive behavior CLS hypothesizes—and to build this expectation into its educa­tional approach. A reasonable policy need not anticipate and preemptively close off every opportunity for avoidance or manipulation. If students begin to exploit an all-comers policy by hijacking organizations to distort or destroy their missions, Hastings presumably would revisit and revise its policy.
That final "if" is important, and it takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of the dissenting opinion written by Justice Alito. From the dissent:
In response to the argument that the accept-all-comers-policy would permit a small and unpopular group to be taken over by students who wish to silence its message, the Court states that the policy would permit a registered group to impose membership requirements “designed to ensure that students join because of their commitment to a group’s vitality, not its demise.” With this concession, the Court tacitly recognizes that Hastings does not really have an accept-all-comers policy—it has an accept-some-dissident-comers policy—and the line between members who merely seek to change a group’s message (who apparently must be admitted) and those who seek a group’s “demise” (who may be kept out) is hopelessly vague.
The majority is deferring to the law school, and not preemptively dealing with this other situation which hasn't happened and which it would prefer to trust the law school to deal with if in fact it ever does happen.


Note: Justice Ginsburg was present in Court for the announcement of today's opinions, even though her husband died yesterday.

Alito: Heller "points unmistakably" to the conclusion that the Second Amendment applies to state and local government through the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause.

In this morning's opinion in McDonald v. City of Chicago, Justice Alito writes for a majority, explaining the doctrine of incorporation with useful clarity. The question to be answered is: "whether the right to keep and bear arms is fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty... or as we have said in a related context, whether this right is 'deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition" (page 19 of the opinion).

Applying that standard:
Our decision in Heller points unmistakably to the answer. Self-defense is a basic right, recognized by many legal systems from ancient times to the present day, and in Heller, we held that individual self-defense is “the central component” of the Second Amendment right.... (stating that the “inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right”). Explaining that “the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute” in the home, we found that this right applies to handguns because they are “the most preferred firearm in the nation to ‘keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family”.... Thus, we concluded, citizens must be permitted “to use [handguns] for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.”

Heller makes it clear that this right is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”
Justice Alito — at page 42 — rejects the 4 factors that Justice Breyer, in his dissenting opinion, argues should affect incorporation:
First, “there is no popular consensus” that the right is fundamental; second, the right does not protect minorities or persons neglected by those holding political power; third, incorporation of the Second Amendment right would “amount to a significant incursion on a traditional and important area of state concern, altering the constitutional relationship between the States and the Federal Government” and preventing local variations; and fourth, determining the scope of the Second Amendment right in cases involving state and local laws will force judges to answer difficult empirical questions regarding matters that are outside their area of expertise. Even if we believed that these factors were relevant to the incorporation inquiry, none of these factors undermines the case for incorporation of the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

The Supreme Court closes its Term today.

I want to read the case announcements in real time on SCOTUSblog, but it seems to be maxed out at the moment. I know I'm only making it worse by linking, but I'm doing it anyway.

(Too bad neither the Washington Post nor the New York Times is front-paging real-time coverage. There's a deluge of web traffic with nowhere to go.)

UPDATE: Here's the SCOTUSblog post. The Second Amendment case is out:

"Well, I'd like to know whether they are defaming me on JournoList."

That's something I blogged back in March 2009.

I'd still like to know. Don't I have a right to know what a gang of 400 journalists are saying about me, as they endeavor to shape my reputation, decide that all the good people must avoid linking to me, or whatever it is they do?

If I were to bring a defamation suit based on Ezra Klein's lie "Ann Althouse sure has a lot of anti-semitic commenters," I would seek access to the Journolist archive, and I believe I would get it. There is no privilege that would shield this information from discovery. Lawyers, argue with me if you think I'm wrong.

I'm not the litigating type — though when I practiced law, I worked in the litigation department — and I am not threatening to sue. I am saying this to make one more argument for why the Journolist archive needs to be made public.

"Why I Denied David Frum’s Website A Spot In The Blogads Conservative Hive."

John Hawkins explains:
Now, as a general rule, I try to be very open minded about who gets into the Blogads Conservative Hive. If they're generally friendly to conservatives and seem to have a mostly conservative audience, I don't mind having them on board. So, aside from conservative blogs, there are Libertarian blogs in the Hive and there are blogs I'd call center-right. It goes without saying that there are plenty of issues where members of the Hive, myself included, don't see eye-to-eye.
I'm in the Blogads Conservative Hive, so I can vouch for that!
Guys like Frum want to have it both ways. Being a "Republican" / "conservative" who tells liberals what they want to hear about the Right is a career niche —and it can pay big dividends....

[W]hy is David Frum getting a column at CNN? How is it that Time has a guy like this writing for them? What's the purpose of putting a guy like Frum on TV as opposed to all the genuine conservatives who dwarf his traffic and can obviously draw a bigger crowd?...

[T]he mainstream media loves "conservatives" and "Republicans" who will trash whomever the Left hates most. So, if you're willing to talk about how Sarah Palin is a hick, Glenn Beck is a crank, Rush Limbaugh is bad for the country, and the Tea Party is bad for democracy, the mainstream media will reward you and because conservatives pride themselves on being open minded, they'll all too often give you a pass for your atrocious behavior — especially since the MSM doesn't insist you play their game all the time. As long as you're willing to say what they want about the people they hate the most, they'll reward you with a cover story at Newsweek and then in your off time, you can churn out a few articles to point gullible conservatives towards while you're trying to guilt them into taking you seriously by crying "epistemic closure!"
I Googled "epistemic closure" and got, first, "'Epistemic Closure'? Those Are Fighting Words," a NYT article featuring a photo of Frum. So what's that fight all about?
The phrase is being used as shorthand by some prominent conservatives for a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement, a development they see as debasing modern conservatism’s proud intellectual history....
([Julian Sanchez of the libertarian Cato Institute] said he probably fished “epistemic closure” out of his subconscious from an undergraduate course in philosophy, where it has a technical meaning in the realm of logic.)
Blech. What an ugly phrase and what a pointless and irritating explanation for it. It's pretentious, but the usage is actually inaccurate. How off-putting and unhelpful!

Back to Hawkins:
Long story short, everybody has to make a living. But, I'm not interested in helping people like Frum play this little game where they try to cripple conservatives publicly while coming around on the back end to milk us for money. If Frum wants to be a dancing monkey for the Left, let them come up with the money to pay for the tune.
ADDED: "NOTE TO DAVID FRUM: Google doesn’t own BlogAds." Ha. Frum had written: "Hawkins is the person entrusted by Google to determine who may join the conservative blogads cloud." You'd think Frum would figure out the basics of blog advertising before attacking Hawkins. BlogAds is its own company, and Hawkins took the initiative to set up a "hive" that he called "Conservative" to attract buyers.

If Elena Kagan worked a "Miracle at Harvard," what effect might she have on the Supreme Court?

An essay by University of New Mexico lawprof Kevin K. Washburn:
For most of the past fifty years, attending Harvard Law School was a miserable experience....

During Elena Kagan’s tenure as dean, a miracle occurred. Harvard Law School was transformed. Today, students embrace the institution. The professors engage with one another. And the school’s widely discussed dysfunctions are distant memories. Kagan accomplished this miracle by modeling two important and traditional American values: hard work and community. Kagan was known for walking the halls tirelessly to learn the views of her bright and independent colleagues and to seek consensus. She broke the gridlock between faculty political factions that had atrophied the academic life of the institution. Even more importantly, she transformed the student experience. This essay seeks to describe Kagan’s transformational leadership and provide insight as to the specific changes Kagan made to accomplish the miracle.
Let's take this all as true. Kagan has skills that worked brilliantly in the context a dean transforming a deeply dysfunctional, highly elite law school. But how will those skills apply in the context of an individual Justice on the Supreme Court? When a troubled law school brings in a new dean, it is looking for leadership and transformation. But there is no reason to think that the Supreme Court Justices look toward the newcomer for leadership at all, and she arrives to fill the seat that was vacated, not with any problem to be solved and institution to be transformed.

Wisconsin's Sean Duffy — "a lumberjack athlete who has been both a county district attorney and a star of MTV's 'Real World'... trying hard to become the next Scott Brown."

WaPo has a big article.
Duffy is expected to win a primary in September against Dan Mielke, a farmer and self-declared "tea party" candidate who had previously challenged Obey and lost. Mielke is trying to make hay of the wilder Duffy moments caught on tape by MTV, saying they reflect "Hollywood" values....

Duffy would rather not get into the details of the reality show, saying it doesn't reflect who he is now. But he admits that "The Real World" played an important role in his life. Through MTV he met his wife, Rachel Campos-Duffy, a conservative Latina from Arizona who appeared on the third season of the series, in San Francisco, in 1994. Their courtship and canoodling -- during their time on MTV's "Road Rules: All Stars" -- was captured on camera.

They continued their minor celebrity status after the show, appearing in "The Wedding Video," a movie-length spoof of reality television produced by another "Real World" alum. Joining in the low-budget mockumentary about two men getting married was a spur-of-the-moment decision that Duffy tells Wisconsin voters that he wouldn't make today.
Can Wisconsin folk comprehend the complexities of modern media — including the half-truths of edited "reality" shows and the fiction that is mockumentary?

Robert Byrd has died.

Here's the long obituary for him in the New York Times. It's worth reading the whole thing, and I'll just excerpt a few things that happened to strike me for one reason or another:
[He called West Virginia] “one of the rock bottomest of states.”...
Mr. Byrd was the valedictorian of his high school class but was unable to afford college. It was not until he was in his 30s and 40s that he took college courses. But he was profoundly self-educated and well read. His Senate speeches sparkled with citations from Shakespeare, the King James version of the Bible and the histories of England, Greece and Rome....
Referring to the Line-Item Veto Act, he said:
“Gaius Julius Caesar did not seize power in Rome,” he said. Rather, he said, “the Roman Senate thrust power on Caesar deliberately, with forethought, with surrender, with intent to escape from responsibility.”
The Supreme Court later found the act unconstitutional, a violation of Separation of Powers, though not in the first case it considered on the subject. The first case, which bore Senator Byrd's name — Raines v. Byrd — was rejected for lack of standing. The members of Congress who brought suit were held not to have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the bill Congress had passed because it caused "no injury to themselves as individuals." The obituary doesn't mention this case.

Back to the obituary:
In 2007, at the unveiling of a portrait of Mr. Byrd in the Old Senate Chamber, former Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland, a colleague of 30 years, recalled that Mr. Byrd had taught him how to answer when a constituent asked, “How many presidents have you served under?”

“None,” was Mr. Byrd’s reply, Mr. Sarbanes said. “I have served with presidents, not under them.”
I hope every member of Congress would answer that way.
In the early 1940s, he organized a 150-member klavern, or chapter, of the Klan in Sophia, W.Va., and was chosen its leader at a meeting. After the meeting, Joel L. Baskin, the Klan’s grand dragon for the region, suggested that Mr. Byrd use his “talents for leadership” by going into politics.

“Suddenly, lights flashed in my mind!” Mr. Byrd later wrote. “Someone important had recognized my abilities.”...

His opponents used his Klan membership against him during his first run for the House of Representatives in 1952; Democratic leaders urged him to drop out of the race. But he stayed in and won, then spent decades apologizing for what he called a “sad mistake.”

He went on to vote for civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960, but when the more sweeping Civil Rights Act was before Congress in 1964, he filibustered for an entire night against it, saying the measure was an infringement on states’ rights. He backed civil rights legislation consistently only after becoming a party leader in the Senate....

Mr. Byrd was born Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr. on Nov. 20, 1917, in North Wilkesboro, N.C. His mother died the next year in the influenza epidemic, but before she did, she asked his father to give him to a sister and brother-in-law. They adopted him and renamed him Robert Carlyle Byrd, then moved to rural West Virginia.
So old that his mother died in the flu epidemic of 1917.
As a boy, living on a small farm, he helped slaughter hogs, learned to play the fiddle and became a prize-winning Sunday school student after the manager of the local coal company store gave him two pairs of socks so he could attend without embarrassment.

In 1937, Mr. Byrd married Erma Ora James, his high school sweetheart. She died in 2006, after 68 years of marriage....

He was never a particularly partisan Democrat. President Richard M. Nixon briefly considered him for a Supreme Court appointment. Mr. Dole recalled an occasion when Mr. Byrd gave him advice on a difficult parliamentary question; the help enabled Mr. Dole to overcome Mr. Byrd on a particular bill....

Mr. Byrd always carried a copy of the Constitution. He said his second-proudest accomplishment was legislation requiring every educational institution receiving federal aid to observe the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17 by teaching students about it.
I don't think Congress monkeying with the curriculum of public schools is very respectful of the Constitution. Ironically. That's especially bad coming from someone who presented his opposition to the Civil Rights Act as a matter of states rights.
When the Senate was struggling to agree on rules for the impeachment trial of Mr. Clinton in 1999, Mr. Byrd warned that the Senate itself was also on trial.

“The White House has sullied itself,” he said, “and the House has fallen into a black pit of partisanship and self-indulgence. The Senate is teetering on the brink of that same black pit.”

When, in 2005, Republicans considered banning the filibuster on judicial nominations, he warned that such an action would change the “nature of the Senate by destroying the right of free speech it has enjoyed since its creation.”

In “Losing America,” he wrote that the Senate without the filibuster “will no longer be a body of equals.”

“It will, instead, have become a body of toads,” he wrote, “hopping up and down and over one another to please the imperious countenance of an all-powerful president.”
A body of toads, hopping up and down and over one another to please the imperious countenance of an all-powerful president.


Now, how will his seat be filled? It appears that, under West Virginia law, because the vacancy has occurred before July 3rd, there will be an election this year. If Byrd had survived until this Saturday, the Governor would have appointed his replacement, and that person would have continued in office until 2012.

June 27, 2010

Let's take a closer look at that hydrangea.


Now, good night, my little flowers.

Camille Paglia — opining on the failing libido of the American female — has something to say about "new age" and "men in shorts."

Men in shorts is, as you probably know, an Althouse theme, and New Age is the obsession of our beloved commenter Crack Emcee. Here's the Paglia:
The real culprit, originating in the 19th century, is bourgeois propriety. As respectability became the central middle-class value, censorship and repression became the norm. Victorian prudery ended the humorous sexual candor of both men and women during the agrarian era, a ribaldry chronicled from Shakespeare’s plays to the 18th-century novel. The priggish 1950s, which erased the liberated flappers of the Jazz Age from cultural memory, were simply a return to the norm.

Only the diffuse New Age movement, inspired by nature-keyed Asian practices, has preserved the radical vision of the modern sexual revolution....

Nor are husbands offering much stimulation in the male display department: visually, American men remain perpetual boys, as shown by the bulky T-shirts, loose shorts and sneakers they wear from preschool through midlife. The sexes, which used to occupy intriguingly separate worlds, are suffering from over-familiarity, a curse of the mundane. 
Paglia is dithering. Good Lord! Isn't she embarrassed to enthuse about the Rolling Stones one more time? And much as I enjoy her company in my crusade against adult men dressing like children, her inane bow to "the diffuse New Age movement, inspired by nature-keyed Asian practices" makes it all feel hit and miss.


On adult men looking like enlarged boys, my favorite description is still Tom Wolfe's:
[H]e had on a short-sleeved shirt that showed too much of his skinny, hairy arms, and denim shorts that showed too much of this gnarly, hairy legs. He looked for all the world like a seven-year-old who at the touch of a wand had become old, tall, bald on top, and hairy everywhere else, an ossified seven-year-old, a pair of eyeglasses with lenses thick as ice pushed up to the summit of his forehead -- unaccountably addressing thirty college students....

"Gainer blogs are an offshoot of a fat-pride movement..."

"... that has bubbled up in response to what its proponents consider to be a pointless and hysterical national fuss over obesity. In this view fat is a form of social protest, an outcry against the manipulations of a diet-industrial complex."

At the Hydrangea Café...


... I once read a description of hydrangeas as "bosomy." I never forgot that.

The entire Journolist archive needs to be made public.

1. We need to see the full context, in order to understand the part that is already public.

2. Journalists should not suppress information when the reason is only to serve their own private interests.

3. The mainstream media needs to return to high principles of neutral, professional journalism.

4. The mainstream media needs to distance itself from high-school-style cliquishness and grow up if it is to retain a readership.

5. The presumption should always be in favor of more information.

6. ...

"Scary Obama" makes me feel that Drudge is quite intentionally try to make us feel...

... immensely creeped out that Obama is President.

I'm not involved in any sharing of ideological talking points.

For example, I don't know what Glenn Reynolds means by "I've got your man right here" in his post that links to me. I'm not involved in any conservative bloggerly equivalent of Journolist, nor has any fellow blogger of note ever emailed me to suggest that I get on the same page with others to serve some larger goal.

I genuinely don't know whether Glenn is doing some sort of Alpha Male routine, whether he's tweaking Weigel as a Beta Male or if he's serious that David Weigel is the Journolist member with the best justification for sending me the whole Journolist archive (after I requested a Journolist "Deep Throat").

Now, it does make sense to me that Weigel should do it. He's been hurt, shot down. So he might feel like striking back in some extravagant way. But, more important, he's the one with the biggest interest in getting the whole archive out. His statements have been leaked out of context, and what he wrote might seems quite moderate if we could read what everyone else was saying — if we could understand the culture of Journolist.

Our need for the full context, in order to understand the part that is already public, will be #1 on a list — help me add to it — of why the entire Journolist archive needs to be made public.

"Marty Ginsburg was known in Supreme Court circles as Justice Ginsburg’s secret weapon."

"Justice Ginsburg herself can sometimes be shy, awkward, and introverted, but her husband was gregarious, charming, and a great entertainer.... Martin Ginsburg’s passing is undoubtedly a great loss to ... Justice Ginsburg, to whom he was married for 56 years...."

Reading this, I put my face in my hands for several minutes and cried.

At the Cutest Bunny Café...


... aw, aren't you cute?

"Why are Emile and Marguerite Bouin still married? They cannot stand each other."

"This is evident from the moment we meet them, isolated and wordless before a beautiful fire. Their only correspondence is an occasional invective jotted on a scrap of paper — this discreetly flicked across the room to the recipient's lap."

This 1967 novel — "The Cat" by Georges Simenon, which I loved when I read it in the 70s — seems to presage texting.


It was made into a movie with the most archaically artsy trailer imaginable.

When only medical marijuana is legal, you end up with a hell of a lot of sick people.

Seems like everyone has terrible headaches.
In Colorado, where a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana was passed in 2000, hundreds of dispensaries popped up and a startling number of residents turned out to be in “severe pain,” the most popular of eight conditions that can be treated legally with the once-demonized weed.

More than 80,000 people here now have medical marijuana certificates, which are essentially prescriptions, and for months new enrollees have signed up at a rate of roughly 1,000 a day.
Oh! The pain! The intractable pain! Who knew the excruciating suffering that tortured Coloradans for so long?

The linked article also details the pesky government regulation that comes with legalization. What did you expect? One longs for the day when the stuff was illegal, there was no regulation to protect anybody from their suppliers, and if you wanted it, your only option was to break the law. Back then there was one kind of dishonesty, the manly dishonesty of breaking the law...

... and not this other weasely form of dishonesty, lying about headaches.

"As he drove the getaway car carrying the four men, Dwight Armstrong abruptly pulled over. I said, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'You have to look.' And there, above campus, was this huge fireball going up."

Karl Armstrong, remembering his brother, who is dead now, at the age of 58. Dead at the age of 33, in 1970, in Madison, Wisconsin, was Robert Fassnacht.

"Say something nice instead of being a smartass all the time."

Bite me. When the powerful seek to work their will upon us and demand that we be nice about it, that's the right response: Bite me. Even if he were the one being nice about it, we shouldn't have to put up with it without complaint.

I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - "Bite me!" Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, "Bite me!" Then we'll figure out what to do about the recession and the taxes and the oil spill. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "Bite me."

Tom Goldstein predicts the outcomes (and the authors) of the final 4 Supreme Court cases of this Term.

To be announced tomorrow morning:

1. Bilski v. Kappos:
The only Justice who has not issued a majority opinion from [the November] sitting is Justice Stevens, which makes him the very likely author. Justice Stevens tends to take a narrow view of patent rights...

I ultimately predict that the Bilski majority opinion will be authored by Justice Stevens and that the decision will be very significant in its narrowing of the scope of method patents.
2. Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board:
[N]either the Chief Justice nor Justice Kennedy has authored an opinion from [the December] sitting... [but] Chief is ... unlikely to leave himself without an opinion in a sitting.

If I’m right, that means that the PCAOB’s structure is likely to be invalidated as unconstitutional. At oral argument the Chief Justice asked no questions of counsel to the plaintiffs and was hostile to the defense of the statute....
3. McDonald v. City of Chicago:
[T]he only Justice not to write from [the February] sitting is Justice Alito....

I predict that Justice Alito will write the Court’s opinion in McDonald recognizing that the Second Amendment is incorporated [in the 14th Amendment and thus applicable to state and local government]....
4. Christian Legal Society v. Martinez:
Neither Justice Stevens nor Justice Ginsburg authored an opinion from [the April] sitting....

Though it is very difficult to tell, I think that the most likely outcome in these circumstances is that Justice Ginsburg will issue a majority opinion in favor of Hastings Law School on the relatively narrow basis that the plaintiffs stipulated that the school had a neutral “all comers” policy that did not discriminate against this group but instead provided that all groups must accept all students
We shall see. It's a big Supreme Court day tomorrow. The Court's Term ends, with the retirement of Justice Stevens, and the hearings on the Kagan nomination begin.

1. "I take them seriously; they’re building something brand new, something that defies conventional wisdom. If readers get a deeper understanding of these people, their strategy, and their ideas, then I’m doing my job."

2. "Honestly, it’s been tough to find fresh angles sometimes–how many times can I report that these [tea party] activists are joyfully signing up with the agenda of discredited right-winger X and discredited right-wing group Y?"

The public (1) and the private (2) David Weigel
(if by "private," one means in the company of 400 of your bestest friends, at least one of whom is ready to tea-bag you before you teabag him).

ADDED: Glenn Reynolds, noting the photograph, says "Check out the photo if you want to see the face of modern journalism. In your nightmares . . . ." This is the photograph:

Enough discord! Here's the cutest little bunny rabbit of all time.

Of all time!

Look at that tiny white dash on his tiny forehead! Look how he destroyeth not the garden, but nibbleth on a fallen sprig!

MORE: You know you want more, or do you fear that your brimming heart will burst with love?


Algirdas Brazauskas — "He was an honest man, a charismatic leader and outstanding politician."

"The memory of the first president of independent Lithuania will remain in the hearts of the people."

IN THE COMMENTS: bagoh20 begins with some decent-enough generic snark:
No matter who the subject, I find it hard to consider "outstanding politician" to be anything but an insult. I'm a bigot about politicians.
But it is not right for this occasion. Irene brings the gravitas:
Brazauskas was no ordinary, career politician. He became a politician as a result of extraordinary times. He was a courageous man who inspired the citizens to stand up to an awesome power.

Lithuania was under the Soviet yoke between 1944 and 1991. A documentary, Red Terror on the Amber Coast exposes these times. There now is a museum in the capital, Vilnius, dedicated to preserving the history of the Soviet genocide.

Many members of my family fled Lithuania in June 1944. Those who did not get out were deported to reeducation camps in the Gulag.